The current fastest car in the world is the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. There are no challengers. It is so dominant that just saying the word Veyron ends any discussion. Seeing the Veyron at speed makes me feel like I am looking at something supernatural. The sound it makes, the unblinking performance, the methodical cornering, it all happens in absolute dominant fashion . . . yet with no hard edge. It is like a benign apex predator.
The crowd at the car show in downtown St. Petersburg either were all very aware of the mystique of this car, or the crowd itself around it kept drawing an ever new crowd. I believe it was mostly the latter. Therefore, it was impossible to get any clean shots of it without someone getting in to pose with it as if it were some celebrity. Using the cloning techniques on this Ferrari photo to clean up the shots was not really possible even.
What struck me about seeing the Veyron in person for the first time was how small it was. It has a 16-cyclinder engine in the back after all. Yet it looks no bigger than a Porsche 911. You could easily park it or drive it down any road (without speedbumps). It is really compact. There was a guard making sure this $2.8 million hypercar was too fawned over. I spoke with him at length about this particular Veyron. Since it was the Super Sport version and had special blue carbon fiber body work, it demanded that higher than the usual $1.5 million or so price tag. The car was actually just purchased that morning. I was told that a buyer had been interested in it for awhile and finally pulled the trigger on it.
In blue, the carbon fiber body really stands out and looks striking. Underneath the lightweight exoskeleton, the engineering behind the car is mind boggling. It is extremely hard to create a car with air conditioning and blinkers that can also go over 260 mph.
After watching many videos of the Veryon, to see it in person gave me a new appreciation for it. It is kind of like seeing the Eiffel Tower or any other engineering marvel. The difference with the Veyron though, is you can take it home.
Safety Harbor Spa provided the backdrop for a commercial photography fashion shoot for a magazine featuring several models. All the models were fun to work with and helpful, even offering to assist me in carrying some of my strobist gear around. Much obliged. Nancy is featured in the above shot, which turned out to be my favorite shot of the day, and I later found out it was the magazine editor's favorite too. This shot was made in the "History Room" of the spa. The dog statue was moved into the shot purposefully. The spa staff later told me that many consider the statue to be haunted. People claim it moves by itself and some even have said it tried to bite them! It did have a mean stare if looked at from a certain angle, but I touched it and it only felt like cold bronze to me.
Although we shot at many different spots both inside and on the grounds of Safety Harbor Spa, the History Room was by far my favorite. Young model (just 15!) Julie poses in front of an oil painting at the far end of the long and well furnitured History Room. The length of the room allowed me to use my preferred Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens for this shot.
The first shooting of the morning though was of the gentlemen out on Safety Harbor Pier. The sun was already fast rising in the sky and with minimal space to place my speedlights, it was a bit of a logistics as well as photographic challenge to produce the above shot featuring Luke. I wanted to incorporate leading lines and a bit of a vanishing point in the shot.
Julie again in this shot showing very good balance and flexibility allowing for what I feel is a bit of an Aloha State themed image. If you have never photographed professional models before, I recommend hiring one for a shoot of your own and experiencing just how much easier it is to produce photographs when the subject already knows how to pose well. Another option is to do a free TF (trade-for) shoot with a model where each exchanges time in order to build their respective portfolios.
There was a makeup artist, hair stylist and fashion director that all worked together with the models helping me be able to photograph six models in total at eight different locations all in under four hours. Thanks a lot everyone, it was challenging fun.
- Learn this digital photograph editing technique from Jason in a 1-on-1 lesson, reserve today!
Car shows are great places to see a large number of awesome cars in a small space. However, that small space and numerous other car fans walking around create a nearly impossible situation for photographing the cars in full. Detail shots are usually what I focus on, but still I want to have at least a few full car shots as well. Some of you may know that the Ferrari 458 Italia is my current favorite car in the world. At a recent St. Petersburg, Florida car show I had a chance to talk with the owners of the above 458 Italia who were very nice people. I photographed their Ferrari at length.
I could not get a shot like I wanted to while there due to other cars being parked so close to the 458 Italia and of course because of many other people coming to peek at Ferrari's latest mid-engine super car. So I had to settle for the best angle I could get taking into account the sun's position and just the space I had to shoot in. Photoshop CS5 helped with the rest.
In the above screen shot you can see how I first used the Quick Select Tool (W) to put a protective fence around the objects I wanted to remove (silver car, people, etc). I do this because the Clone Stamp Tool (S) is very temperamental and very hard to use along a distinct edge like the front fender of the red Ferrari and the silver Ferrari. Basically, containing the unwanted object in a quick select field allows me to not worry about coloring outside the lines, so to speak. You can see I selected some grass from the foreground and already started stamping it onto the silver Ferrari. The sharp edge of the red Ferrari fender will remain perfectly intact.
Likewise for the people above the red Ferrari. I will clone some of the trees and stamp them on top of the people to complete the illusion that the Ferrari 458 Italia is alone in a field. To close the quick select areas hit CMD-M (on a Mac).
Using this quick select and cloning method will allow you to cleanly and easily remove objects from complex surroundings.
I returned to Northern Pinellas County this morning for my second DSLR Photography Lesson with Karin, but the first with her brand new just arrived Nikon D5100! This was of course my first time hands on with that Nikon as well and I came away impressed by its fit, finish & image quality. The D5100 was not her only new gear though, she also got a cable release for it, a tripod and a 3-light studio package! Karin wants to be able to produce great product shots for her pillows and she is not afraid to get the tools she needs to do it! I can respect that.
Assembling the lights was not that difficult, but it was definitely nice to have two pairs of hands to get them together. Setting up her Nikon D5100 was no problem for me as Nikon has kept things fairly consistent across its product line for some time now. So in just a matter of minutes we had her product shot lighting studio all setup and running! Getting the correct white balance and other settings were super simple thanks to working with continuous lighting.
With the D5100 on the tripod with a cable release, and all the pillows being basically the same size, and the lights being continuous, it really is no mess no fuss to produce absolutely consistent results shot after shot with minimal effort required on the photographer's part. Karin was very delighted with this.
We ended the lesson with a setting the settings hands-on quiz, so I could see if Karin can reproduce the results we got earlier when I am not there. First I changed every setting on the camera so that Karin would have to go through the settings progression I recommend when in manual mode: aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance and then finally focus mode. She passed and is now ready to add another hat (product photographer) to the many others she already wears for her business. I am really pleased to have been able to help her with her business in some way.
What Karin said about today's lesson:
"I'm very excited about what I'm learning and you are a great teacher for beginners!"