Saturday, August 24, 2013


Spring Green, Wisconsin, with a population of under 2000, is known for being the home of Taliesen, Frank Lloyd Wright's Midwestern home and architectural studios.  It also hosts annually a classic car show, and we were there for the show last weekend.  The show was enormous, featuring over 700 classic cars.  I find myself being drawn to the beauty of some of the cars, particularly when they have been lovingly restored.  The day included brilliant sunshine that served to show off nicely the cars' restored finishes.  I wound up taking well over 200 shots and am proud of the fact that I have winnowed the number of keepers down to less than 50.

I have been accused of failing too often to photograph the entire car, focusing instead on little details.  Guilty as charged, though I did take a few full-body shots, including a 1914 Model T Ford, as well as a Willys and a DeSoto from the 1930s.  The Willys and DeSoto, especially, were beautifully restored.

These shots were relatively "clean," whereas most of the other shots of entire cars included what I consider to be distractions--other cars or people cluttering up the shots.

My preference is for details that capture the cars' outstanding features, such as chrome grilles.

The first three of these were, respectively, a 1942 Ford, a late 1930s Chevy, and a 1949 Buick.  I didn't note what the fourth shot was (another one of my shortcomings), but I liked the distorted reflection of the grille work in the chrome of the "bullet" feature.

Hood ornaments represent another opportunity for capturing detail, as in the following.

The first of these is from the 1914 Model T, but I don't know the makes of the following two shots.  I really only liked the last shot for the paint job.  Besides, a particularly pointy-headed reflection of me is visible in the ornament, something I normally try to avoid.  

But the best hood ornament was the following of a Morgan.

I particularly liked the head-on shot of the ornament that included its shadow.

Taillights and fins are also favorites.  Here is a photo of a 1957 Ford, the first real year of the fin.

I shot this from close range with lens at a wide open f/4 to reduced background distractions.  I used the same technique for this 1957 or 58 DeSoto.  Note the corpulent gentleman in the background.

One minor problem with the above shot was that the owner had opened the trunk, visible in the upper right of the image.  Unfortunately, this was true of a large number of the cars, where the owners had either opened the hoods or trunks or both--great for showing off the engines or whatever the trunks held, but not so great for photographers who just wanted to get shots of the polished sheet metal.

One of the primo cars at the show was a beautifully restored 1957 Plymouth.  As with the DeSoto above, the most distinctive features of the Plymouth were its tail fins.

Here, by the way, I stopped down the aperture some (to f/6.3) to keep in better focus a bit more detail of the rest of the car.

One of the cars that quickly became and has remained a classic is the 1957 Chevy and one can almost always count of seeing one or more at most car rallies.  However, as a kid, I always liked better the look of the tail lights of the 1958 Chevy.

Certainly, they were more sedate than those of either the 1957 or the 1959 models.  (1959 was the year of Chevy's "gull wing" rear ends.)

OK, so to wrap things up here are a few more shots of details that I thought turned out well.

One final comment:  A trend in classic cars that I have noticed is that more and more of them are muscle cars from the late 1960s through the 1970s.  I'm sure this reflects the changing demographics of classic car enthusiasts--later baby boomers who grew up, perhaps, when those were the want-to-have cars of the times.