All Posts Tagged ‘automotive photography

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Dipping my toe

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Funny isn’t it? I never expected to make the jump into YouTube and yet, here we are.

After writing my last post on Light Painting, I found that I really enjoyed sharing what little knowledge I have with you. When I was starting out as a CG artist, I used to write tutorials, and I loved it. This mini, let’s call it an “explanation” of a photographic technique took me back to that.

Words aren’t always the most effective way of showing you how to do something, especially when they are sprawled out in printed form across a screen. Hence the natural jump onto YouTube. And here it is, enjoy…like…comment…subscribe…you know how it goes.

What can you expect from me going forward? Well, to be frank, not much. This is new to me, it requires enormous amounts of conscious thought to do. I have about 9 videos that I would like to make but don’t hold your breath. However you can subscribe to my channel here if you so desire.

If I do finally pull my finger (tripod, microphone, lights and camera) out then there are some areas that I would like to cover. I’d like to show retouching tips and tricks. Different photography techniques including lighting techniques. Possibly gear reviews, this is actually something that I used to do. I may occasionally try and make some travel videos too. But my initial plan was, is to show you what goes on behind the scenes at a shoot and through the editing side of things.

My thinking about this whole thing is that I am currently dipping my toe into it. I don’t want to buy any new gear for it yet but if it does start take off, then I will try and focus more time, money and energy into it.

Let me know what you thought, I’d genuinely love to hear what you have to say.

SHOOTINGDAVE

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Light Painting: What is it?

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What is Light Painting and how do I start?

Stay with me here, I will get to that. During the closing of the year, I like to see what my most popular posts were on instagram. (For those of you who are interested, I used http://2017bestnine.com) you can follow me here: @shootingdave

As you can see, 7 out of the 9 most popular images are light painted. Clearly you guys like those style of images. But what is light painting? What do I need to make one myself?

A light painted image is essentially long exposure where you move single light source around the subject (in this instance a car) highlighting the key areas. To get started you will need a basic understanding of photography and exposure, along with some equipment which bring us onto the next topic.

The Gear…

Starting the in the top left corner and working round clockwise I will talk about the gear I use to make light painted images.

1: The Camera

Any will do so long as you can set all of the functions manually. I use a Canon 5DMk3 which you can buy here.  I will get onto lenses later as I feel that is worth talking about separately.

2: Tripod

As you are going to be taking long exposures up to 30 seconds, I recommend you use a sturdy tripod. You don’t want the camera to wobble or shake causing blurry images do you? For years now I have been using Manfortto and their 055XProB has served me well. They have since discontinued it but I would recommend this carbon fibre version of it here.

3: Remote

Why might you want a remote? I try to avoid touching the camera as much as possible. I use the remote to alter the length of exposure and the amount of delay so that I can get into position. If you are a Canon shooter then I cannot recommend this one enough!

4: The Light

Now for the important part, often a closely guarded secret among photographers. I don’t have the budget for the Westcott Ice Light 2 as nice as it might be. So I bought a budget version, I’ve owned for 3 years, flown to 3 countries with it and it has been fine ever since. It is the Magic Tube Light MTL-900 II. A catchy name I will admit. It is branded a number of different ways but works well. It has an orange sleeve which makes the light 3200k and 5500k without. Handy for shooting under street lamps so you have matching colours of light sources.

That is the bare essentials for light painting. However you will need to wait until it is dark.

Lenses…

I wanted to keep this section separate as it is so subjective and location dependant. A great deal of my images are shot on a 35mm lens this one to be specific. I do this so that I can show both the car and the location without distorting the car too much. I have a wider Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS which is great for tight locations all thought it does run the risk of distorting the car. And where space allows it is often nice to use the Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L .

Below are some examples.

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35mm

135mm

The Setup

So now you’ve got the gear, what do you do?

Once you have found your location, you want to wait for dark and get the car into position. Framing up should be no different to any other shoot you do. Find the composition that works for you, looking through the camera to make sure you are happy. Once you have found that sweet spot, grab the tripod and setup the camera.

I set the camera to manual focus and use live view to zoom in and focus. The next thing you are going to want to do is set the camera to bulb mode. You will control the exposure using the remote. If you don’t have a remote, use manual and set your shutter speed accordingly. You want to make sure the shutter speed is long enough for you to walk around the car.

I set the ISO to 100 to make sure the image is clean of sensor noise.  For the aperture, I start at around f/8. All of the car will be in focus and the relatively small aperture should help dial down any ambient light.

