Automotive, Photography

Playing with water drops

There’s a great added benefit to looking after your car, keeping that paint in the best condition with some careful detailing. Not only does it keep a 13 year old car looking fresh, but it also creates great effects after a burst of rain. That wax suspends the water as nicely formed drops above the paint surface, somehow holding them in place.

If you have a soft top roof, using a product like Autoglym’s Soft Top Care kit will do the same for that fabric too.

Why am I telling you this? Simple, this morning after a little rain in the night I was presented with exactly this formation of water drops on my car. I grabbed my 5D, 24-70 2.8 and a couple of cheap-as-chips macro tubes to get some shots before the sun rose too high and the sparkle was lost.

Water3

The good old Mk1 Canon 24-70 f/2.8 is still a strong piece of glass, with great bokeh, although you can still see the 8-blade aperture shape on this shots.

Water1

As for car care products, on this car I’ve used the Autoglym soft top kit on the roof, for the paintwork it’s been hand polished with Menzerna P085RD and waxed with Poorboys Natty Paste Blue. Now to get out and drive it rather than snapping the close ups….

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Automotive, Photography

A quick edit, bringing in the moody sky

 

Complete

This shot from the 911UK meet on Wednesday is as much about that sky as it is about the classic 993. To me this is how it looked when i was there, but it’ll come as no surprise that the original shot from the camera liked somewhat lacklustre in comparison. Your options for lighting are somewhat limited to the single Speedlite on the camera when at an event like this, which is where the importance of shooting RAW comes in.

When i took the shot I knew that the sky would overexpose, but so long as i had that under control and didn’t blow out the highlights, the details would be captured in that RAW data. Why is this important? How can you get to that data and show the image that you’re own eyes saw? Say hello to Lightroom, the photographer’s best friend.

Unprocessed 993sky

Here’s the original. From my first view the plan for the edit was clear; make the basic adjustments to the whole image exposure, then select the sky and apply a separate set of adjustments to it. First to the core adjustments. My normal tweaks are too drop highlights, bump shadow detail, lighten the whites, darken the blacks and add a smidge of clarity. If exposure and saturating need increasing this is when I’ll do that.

Now we have the lower half of the image looking how we wanted, but that sky……..let’s fix it.

Select the brush tool and make sure the masked area is indicated. Carefully select the whole sky, using your scroll wheel on the mouse to increase and reduce the brush size when you need to get those tighter spots between the tips of the trees.

Mask & Setting
The sky selected shown with he red mask, plus the filter settings on the right hand panel.

Now that we have the area select it’s time to make the adjustments. We want to change three things here. (1) reduce the exposure, (2) reduce the highlights to reveal the cloud details (3) increase the saturation so that blue sky isn’t lost.

Complete

And there you have it. From flat to punchy in just a handful of easy steps.

There are other ways to do this, both in Lightroom and Photoshop. In Lightroom rather than using the brush selector you could apply a graduated filter instead. The reason i haven’t here is because that would catch the tree tops and applied the filter to those too. That’s what I did originally and you can see that image in my post from yesterday. You’ll see how the filter has caught the top of the large tree in the centre of the sky.

The other way in Photoshop is to create a duplicate later, so that you have 2 copies of the image on separate layers. You then adjust one to expose the foreground correctly, expose the second to get that moody sky and then apply a layer mask and selection to combine the best bits of both layers to get the final composite image.

Hopefully that’s useful you some of you and will help you to look at some images you’ve taken and see how you can create something more powerful with just a little work.

Automotive, Motorsport, Photography

Toy Cars – Surrey Porsche Meet 17th August 2017

Afternoon all! I thought you’d like to see a few shots from yesterday evening’s 911UK meet in Cobham Surrey. This was a last minute affair for me as I got a message earlier in the day from a mate asking if I wanted to come along to see and see what turns up.

As it happens some pretty special machinery was on show, not all from the Porsche stable either. There was a great mix of modern models, modern classics and some vintage 911s too.

911UK-Aug17-3

This rather new 991.2 GT3 4.0 arrived and looked as if this was probably one of its first ever journeys, looking exceptionally showroom fresh.

911UK-Aug17-16

I managed┬áto get my 986 Boxster S cleaned up and she didn’t look out of place at all, even as the cheapest car there.

The vintage models put on a strong display, including this 53 year old 356 C Coupe. A great example of one of the classic models that has seen huge value appreciation of the past 10 years. This one in particular has see it’s value quadruple since the current owner bought it 17 years ago.

The two non-Porsche standouts were this Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and a brand spanking new McLaren 720S. At a time when most car companies are developing their cars with the mechanical parts hidden from view, the 720S is a welcome change. From the back end almost everything in on show through the mesh between the exhausts and behind that rear diffuser.

Here’s a quick gallery of the shots from last night.