Monday, 21 November 2011

My Cefiro #36: Hills and dirt roads

It had been a very long time since I'd shot a car using my Speedlight flashes. While they do make photos look way better in general, given that you have a lot of control over the lighting, it's also quite tiring running around setting up the camera, tripod, 3 flashes and sometimes 3 radio control flash trigger on light stands.

But since I was feeling able to, I charged up 12 AA batteries and headed out into the hills. It was hard to actually find a good spot. There are heaps of great locations, but they're all on roads that are used by other cars, and therefore unsuitable. After cruising around for a while, not following any particular direction, I came upon a slab of concrete near a big shed, with rows and rows of some sort of plants in the background. It wasn't perfect, but a safe place to stop for a while and set everything up.

I was quite out of practice using the flashes, so I did have to run back and forth adjusting the position and distance of them, while shooting from different angles.

After taking so many photos of my own car, I've figured out that Cefiros look sort of odd when using a wider lens closer to the car for some reason. Anything above 50mm is ok, but it probably looks best using the 85mm, which I used for these two photos below.

Here's a shot using just the natural light.

And one with the car lit by three flashes. You have to be very careful with reflections and hotspots from the flash units, but this lighting technique makes the details on the car pop a bit more, particularly the wheels.

This is the lighting setup for the photo above.

While I was shooting, a man came up on a quad to ask what I was doing. I explained I was just practicing taking flash photos, and asked if I was in his way, being in front of his shed. He said it was fine, and that the whole area was full of his apple trees. He was curious about my car as he didn't know what it was, so we chatted for a bit about cars and apples, before he had to get back to work and roared off again.

I was getting quite tired after going back and forth adjusting the position of the flashes, so I packed everything up, taking a shot of the rear quarter before I took off again.

Climbing up the slope visible in the background of the setup shot, there was quite a nice view of the rolling hillsides in the distance, with trees lining the narrow road.

Another guy working at the apple orchard stopped next to me on his own quad, and again chatted for a few minutes before moving on.

I didn't really have a particular destination in mind for the day, so I just turned down whatever road I fancied, enjoying the improved induction and turbo noises with the new aluminium intake pipework.

 While I had generally stuck to bitumen roads, the different scenery and grip on some of the gravel and dirt roads was tempting, so I turned down one that looked interesting to see how it would go.

With a dust cloud trailing behind, I had a bit of a random drive around for a while, the loose gravel surface and 1.5 way mechanical making corners more entertaining. Trundling past a few properties, I spied the cab of a dilapidated old Bedford just sitting by the side of the road. I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a few photos, particularly as I didn't really know where I was, and would have a lot of trouble finding the place again; I learned that the hard way.

After driving through dirt and dust for quite a while, the Ceffy was looking none too clean.

While the Bedford cab was the only bit of machinery next to the road, the property itself was an automotive graveyard; with numerous cars, trucks and trailers sitting around in various states of disrepair.

This old Mercedes 1418 looked quite interesting, and I would have liked to get closer for some better photos, but with the fence and no people around to ask permission to go in, I stayed outside and got what I could.

Tired and with the Ceffy coated in dust, I called it a day and went back home.

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