Archive for July, 2009

New camera gear hauler/project…

For the past 7 years I have been doing the “lets go to the track and go fast then come home and spend more money on my car to go even faster” thing. Its gotten kinda boring and pointless to me lately. Or maybe Im just getting old?!?!? Regardless I decided to do something different. I picked up a 1998 2WD 4 door blazer about a week ago and Im going to play with this for awhile. I plan on doing small things here and there but not spending a ton of money like I did with fast cars.  This week I got the windows tinted, debadged the tailgate, took the fender moldings off,  and cleaned her up. I also decided to do a budget car audio system because I haven’t been able to have a system in a car for a long time(didnt want the weight lol). Installed a Pioneer headunit, replaced all the door/dash speakers with Polk units, picked up a Sony 600 watt RMS mono amp from a friend and strapped that to a Quantum Audio 750 watt RMS 10 inch sub in a ported box. It has a very nice thump to it while still having crystal clear mids and highs.  So far Im really loving riding around in this thing, I dont have mustangs rev’ing at me, civics doing ricer flyby’s and cops staring at me for no reason. Its a nice break from what I have been used to for so many years. Plus my automotive rig and lights fit in it with plenty of space left. Future plans include a 4 or 5 inch drop and 18 inch torque thrust II rims….and that pretty much about it….





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I have missed this lil thing!

I forgot what I was missing until I slapped this lil lens on my camera again…


I found myself wanting something small, lightweight and sharp for portaits and static automotive shots. The big Sigma 70-200 F2.8 was just too much lens and I had grown to hate using it because it was such an over kill. With me being a photographer on a budget(oxymoran right?) I decided to pick up another Nikon 50mm F1.8 off a forum for $100 paypal’d and shipped to me. Once I got the lens and strapped it on my camera it blew me away for the 2nd time! I dont see myself parting with this one and I just wanted to remind everybody out there if you dont have one of these in your bag your an idiot(i mean that in the nicest way possiable lol) and if you do have one in your bag, dont forget about it cause it sure does pack a punch! Bang for the buck the Nikon 50mm F1.8 lens just can not be beat.


My 4th of July was interesting!

I went out to the Horse Park this weekend for the annual Independence Day fireworks and car show. I’ve been there every year for the past 4 or 5 years and I always have a blast. Normally it’s just a Corvette car show, but this year they also added another section which was the old school Japanese cars. While out there I fell in love with this Datsun 510…


Soon after walking around and checking out all of the old school JDM goodness and the sexy Z06’s that made an appearance, it was time to get the show on the road. I spoke with a friendly fireman to get some inside information on where the fireworks would be shot from and what direction they would be traveling. He told me that they blocked off a side road and were planning on shooting the fire works from a particular hill on that road. I headed that way and stopped at the bottom of the hill. I pulled out the tripod, set my camera up and attached my shutter remote. Fifteen minutes later the fireworks were going off in full force! here are a few of my favorites…




Then things got a little crazy. I started seeing A LOT of smoke. Some of the fireworks came down into the field by the road where they were shooting them from and next thing I know they were calling people to help the firemen put the fire out!!! I put my camera gear up and went to help. As I came to the top of the hill I was shocked by what I saw. The fire was much bigger than I anticipated and the flames were well over the tree tops. It was a lot worse than I originally thought. I found a fireman and asked what I could do to help and he said that they had everything under control, even though it didn’t look like it! I had nothing else to do so I broke the camera back out! I’m sure there were a lot of people there that day that got some great photos of the fireworks, but I can tell you this, NOBODY else got THIS shot…


Over all, it was a fun day. Good times with family, friends, nice cars, and I had some excitement! Cant wait to do it again next year.

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“its still a neon” rig shot image build

Well I got my Avenger F1000 suction cups and Manfrotto Super Clamps so I had to go and test them out on the neon. I decided to go ahead and show the world my new rig set-up and what I go through with the editing that is involved in making myself somewhat happy with my own photos. I can get a little obsessive with making everything just perfect. I guess thats not really a bad thing though.

Here is a picture of my current rig set-up…


This is the original image right out of the camera except for crop/resize/watermark…


Then I adjusted the brightness to darken just the background to make the car “pop” more and make it easier for me to drop in my sky later. I also used the clone stamp tool to edit out the suction cups and the reflections from the pole in the paint…


While in Ohio with my girlfriend visiting her family I took a picture of this amazing sunset…


This is the sky and background I decided to use for this rig shot. I pulled the rig shot on top of this image then used the history brush to bring the sky and background back. it took some tweaking to get everything positioned where i wanted it to be but the shot is really coming together now…


Now I needed to deal with the exposure of the car, the color and the distortion. I brightened the car up some, adjusted the color just a little to get rid of the cool blue color on the silver paint then used the lens correction filter to get rid of some of the “super wide angle” look. I also made some small correction to my background that I though looked better as well as getting rid of the orange in the sky behind the car where there was no sun…


Here I added some contrast that was needed and used the burn tool on places like the headlight, grill and side windows…


One more thing that bothered me was the windshield, its very blown out on one side. Luckily I took a few under exposed shots and i was able to pull the windshield from one of those….


After my layer via copy of the windshield i was able to use the history brush around it.

After all this I did all your basic stuff like noise reduction, sharpening and adjusting levels to make sure everything was the way i wanted it to be.  Here is a before and after…


I hope you enjoyed watching the process I go through when I edit a rig shot of mine. Hopefully you learned something or just found it interesting. Thank you for reading my blog and dont forget to look for the full size shot of the finished product on my home page in the automotive gallery!