I take a test exposure of around 10 seconds to assess the scene. From experience, 10 seconds is long enough for me to move the light source down the side of the car. What you are looking for is minimal ambient light so that you can introduce your own light into the scene. If it is too bright, choose a smaller aperture (f/11 for instance). You could also shorten the exposure time but you will need to make sure it is long enough for you to walk around the car.

Once you have balanced the base exposure it is time to start lighting. Set the camera to a delay or get someone else to fire it for you, get into position, turn the light on and walk down the side of the car. Once the exposure is complete, come back to the camera and review your image.*

Try not to light yourself or point the light at the camera as you will get flaring.**

Once you’re happy with that side of the car, move onto another side. Keep repeating the process until you’re satisfied with what you have captured.

*most cameras allow you to change the image review time. I set mine to “hold” so that the image stays on the back of the camera until I shoot another exposure. This avoids me having to touch the camera and potentially move it.

**also try wearing dark clothing, cameras record light and not dark.

Finishing up

Once you are done with the shoot and you’re back home ready to edit, you will want to blend these images together using Adobe Photoshop or something similar. I think that will have to wait for another guide as it is quite a length process to do.

What did you think of this guide? Was there any areas that you would like to understand more of? I considering filming or time-lapsing a shoot. Would you like to see a speed edit or walkthrough when I get the images into photoshop?

I’d love to hear your feedback.

SHOOTINGDAVE

 

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Published Work – Gatebil Magazine

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2016 has been a year of polar opposites, work wise I have been incredibly busy, photographically I have been very quiet. I have shot much less but what I have shot has gone much further. Because I have been shooting for clients and not myself a lot of my work has remained on hard drives until they have been published. In July I attended an event called GATEBIL at Rudskogen Motorsenter in Norway. If that name rings a bell, it is because I went last year which you can see here. This is hands down my favourite motorsport event I have ever had the pleasure of attending and this year I got the extreme honour of shooting for their own magazine, predictably called GATEBIL MAGAZINE. I was tasked to shoot several feature cars, one of which is this super rare, Steatlh B7 which is one of one! What I didn’t know until this month was that I made the front cover. And I don’t mean I got a small picture on the front cover…I GOT THE MAIN IMAGE! Thanks guys! Anyway, here is a few images that didn’t make the cut. Thanks to Jan Øivind Ruud and Team RR for being so helpful during the shoot and thanks to Kaj Alver for getting me the gig.

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SHOOTINGDAVE

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Gatebil

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You might be thinking “What is Gatebil?” and unless you are seriously into your cars, then you probably won’t know, in essence though. You see events like Formula 1, Le Mans and Goodwood Festival of Speed are what most people think of when you say motorsport events, these are televised or at least they are known as they have been going on for years. So why Gatebil, what makes this one something to know about?

What initially caught my eye was the various car builds that were making an appearance at Gatebil, Norway has some pretty strict rules when it comes to modifying cars and driving them on the roads. So in order to scratch that itch to build, faster, louder more exciting cars, Gatebil was formed. People come from all of Europe to attend, to how of their insane builds on a track, not only that but they come to camp, to party and hang out with like minded people. It is a festival after all.

The main stage parties were well documented all over youtube but it was the parties in the camp sites that were something of legend. Sure, it is just a race track with a paddock garnished with insanely powered drift cars and time attack cars from all over the world but it would be a shame not celebrate this momentous occasion without sharing a beer or two with your fellow petrol heads.

Instead of re-purposing my blog post on FUELTOPIA I won’t to show you the side you don’t see, the camp parties, the people, your comrades, the celebration that is Gatebil. Here are my photos from the absolutely stunning Rudskogen Motorsenter in Norway.

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SHOOTINGDAVE

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Behind the Scenes: Honda Civic Type R

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Some of you may or may not know that I am an Automotive CGI Artist at a company based in the heart of London. I create images for brochures and websites for many different car manufactures. One of which is Honda. Whilst on a photoshoot for the new Civic Type R I decided to capture some behind the scenes imagery whilst working with top automotive photographer Rob Tomkins. My job isn’t necessarily to photograph cars. I recreate the lighting and the studio in 3D to try and replicate the lighting Rob does. Working with a true professional like this is a great way to learn how studio lighting really works. As a CGI Artist you have a good idea how it works but seeing it in the flesh really helps improve your work flow. These may not be the best behind the scenes photos but they look pretty nice 😉

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Do check out Rob’s site http://robtomkins.co.uk/ he is talented and knowledgeable guy and is happy to answer my questions (of which there were many). Thanks man!

SHOOTINGDAVE