train tracks

Red 2004 Corvette Z06 Tampa Car Photography in Ybor City

Corvette Z06 in Ybor City near train tracks Tampa Car Photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 1/30th +1 ev tripod mounted single exposureDustin contacted me about photographing his 2004 Corvette Z06 in the same Ybor City Tampa location he has seen my photographs of a Mustang and a Lexus IS F.  He was open to me shooting however I liked, not wanting any replicated photos and I really wanted to try and produce some different shots after having already shot at this exact spot twice before.  Thanks to our well timed shoot and Mother Nature cooperating with a very well positioned sunset, I was able to produce some new shots for this Corvette shoot.

Red Chevy Corvette Z06 sunset view in Ybor City Tampa Car Photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 1/40th +2 ev tripod mounted single exposureOne of the big differences with the shots from this car photography shoot was I did not rely on HDR for most of the shots.  I still shot a majority of bracketed shots, but I ended up using one of those exposures, as in the shot above, to produce the final image.  I feel this improves my car photography shooting style offering future clients even more variety in final images.  What motivated me to shoot like this?  Looking at lots of photographs of cars on Autoblog.com.  Looking at photographs is a great way to improve your own photography, no matter what you are shooting or what experience level you are.

Corvette Z06 vs train in Ybor City Tampa Car Photography - Nikon D300 Nikkor 50mm @ f/4 ISO 200 1/400th with antique filter in Silver Efex ProOne of the original reasons I scouted this Ybor City shooting location was that the client wanted to have his car near train tracks.  Well these tracks are very active as you can see above allowing me to make a "Corvette vs. Train" shot.  I wonder what the train engineer was thinking?

Z06 Corvette train track sunset in Ybor City Tampa Car Photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 9-exposure HDR tripod mounted with cable releaseI still did make some 9-exposure HDR final images though, like the one above allowing me to show the full details of the red Corvette and full detail in the bright sky background.  As you can see in the shots above, with a single exposure that much detail in the sky cannot be preserved unless you make an HDR image.

Corvette Z06 in Ybor City at sunset Tampa Car Photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 9-exposure HDR tripod mounted with cable releaseMost car shots are usually from a low angle, but I wanted to show more of the shape of the hood of this Corvette so I maxed out the leg height of my tripod to get this upper view of the car and used another 9 exposures to make this HDR image.

Stylized Corvette Z06 view in Ybor City Tampa Car Photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 1/100th +2 ev tripod mounted single exposureA tight rear quarter panel and rear wheel composition is one of my favorite views to photograph a car from, as seen in the photo above.  I think it creates a somewhat exaggerated and therefore interesting view of a car, especially if it has nice wheels!

Corvette Z06 on bricks in Ybor City Tampa Car Photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 9-exposure HDR tripod mounted with cable releaseFor the last shots of the afternoon we went to the other side of the warehouse out of direct sunlight.  Even though there was no bright sky to contend with, I chose to shoot in brackets and ended up using all 9-exposures to make the HDR image above.  In doing so details in the shadows of the car and gate above were revealed.  

Tampa Model Portfolio Shoot Train Tracks

Model Katie posing on train tracks in Tampa - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/2.8 ISO 200 1/2000th 

The above image featuring model Katie is from my archives.  A few years ago I was not posting about all the shooting I was doing since at that time I was only a part-time photographer, not the full-time professional I have been the past two+ years.  This train station is near downtown Tampa and we had to ask if it was ok to go out onto the tracks for a few shots.  I do not even think these particular train tracks were in use anymore, or if they are the platform could use some major rennovations!  

Katie was a great model that day in a wardrobe I thought matched the train track setting perfectly.  It was almost effortless to photograph her as she seemed to instinctively know on her own the best pose.

For this shot I got low just below her eye level and chose to make as shallow of a depth of field shot as the location provided.  It turned out to be my favorite of our model portfolio shoot that day.

Photography Tip -- vanishing point

Vanishing Point example: f/11 ISO 200 1/640 -1 +/- handheld

This marks the first in what will be a continuing series of photography tips I will offer.  You can follow them if you find them useful by subscribing or checking back regularly.

The above photograph is an example of vanishing point composition.  The train tracks are of course parallel to each other, but they appear to converge at a distance.  Where they converge is the vanishing point.  This adds a sense of depth and dimension to a 2D photograph.  Besides train tracks, other subject matter that can be photographed using the vanishing point technique include:  tunnels, winding roads, guard rails, high walled paths.

These train tracks are across from the University of Tampa campus.  I know there are also train tracks in downtown Tampa and near the brewery at Busch Gardens.  If you live in an area that has a subway system, then you will have lots of vanishing point photography opportunities.

Vanishing point composition does not need to follow the rule of thirds for composition.  In fact, centering the vanishing point is often the most pleasing composition.  For train tracks, I like to put the camera as low to the ground as possible.  Using a tripod is a good idea too.  As always, set your focus about 1/3 of the way into the frame. 

Please post a link to your own vanishing point photograph in the comments below!

How I edited the photograph: 

  • RAW processed in Aperture (Nikon D300 default setting)
  • Exposure correction in Color Efex Pro 3
  • Tonal Contrast filter used in Color Efex Pro 3
  • Unsharp Mask in Photoshop CS4
  • Holga effect filter in Silver Efex Pro 3