Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CLASSIC CARS IN BLACK & WHITE

Every Tuesday evening during the summer months, the Highland House, a restaurant a couple of miles from our home, sponsors a classic car rally, and I have gone a number of times this summer to take photos of the cars.  I thought I would do a post on some of the shots I took that I wound up converting to black & whites.

I'm never sure which shots are going to work as B&Ws and which aren't.  In some cases the color of the car or some accessory or component is what attracts me, so color remains important to those shots.  In other cases color is needed to reveal properly the play of reflected light off the car's body.  Color can also be important in establishing the line between the car and background elements.  On the other hand, background distractions, such as someone's colorful shirt, can sometimes be reduced by converting the image to B&W.  Also in some cases the primary elements of interest are patterns of lines, and the use of B&W may serve to bring out those lines.  My best bet generally is to play around with B&W in post processing to see if that is the better option.

Here are a few of the classic cars shots from this summer that I thought worked better in B&W.

One of the cars at a recent rally was a very classic and classy MG.  The car was in great condition, and I thought that its black color showed off well in B&W.


In this first shot, B&W served to eliminate some distractions from people in the background.  This was shot at an aperture of f/8, and in retrospect I probably should have opened up the lens's aperture to f/4 to put the people a bit more out of focus.  My other regret on this shot was that the license plate was a bright orange and it would have been nice to have highlighted its color.  But I'm not enough "into" Photoshop to try to get that result.  Besides, then the photo would have been about the plate rather than the car itself.

Here are a few more shots of that MG.



In the above shot I focused on the MG emblem but wanted also to incorporate the horizontal reflection playing off the car's hood.  I could have done a better job lining up the shot from directly in front of the car.  The shot below is better in that respect.



In these latter shots, background distractions weren't an issue, but I thought that B&W was consistent with the car's vintage.  After all, this car was from an era when color photography essentially didn't yet exist.

That was not the case with the following cars, a Porsche (I think), a Jaguar, and a Shelby Cobra.




In these detail shots I was most interested in the lines or emblem and thought B&W served the purpose well.  I liked that I placed the Jaguar emblem off center in the middle shot.

The following is a detail shot from the hood of a 1957 Chevy that routinely shows up at these rallies.  Here I was especially interested in the surreal way that light reflecting off the chrome "spear" was playing in the concave oval underneath.


In the shot below, I was most interested in the simple pattern being formed by the ventilating strips.  But I was also happy with the modest amount of contrasting reflections apparent in the image that broke up the monotony.


Finally, here are a couple of shots of hoods, the first of a Pontiac GTO that had been nicely restored.


I took special care to get this shot centered to show off the hood's symmetry.


This last shot of the hood of a Corvette is, unfortunately, not as well centered.  I wound up cropping this shot down a fair amount, in part to disguise the lack of centering, but more importantly to highlight the quality of the reflections off of the hood's raised portions. 

John

16 comments:

  1. John, those are so impressive. I love black and white

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  2. Hi John! Beautiful photos! Where did you get them? Did you take them yourself?

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  3. Thanks so much.
    I took these photos at a couple of weekly classic car meets that take place each Tuesday evening during the summer at the Highland House, a restaurant in Mequon, Wisconsin.

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  4. These are great shots. Would you consider licensing any of them for commercial use? We have a client that is interested in using them for a car club project. How can we contact or private-message you regarding this?

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  6. Got it, safe to take down. You should hear from us today. Thanks!

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  7. We just sent you an email, looking forward to hearing from you soon!

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  8. My name is Dustin Morgan and I am the Executive Director of Johnny Martin's Car Central, a unique Member only Car Club. We are currently under construction and are looking for high quality art pieces. I am very interested in speaking with you about your work. Is there a way I could contact you? Thank you. www.johnnymartins.com

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    1. Dustin, I can temporarily post my email address and phone number. Once you see it, I will take it back down for privacy and we can communicate by phone or email. Let me know if this will work for you. John

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  10. John, Thank would be great. I will keep an eye out for it and as soon as I receive it, I will let you know. Thank you and I look forward to speaking with you. Dustin

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  12. Got it. I will try calling shortly. Thank you,

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  14. Dear John, can i have your email contact please? im interested with your photo work and i want to put one of them to my gallery. please contact me to ceciliaflorensia@gmail.com

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