Sam’s Garage

Sam's Volvo
Sam’s Volvo

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Sam is an old friend of mine whose passion is building hot rods from unibody cars. He loves to design and build chassis and suspensions as well as solve problems he encounters as he installs modern V-8 engines in cars that were originally powered by four or six cylinder engines. He has to build everything from the ground up in order to create a car that is safe and fun to drive. Sam’s ability to fabricate components is among the best I’ve ever seen, the attention to detail is unsurpassed and his cars all show the hand of a craftsman who genuinely loves metal work and welding. Though he completely changes the suspension and driveline in his cars the outward appearance is nearly unchanged from the way the factory designed it. The only giveaway that the car is modified is the low stance it has and the custom wheels and tires that are needed to compliment the high horsepower engine and high performance suspension.

This Volvo is a departure for him because it is only the second foreign vehicle he has undertaken. He comes up with an idea for a car he wants to build and then finds a likely candidate. He usually sells the car after he has it reliable and roadworthy so that he can build another. This Volvo has really captured his heart though and he may keep it around for a while.

This photo is from a three frame bracket set I shot inside Sam’s garage with available light. I merged it in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and made some adjustments there before returning it to Aperture 3 for final adjustment and sharpening. I also took it into Topaz Clarity to tweak some of the colors and micro contrast.

My Garage, My Rules
My Garage, My Rules

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This image is another bracket set that I merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to bring out the large dynamic range. I then took the resulting color image into NIK Silver Efex 2 to convert it to Black and White. The use of NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to merge the bracket set allowed me to reproduce the broad dynamic range of the artificially lit garage interior and the daylight outside. I finished sharpening and adjusting the image with Aperture 3.



7 thoughts on “Sam’s Garage

  1. You know how I feel about HDR B&W, Nick. Since much of my work is interior available light, I rely on HDR to acomplish what would otherwise be accomplished with a gaggle of studio lights. After processing three or five bracketed exposures in NIK HDR Efex Pro, I take the resulting image into NIK Color Efex Pro tooptimize the image in color before moving into NIK Silver Efex Pro. It is a bit more work but I feel the results are work the wxtra effort!


    1. You are so right Lauren. I like using brackets and HDR processing for the ability it gives me to shoot in available light too. I don’t much care for using flash so HDR fits my personal method of shooting.

      Thanks for taking time to comment too. I appreciate that you share your ideas and techniques in your comments.

  2. Nick, great images as usual. Thanks for sharing your B&W workflow. I just recently goy the NIK bundle. Need more time to learn but it seems quite powerful.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I agree with you about spending time with the software. It takes time and experimentation to discover how it fits into a personal workflow.

  3. Hi Nick: I am new to the post. If one is not able to do 3 shoot exposure ( because of motion of subject -like race cars) would it be possible to do the correct exposure and then in raw file canon program DPP to obtain the 2 additional images for the bracket by adjusting the raw file 2+ & 2- to create the 3 images for the HDR?

    What your throghts on other HDR programs. Does Photoshop work?

    Keep up the work and wisdom.

    1. Hi Ron, Thanks for stopping by and adding a comment. I use NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 or Topaz Adjust or Topaz Clarity for single frame exposures such as action shots.

      I am not a fan of changing exposures in LR or PS to create a broader range. In my opinion the reason for shooting a bracket set is to capture more data than the camera sensor can capture in a single exposure. I don’t see how altering exposures on a single frame can add any detail that isn’t there in the initial file.

      As for PS and HDR the simple answer is yes there is a feature under the Automate tab for HDR Pro. I have experimented with it but found the images to be pretty flat using it. I am a huge fan of NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and consider it the best HDR solution out there.It’s simple to use and does a fantastic job. I’ve tried some others including PhptoMatix but none of them seem as capable as the NIK software.

      If you don’t already have them I recommend that you try the Topaz and OnOne software for a 30 day free trial and see if what you need is in them. Both are on sale right now and if you follow the links on the right hand side of my blog I’ll be credited if you decide to make a purchase.

      1. Nick: Thanks for the education. My understanding the in Canon’s DPP program – when you change the exposure in RAW format are not changing the file structure. Thus my thought would be – if you did not change the raw file structure – create 3 files in raw with the bracket exposure – change all 3 to tiff then to HDR program. Need your ideas.

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