Change is good, hence what you see in Longshots this month. This being a photography exhibition, we figured it best to start showcasing our contributors’ automotive photography efforts in the detail they deserve: bigger, and with shooting and workflow tips straight from the, er... not yet pros.
This month it’s William Stern’s bright Supra shot that lands him in the spotlight.
2001 RHD Toyota Supra Twin Turbo
Photographer: William Stern
Location: Miami, FL
Shot location: Tamiami Airport
Equipment: Nikon D300s; Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8; Manfrotto tripod; B800 Alien Bees (x2), stands, Vegabond II battery pack, cybersync triggers (x2); Adobe Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS4
Shutter: 1/250 sec.
Focal length: 24mm
Subject-camera distance: 10 feet, 11.89 inches
Camera height: 2.5 inches
From the artist
“This is a manual composite of two shots, each taken with the camera in the same place, secured on a tripod: one shot made to light and expose the car and another made to light and expose the planes in the foreground.
I used two lights for the first shot: each one placed about five feet high and about 10-15 feet from the car at opposite ends, both placed about halfway between me and the car. Lights were aimed directly at it and fired at full power with the bulbs bare. To light the planes in the second shot, one light was handheld and placed about two feet off the ground, slightly at camera-left and also fired at full power. Exposure for both shots was the same.
Back home, both shots were opened in Lightroom 3. The only thing I wanted from the first image was the car, so I knew the second image would be my main image. To keep them consistent, I applied the same adjustments to each: increasing exposure (in the background image), black point, brightness and clarity, and decreasing vibrance and saturation. This could also be done in Photoshop’s Raw Converter, if you don’t use Lightroom. Both images were then exported to Photoshop where I ‘painted’ in the image of the car using layer masks and the lasso and brush tools, and cloned out things like extension cords and annoying glare. Next, I straightened the image using rulers and guides, and proceeded to adjust brightness, exposure, contrast, color, and desaturation in select areas of the image, also using layers, masks, and the brush tool. Getting the ground whiter involved using curves to increase exposure and brightness while keeping the black point low. After that, I made some final curves adjustment to the whole image, sharpened it, and deemed it good to go. Check out the raw (straight out of camera) version of the first shot from above.”