Monday, February 8, 2010

Pimp my ride!

I did a photo shoot today for my brother. If anyone knows my brother Richard, then you know how obsessive he is about his car. He has spent many years tinkering with it and a lot of money to pimp out his little "rice-rocket." Consider the extremes of what some "rice-boys" go to in order to mod their car, I think my brother did a very nice job on his. I found his modifications tasteful and cohesive. Today, I wanted to give him photographs that capture the beauty of his work. After the recent rain storms had passed, we had some really beautiful light today too.

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My first car was actually a Corolla too, ironically. It was a hand me down from my mom which I used to putter around town when I went to college. I remember that it was bronze colored with skinny little wheels that skidded if I took a corner too fast. I actually had to turn off the air conditioning if I was trying to accelerate onto the freeway in order to conserve power. My brother's Corolla is nothing like that.

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Our photo shoot started at 7am in Upper Newport Backbay. There is a parking lot right by the water. In the morning, the sun lights up the water and surrounding hillside with golden hues.

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These are my brother's custom built lights. He actually took apart his own lights and sent them to some guy in NYC to modify. I believe they are Xenon lights.

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After shooting at Backbay, we explored a forgotten parking lot on the grounds of the Balboa Insurance Company. By that time the sun and fully come up and the light was way too strong. We took some test shots near a grassy knoll and also in a parking structure nearby. We later came back at sunset to finish the photo shoot.

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This shot was taken right after sunset. I pushed the contrast in post processing in order to give it this look. This helped to give the car surface it's shine. This pic below is my favorite from today. I used my Canon 70-200mm f4 IS lens for this shot. I had to back up way the heck across the parking lot in order to shoot fully zoomed out at the 200mm focal length. I love using telephoto lenses for this type of shooting because it helps to compress the view.

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This shot was taken with my Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens. I actually think my brother took this shot. We were trying to get some "cityscape" shots with sky rises in the background. I let him borrow my Canon 20D to play around with during the photo shoot. I gave him a few tips, dialed in the camera settings and then let him have at it. Judging by this shot, I think he's a natural. I really like the framing on this shot.

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I've seen a lot of car photographers take this "half a car shot" from the front. I tried to capture some of the luminance from his Xenon head lights.

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Here's another shot from my Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens. I tried to work the angles for this shot. Wide angle lenses are fun to play with because they distort and bend the viewing angle.

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We found an empty parking garage level to shoot in nearby. There was a glass building right next to the parking garage which acted like a big reflector. We got some nice side lighting from this location. This helped to highlight the cars' metallic rims.

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In the morning, I forgot to bring my step ladder to the photo shoot. Instead I had to make due with this wood stump that fenced in the parking lot. I climbed up on top of the wood stump in order to get a higher angle on this shot.

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More side lighting in the parking garage. It gave the sides of the car a metallic shininess.

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Daytime cityscape shot.

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I wasn't happy with this night time long exposure cityscape shot. This was a 10 second exposure. We had trouble finding an area with an unobstructed view of the sky rises. I either had a light post or tree in my shot that I didn't like. I also had a problem with differences in exposure for the sky rises and the car itself. The sky rises were dark and the car had a bit of light from the light posts in the parking lot. So when I did a long exposure to bring out the colors in the sky and buildings, I would also get an overexposed car. I need to work on this technique. Ah well, this was my 1st attempt at this type of photography. I think I got pretty decent results considering.

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