Sunday, 7 August 2011

My Cefiro #7: Wash and photos

My Cefiro #1: http://carscameraschronicillness.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-cefiro-1-carsales-ad.html

My Cefiro #2: http://carscameraschronicillness.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-cefiro-2-inspection-and-test-drive.html

My Cefiro #3: http://carscameraschronicillness.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-cefiro-3-buying-it-and-bringing-it.html

My Cefiro #4: http://carscameraschronicillness.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-cefiro-4-starting-modifications.html

My Cefiro #5: http://carscameraschronicillness.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-cefiro-5-first-drive-and-photos.html

My Cefiro #6: http://carscameraschronicillness.blogspot.com/2011/08/my-cefiro-6-exhaust.html

After spending a few days resting at home, I felt a bit better, so I decided to get my Nikon Speedlight flash gear out to take some proper nicely lit photos of the Ceffy. It wasn't particularly clean, so I drove a few minutes down the road to Semaphore, and gave the car a quick wash in one of the bays. Photos taken with a Canon Powershot A470.








After giving it a quick soap and rinse, I jumped back in the car and headed over to Port Adelaide. Given that I was about to shoot a white Falcon with a black bonnet for Street Fords magazine, I drove down to Hart's Mill, located just next to the Port River, for a bit of practice. It has a large area of gravel and bitumen nearby with no traffic, so it's a really good location, and has that nice industrial look, with a choice of old brick, stone or corrugated metal backgrounds.

With the back end still looking pretty nasty, I just concentrated on a few little details, and getting the lighting, composition and angles right for a front quarter shot. These tend to be used for opening spreads in magazine features, as it gives a view of the angle most people generally look at a car from.

Started off with a couple of detail shots. I like the random Japanese stickers you tend to find on most imports. All the photos were taken using a Nikon D300 digital SLR and Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D lens.








To start with the front 3/4 photos, I took a few photos with just the natural light. It gives a different look compared to using flash, and is also good for getting a baseline exposure to work with for the three external Speedlight flash units.



So after a few natural light photos, I got the three flashes out, set them up around the car, and started playing around with different angles and levels of light and exposure. When using the camera and flashes in manual mode, the general rule of thumb is that raising the shutter speed will make the general exposure darker, while dialing the aperture up and down will affect how bright the flashes are. That's not the best explanation of how it works, but it's all a matter of playing around with different settings until you like what you see. I think these photos were taken with the flashes set to half power.

So below are a few photos with variations in shutter speeds and apertures. The flashes I used were all Nikon Speedlights; an SB900 and two SB600s. After varying levels of success with the Nikon CLS optical flash triggering, I bit the bullet a few months earlier and bought a set of Elinchrom Skyport wireless triggers. Not cheap, but they do reliably get the job done time after time, compared to the optical triggering, where it was very hit-and-miss unless you were close with a direct line of sight to a Speedlight flash.

But combining charging the D300's battery, 12 AAs for the flashes, and the three Elinchrom Skyport receiver units, you need a lot of power points to charge everything up before a shoot. And that doesn't take into account charging spare/backup batteries, which is always a good idea.










And for the photographers reading this, I've included a behind the scenes photo of how the flashes were set up around the Cefiro for the pictures above. Depending on the car and wheels, you have to move around a bit to avoid getting glare and hotspots in the panels from the flash units. Like the exposure, it's a matter of playing around until you can get them hitting the tyres or an opening in the front bumper.



A few more detail shots to finish things off.







At this point I hadn't yet heard how the new exhaust sounded from the outside, so I put my Canon Powershot A470 on the ground to take a short clip while I started the engine and gave it a few revs.



At the time I was hoping to get out to some drift practices at Mallala, so I went to Nisswreck to pick up a couple of cheap stock R33 Skyline rims in my Civic.



And then got some secondhand tyres fitted.



The next week was pretty bad health-wise, so I spent quite a while trying to recover from the effort of getting out driving and taking photos. On the 12th I had a BMW to shoot for Hot 4s magazine. If you look closely, you can see the Cefiro in the reflection on the side of the BMW while I was shooting some rolling shots, with my friend/assistant Dean behind the wheel.





The actual shot they used didn't have my car reflected in the paint obviously.

Coming up in Post #7; photos and video from the first hills run.

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