Tag: streetrod

More Handheld HDR

Supercharger #1
Supercharger #1

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Yesterday I talked about shooting HDR brackets handheld; today’s image is another example of that technique. There are many occasions or situations where a tripod is out of the question. Often those same situations present difficulties due to the extremely broad dynamic range of the subject; that is when a bracket set can assure that the entire dynamic range is covered.

In this image the light on the polished metal was extreme and a single exposure would have left the sky overexposed while the shadows would have been underexposed. By shooting a three frame bracket at +2, 0 and -2 EV I was able to capture the clouds in the sky, the details under the carburetors, the reflected light on the black drive belt in the lower right of the frame and the reflections in the windshield. By combining the three exposures in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 I was able to bring the broad dynamic range under control.

One of the features of NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 that really helps with handheld images is the Align Images feature that can be applied at the initial merging of the brackets before any other processing takes place. I keep this feature checked for all my HDR work because even on a tripod there can be slight movement between frames; of course when shooting handheld there is bound to be some movement and this feature along with a 20% Ghost Reduction application usually solves that issue.

Finally I used the Balanced preset in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 as my starting point to tone map the image. A little tweaking there opened up the shadows and tamed the highlights while bringing the clouds out in the sky. I then returned the image to Aperture 3 for final adjustments to exposure and some enhancement of the red and yellow color channels to saturate the brown on the car. A little adjustment to the blue channel saturation and luminance further strengthened the contrast between the clouds and sky. Lastly I sharpened the image and then took it into Photoshop CS5 and used Content Aware fill to remove a small patch of white at the edge of the photo that was there from the corner of the event sticker in the windshield.

Whiskey Ridge Roadster

I found this track style roadster last year at the NSRA Streetrod Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky. I really liked the way this car was built and it’s racing style but I didn’t want to just shoot it from a standing position. I got this angle by laying down in the grass beside the car and shooting upward. I saw this composition in my viewfinder and knew immediately that I was onto something.

Back in my studio I decided to use NIK HDR Efex Pro to process the image. As I was going through the presets it occurred to me that this image was a good candidate for black and white. The preset I settled on caused some haloing around the cockpit of the roadster which I thought really fit with the image. After a few minor tweaks to the contrast I returned the image to Aperture 3 for final output as you see it here.

The composition uses circles to unify the image and adheres to the rule of thirds. The texture and position of the tire creates foreground interest while the perspective of the roadster draws your eye into and through the image into infinity.

Patina Pickup

I love hot rod, street rods, motorcycles, choppers, customs, dragsters, etc… the list just goes on and on. I am the son of a 1950s hot rodder and whenever these machines are around I’m out there with my camera recording them for posterity. One day these folks will be gone and the passion for the hobby will pass into history as so many other things have over time. I hope that my images will remain to document the creativity and engineering knowhow that make this such a unique piece of Americana.

Every August Louisville host the NSRA Street Rod Nationals. The city is filled with amazing vehicles that show so many different interpretations of what a street rod is. When the first street rods hit the street in the 1970s the cutoff point was that nothing newer than 1948 was considered a streetrod everything else was labeled as a muscle car, kustom or street machine. In those day this Chevy pickup probably wouldn’t have been entered in the Street Rod Nationals because it was too new. Times change and with the rise of the Goodguys events that allowed later model cars in the NSRA changed their rules to allow these later model vehicles into their shows as well. There was some initial grumbling, change never goes well with some folks, but for the most part the NSRA members accepted the change and started building later models too.

This little Chevy pickup is part of a movement to present vehicles that show the wear and tear of time but perform flawlessly due to modern drivelines and safety equipment. I really dig the stance of this truck and the background in the shot makes it really pop. I used TopazAdjust Spicify preset to bring out the warm tones in the sky and accent the headlights. Placing the truck diagonally in the frame and at the bottom helps reinforce the lowered stance of the vehicle while allowing the sky to spread majestically over the entire scene.