Tag: streetrod

Sam’s 1952 International Harvester COE Rat Wrecker

A short article about a 1952 International Harvester COE Rat Wrecker being built by Sam Humston in Louisville, Kentucky

Exploring and Building Presets In Topaz B&W Effects and NIK Analog Pro Plugins

This post looks at using Topaz Software with various NIK Software to create your own plugin presets for HDR photography.

Sam’s Volvo Build

Sam's Passion Black and White HDR version
Sam’s Passion Black and White HDR version

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This photo of my friend Sam was taken when he was building a Volvo streetrod in 2013. Sam is an incredibly talented car builder with several cars to his name. He usually chooses cars that other folks ignore for one reason or another. His past projects include a Ford Anglia, Nash Rambler, 53 Willys Hardtop, 60 Ford Falcon and a 60s Studebaker Lark. His reputation for sound construction has people lining up to buy his creations even before they are finished. Sam likes them “loud and nasty” and he usually manages to stuff a V-8 into these small cars.

Sam’s passion is chassis engineering and he likes to work with unibody cars. This Volvo was the latest one to roll out his shop door and like all most of his previous builds it was sold in a matter of days. I always enjoy a visit to his garage because I never know what he’s going to tackle next. The night I shot this image he was totally engrossed in what he was working on and that gave me a chance to shoot without his knowing what I was shooting.

This image is a black and white conversion of a color HDR image that I converted using Aperture 3. All adjustments were done with the tools in Aperture 3 which is still my favorite image editing software. I entered it last night in the Louisville Photographic Society monthly competition for “People Working” and it took First Prize.

Sam's Passion Color HDR Version
Sam’s Passion Color HDR Version

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I am including the color HDR version that I used to show the difference that the two processes have on the same image. This image is from a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures that I merged using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and completed in Aperture 3.

Sam at work on his Volvo Project.
Sam at work on his Volvo Project.

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Sam's Garage in Black and White
Sam’s Garage in Black and White

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I’ll finish this post with another color HDR image that I processed as a black and white using a preset in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 that I adjusted to my taste. One thing to notice is the way that HDR allowed me to expose for the shadows in the garage and also expose another frame that allowed the fence and the outdoors to render in the final image.

Avoid Cliches


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cliché or cliche (UK /ˈklʃ/ or US /klɪˈʃ/) is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning, or effect, and even, to the point of being trite or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel.[1] (source Wikipedia)

Too often we photographers fall into the trap of shooting the same type of images that we have seen for years. With automobiles and car shows we will often shoot the entire car or some detail like a hood ornament, etc. I suggest you try moving beyond those cliched shots and approach the subject with an abstract approach that still speaks to the essence of the subject but isn’t so obvious.

In this image I fell in love with the bright yellow paint and the complimentary red and blue accents. I chose to use them as leading lines that reinforced the diagonal pattern of the clouds above the car. The blue sky is a direct compliment to the yellow color and also picks up on the blue pinstripes on the red louvers as it also provides background interest to the composition . While there is no question that the subject is an automobile the overall effect is to emphasize color and composition instead of being just another photo of a car.

I used my regular HDR brackets +2, 0 and -2 EV and processing with NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 which allowed me to capture and emphasize things such as the texture in the clouds and the reflections in the the door. I finished the image in Aperture 3 using some minor adjustments to the blue and yellow color channels, cropping and sharpening.