The Concours d’Elegance at St. John is coming up this weekend (July 28th) and in preparation I thought I might post an image or two taken at some past shows. This image was taken at the 2010 Concours d’Elegance held at Meadowbrook Hall near Rochester Hills, Michigan. The Concours was held at Meadowbrook for years, but for various reasons the event shifted to a larger venue at St. John near Plymouth, Michigan. The car in the shot is a 1938 Darracq/Talbot Lago T-150-C Roadster by Figoni & Falaschi.
Yesterday I posted a detail shot from this 1957 Buick Century Wagon which I saw at the 2011 Concours d’Elegance of America show at St. Johns. It seemed to be popular so I’m posting a couple more shots today. The shot above shows another detail element of the car and the picture below gives you a look at the entire car. Processing on the first image was similar to yesterday’s shot. I used Topaz Detail on ‘Abstraction’ to smooth out some of the details, mostly in the paint, and then masked out the key elements such as the chrome ‘Caballero’ badge. For the bottom image, I used Topaz Simplify to make the background more abstract and painterly, but I masked out the car itself.
I took this shot of an old gas pump when I visited the Gilmore Car Museum a few weeks ago. Out in front of their vintage Shell gas station they have 3 or 4 vintage gas pumps. I was using my Olympus E-3 with an old Zuiko 50mm macro lens at the time which helped get a nice crisp close up. I especially like the pile of dead bugs at the bottom.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the cool things about the Gilmore Car Museum is their replica Shell gas station. They’ve done a nice job outfitting the building with vintage signage and contents (tools, oil cans, etc.) Just outside of the building is a rack of old tires. I liked the character of the old tires and tried to capture the feeling. I was using my Olympus E3 with the 50mm macro lens (equivalent to a 100mm full frame) which gave me a nice crisp shot of the tire. My only regret is that I should have closed the aperture down a bit more. I think part of the raised lettering is a bit out of focus and I think I would have preferred it to be as sharp as the cracks in the tire. Oh well, maybe next time.
Every time I visit a classic car show I try to get some shots of the ‘mascots’ which were used to adorn the radiator cap. Most of the time when I review the final image I’m not happy. What I want to get is a shot which is sharp for the ornament, but without a distracting background. In a controlled setting you could control the background, but at an outdoor show it’s hard. I have seen photographers set up their tripod, set up the shot and then get behind the ornament with a black cloth to create a better background, but I’ve never been quite that ambitious. What I try to do instead is find an angle which finds a neutral background. Sometimes the car next door works well, sometimes it’s the trees. The really tricky part is getting the sharpness right. For this shot I used the Nikon 105mm macro and I’m quite pleased with how it came out. At f8, I was able to keep most of the foreground sharp, but get a nice blurry background. For you car fans out there, this ornament was on a 1930 Cadillac V-16 Fleetwood Cabriolet. The car was one of many fine automobiles on display at the 2011 Eyes on Design car show held at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford mansion in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan.
I’ve never been a big fan of 1950’s automobiles, but I am fascinated with their design elements, particularly the chrome and the obsession with tail fins. At the 2011 Eyes on Design car show, they had a whole row of ‘finned’ automobiles. The shot above shows the tail fin of a 1957 DeSoto Adventurer. The car was pretty stunning with its black paint job and polished chrome.
I recently received an e-mail from Gary Grobson, a photographer and retired architect who had some nice comments about my web site. Of course I had to check out his web site as well and I was quite impressed by his work. One of the areas I really found fascinating was his Circles gallery. I really liked the interesting shapes and forms found in these images. I asked him how these image were created and he sent me a Photoshop action which he uses to create these images. If you haven’t seen these before, the images are created by taking a square crop and using the Photoshop Polar Coordinates filter a couple of times to create the circular image. Naturally I had to play around with some of my images to see what I could come up with.
This is another shot I took at the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit, Michigan. I was looking for something different than just a picture of a car. I had put on my Sigma 15mm fisheye lens and was looking for interesting angles to put it to use. I was walking through the Mercedes exhibit and decided to see what I could get if I took something while seated on the ground. I liked the curve I got in the floor and ceiling. When processing the image I felt that the distortion of the flooring created a sense of motion, almost as if I had moved the camera while taking the shot. I liked how the combination of the floor and ceiling almost create a vortex in the center of the image.
Another shot taken at the 2010 Concours d’Elegance of America at Meadowbrook showing a Talbot Lago T-150-C, also known as the ‘teardrop’ design. While not a perfect shot of the car itself, I picked this image because I liked the context. Normally I try to keep people out of the shot, but I liked the position of the gentleman in the back and the way he seems to be looking at the car. I also liked the people in the far background, not to mention the Bugatti off to the side. In processing, I made one change to the image. I used the Painting – Oil preset in Topaz Simplify to make the image look like a painting. I then reduced or eliminated the effect on the main car. I think the effect is subtle and helps separate the car from the background. Compare the finished image to the raw image below.
I like to take pictures of classic automobiles but dealing with lighting conditions that you can’t control, reflections of cars and people, etc. can make it difficult to get a nice final image. I like to focus on the details which make these cars so interesting and sometimes the reflections are really a distraction. In the image above, I actually liked the reflections. The picture shows a 1932 Packard Stationery Coupe on display at the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) show held at the Gilmore Car Musuem near Kalamazoo, Michigan. I took the shot primarily because I liked the way the reflections looked in the curve of the spare tire holder and other places on the car.