Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online

How I Photograph Cars - At Least This One II 
Dreamin' of Fiats

I made this month's photograph of a 1957 Autobianchi Bianchina using a Leica Digilux II. Actually it was two photographs, so let me tell you how that came to happen and the thought processes involved in creating the final image.

One Sunday, the Italian car clubs in Colorado held their annual car show called Automezzi. All kind of interesting cars showed up including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Lancias, Panteras, Maseratis, Alfa Romeos and Fiats. I've a love affair with Fiats since the early '70s (I know Jim McGee thinks that I'm demented) and this little red car captured my imagination, but unfortunately, there was always a crowd around it. 

This year's Automezzi was at a new, less photogenic location and photographs were much hard to make. On the way out, I took a last look at this car and there was this kid - dressed all in black - standing in front of it. So I made the shot with a Leica Digilux II. The camera's ISO was set at 200, shutter sped 1/500th of a second at f /7.1 with the flash popped up. (Don't ask me why, it was basically a grab shot). As I looked back, the kid had moved and I made a second exposure, also in RAW mode as I almost always do these days in order to get the maximum quality from the digital file. 

At the moment of the second exposure I knew two things: I was going to combine both images on different layers in Adobe Photoshop CS and I was going to change the opacity on the "kid" layer so he showed through the car in a ghostly way. Later on, I opened both RAW files using Photoshop's camera RAW import module and tweaked the images using the White Balance pop-up menu. I then used Picto's I Correct Professional plug-in ( www.picto.comv) to make each image as neutral as possible. 

Working first with the photograph without a car, I saved it as a PSD file and created a duplicate layer (Layer>Duplicate Layer) Since the background was so busy I experimented with various color treatments for the duplicate layer and ended up applying nik Color Efex Pro's Old Photo: Black and White filter. I thought the effect was perfect. Next I used Photoshop's Eraser tool and erased a hole in the duplicate layer where the car was located. When I do this, I usually turn off the other layers so I can only see the one I'm easing. 

Next, I dragged the photo of the kid on top the PSD file, automatically creating another layer and making sure that the kid layer was the topmost layer. Then I erased everything but the kid. Since I wanted the kid to be "ghostly" (remember my original concept?), I changed the opacity of kid layer to 70% in the Layer's palette. 

Even though the car is a Autobianchi Bianchina, I call the final image "Dreaming of Fiats," and feel that unlike most of my car photos which are just pretty pictures, this one tells a story. I know what my story for this photograph is? What's yours?

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Vivid Light Photography, digital and film photography online