I have had the chance to attend several events at the Tampa Jet Center in Florida. Most of my photographs focus on the cars and people at those events, but I liked the airport setting itself and as one cannot exactly stroll onto a runway and make photographs legally in most situations, I appreciated the unique opportunity I had to shoot on the tarmac. Luckily Mother Nature provided a nice background as the setting sun sent some orange light into the clouds at dusk that evening.
Tampa International Jet Center
For the second year in a row I was given a media pass (thanks Dona) to Cars & Couture 2013 at the Tampa International Jet Center. It is a charity event featuring supercars, models and private jets. This time there was only one car I had not seen before, the brand new C7 Corvette Stingray (I have more photos just featuring that Corvette coming).
The light was not as good as last year, especially inside the hangar, which meant it did not take long for me to shoot the event.
I did talk to a representative from ExecuJet and may soon be photographing their line of private jets. It would be a great opportunity to photograph a new subject matter. The jet center at sunset time provides a great backdrop too.
There was no formal Ferrari presence this year, just three total, and they were all the exact same model, the 458 Spider! That has long been my favorite car actually, but seeing three together almost made it seem common in my eyes! Subsequently, I am now all about the Lexus LFA!
This is what it would take for me to be able to travel internationally now, a private jet, as I would not travel anywhere without Kiki and commercial air travel is far too dangerous and risky for a dog. That is ok though, there is plenty of North America yet to be seen that can all easily be reached by car, which is my much preferred method of travel anyway. Still, there is no doubt a private jet has a certain allure. You can go anywhere in the world anytime on your own schedule. On the other hand, it would also seem to be the greatest negative impact an individual can make on the environment in a single act.
I received a media pass to the Festivals of Speed Luxury Lifestyle Jet Port Reception 2013 to go in and make all the photographs of supercars I wanted. This was my second time shooting at the Tampa International Jet Center, which is an outstanding location for Tampa car photography, although since it is an event for people, most cars were rather surrounded and close to each other. Therefore, I looked for the best partial angles most of the time in composing my car shots. One benefit of the formal event going on was that there were numerous colorful lights flashing across the space creating vivid backgrounds. It seems everyone is getting a McLaren MP4-12C Spider nowadays as the white one above was the second one I saw in as many weeks.
An Aston Martin DBS is normally an understated supercar that looks both fierce and classy at the same time. I would not want to try to describe how this kaleidoscope painted DBS looks, so that's why there is a photo of it for you to form your own thoughts.
The supercars at this event were parked along a variety of luxury lifestyle items, even private jets. The photo above suggests one could step out of their private jet (huge environmental impact) into their Fisker Karma electric vehicle and perhaps offset using so much jet fuel to transport so few people.
A line of classic motorcycles fanned out onto the tarmac at the Tampa International Jet Center. That is not the sunset in the background, just a large flood light, but I chose to overexpose the shot to look like it was.
I spent an hour looking for shots at this event, trying to find suitable backgrounds and to use the existing flood and strobe lights to compliment the mostly HDR techniques I was using to make images that evening.
At the 2012 Cars & Couture event in Tampa, Florida I had the opportunity to photograph this stunning Ferrari F430 Spider in Modena Yellow. It was parked next to four other Ferraris fortunately at the end of the line so I could make some clean photographs of it. As you can see it also happend to be sunset time making for an ideal backdrop.
I liked how the yellow line on this airport runway added a detail to the rear view of this Ferrari F430 Spider, and it was doubly nice that it was also yellow! I cropped in tightly to accentuate the presence of the line.
It was a very pleasant 20-minutes I spent all alone with this Ferrari far away from the busy event taking place in a hanger a few hundred yards away.
I believe the purpose of supercars like Ferrari existing is multifold. First and foremost of course, they provide a driving experience like no other. Of course due to the cost of owning (and maintaining!) a Ferrari this is a very exclusive experience. I believe there is another, even greater experience, for the existence of Ferrari, however. That is the joy of seeing (and hearing) one drive by and to give one something to daydream about. In short, the existence of Ferrari is about inspiration.
Which Ferrari would you pick from the five above? Having seen them in person, I would go with the yellow F430 Spider.
The Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera is a special version of the Gallardo for high performance on the track. I believe it is the best looking Gallardo of the many varients. I had a chance to photograph this Lambo at the Cars & Couture event at Tampa International Jet Center last week. As is usually the case when photographing cars at events, the background had people and other objects in it distracting from the beautiful Lamborghini itself. Plus, this was a very black car being sidelit by the setting sun. To produce the final, fully edited image you see above, it too 1-hour of digital darkroom effort! This is how editing this digital photograph progressed . . .
As you can see, if I simply set the exposure mode to aperture priority at f/8 and let the camera's meter make the decision, the result would have been a decent looking sky, but a very underexposed Superleggera that lacked detail in the many shadows. There was no doubt that I would need to make an HDR image to have a chance at getting both the car and the background looking well exposed. I went to the max that my Nikon D300 can do, 9-exposures.
After processing those 9 shots in Photomatix Pro, the middle image was the result. The worst part of it really were all the reflections in the side of the Lamborghini from another car next to it. That required a lot of careful clone stamping and even a little painting to get to an at least acceptable level of reflection.
After that task I set to removing the people standing behind the Superleggera, then the building over the passenger's side, then the cones and finally the person half-visible in the left edge of the frame. Once the image was all cleaned up I began selectively adjusting contrast levels and doing a little dodging here and there to balance the look of the pavement.
All that is not even counting my initial color correction and adjuting done in Aperture 3 and Color Efex Pro 3! So you can get an idea of how much work is involved in trying to get a usable car shot from a car event!