Car Corner
Automotive Photography and the Future of This Site

February 1, 2015
By Scott Lewis

I must apologies. I have been too busy to spend time on this site. This is both good and bad. The good is that the primary reason is that I am actively working part time as an Automotive Photographer. The bad... I may have to abandon this site. I don't know if I have the time for both.

You may have noticed that none of my columns come out every month anymore. It is the sad reality of not having the time to write articles that I can be proud of. Not that I have been proud recently anyway. I have rushed too many articles, and invariably when I go back and re-read them months after they were published I hate the grammar. I am a terrible writer.

I thought I would just discuss some of my photography from a conceptual standpoint. I will have very little technical information for fellow photographers, and even less for cars nuts. But hopefully you will glean a little insight into how I am transitioning into having a part time job that came out of nothing.

I came up with a technique to photograph a car. I described that process here on my photography site. In a nutshell, I use flash to overcome the natural light in a garage and move around the car taking multiple shots. Then I blend the shots in Photoshop for a unique look.

This look has been quite popular with my customers. If you go here on my photography site, you can see that I have done the same flash technique quite a few times so far.

You will see some cars with have a pure white background. This is another technique that is similar to the one above. For the pure white background I setup the same as for the "dark" technique, but set the camera to expose normally. Then I put the flash behind the car pointed at a white background. Again, we take multiple exposures as we move the flash across the background. In Photoshop I merely blend the background... instant super white studio shot in your very own garage.

My "next big thing" is to create a photo book. Yes, book. I want to create a custom book that will be like a high end coffee table book. I am going to create the first book for a client that is in the process of restoring a Ferrari Testarossa. It is going to an international Ferrari event in Monterey this August. I have taken photos of the engine while it was out of the car, and will be taking extensive photos of the car over the next few months. I am going to put it all together and create a book. It will be a custom book about this owner's Testarossa. Ideally it will be leather bound and have pages that lay flat (the center of the book will include a two page spread with a panoramic like the Mustang you saw above if you followed the link). This will be expensive. Considering the money spent on the restoration, a few hundred dollars for a one of a kind book will be worth it. Especially when it is on display in Monterey.

I am also starting a deal to do work for a company that will do custom restorations for high-end cars (similar to the type of restoration on the Testarossa). If the book for the Testarossa works out like I plan, I expect to be creating similar books for most of the cars this new company will restore.

I have created a unique look, and it is keeping me busy. I like that.

I am concerned that I am using a consumer level camera (Canon EOS T2i) that is only 18 MP. I have to use special software to upsize my photos to print at 24 x 36. Some clients are going to want larger. One client is planning to display photos in his hanger (yes, hanger). I will need a larger megapixel camera to print larger than I have so far. Canon is rumored to be coming out with a couple of 50 MP cameras in February. I am hoping for that. I don't want to ditch my existing Canon lenses. Nikon has the D810 with 36 MP. I am almost tempted to switch, but will wait until Canon's high megapixel cameras are out and reviewed.

It is more important that the pixels are good pixels, and not just having lots of them. Toward that end... I am also considering a medium format digital camera. These are VERY expensive. I have been considering a Pentax 645Z camera. It has a much larger sensor that even a "full frame" DSLR. Theoretically, a medium format 50 MP sensor should produce better images than a 50 MP, full frame sensor from a DSLR. I expect to see comparisons to the Pentax if Canon does come out with a 50 MP camera. Also there is Hasselblad, Phase One, and others. The Pentax is the most affordable, which is a crazy term. Affordable is still going to be an investment of about $12,000 for just the body, databack, and one lens. Ouch! There is no way I can justify a medium format camera unless the job is paying for it. Granted, if I am shooting in a studio part of a car restoration business... I will be getting a medium format cameras. Otherwise.. let's hope Canon's rumored 5DS is good enough for what I need.

I do expect to turn a profit in 2015 with my photography. However, I do not know if I will turn enough of a profit to buy a new camera. That will be interesting to see.

I would normally close this out by saying "I'll keep you posted." However, I am not sure that will be the case. I feel like I am neglecting this site. And I have a hard time keeping it if I am just going to neglect it. I may just drop down to a single column. And just put in whatever I want for that month.

That could be weird. Let's think about the kind of content I still want to have on this site.

1) Classic Car Information. I still want to track the price of classic (and near classic) cars. I am 18 months away from the end of child support payments. I definitely want to keep track of cars for sale because I am hoping to buy some kind of classic (newer or older) in a couple of years.

2) Photography. I would like to share a little of my photography on this site. It is going to be automotive specific so it could still fit in with an automotive column.

3) Technology. This would be out of place in an automotive column. Granted, if the technology were camera based, then I could slip it in to the automotive stuff. It would be a stretch, but it could work. Other technologies would be weird for an automotive column, so I don't know how well I can incorporate Windows 10, Network Storage, TVs, etc. into a column that is about cars.

4) Life. I like being able to have a place to tell about life. I mentioned in the December edition of Scott's Column that I am planning some changes... specifically getting a new apartment. That is totally out of place for an automotive column.

I definitely won't have time to maintain 3 columns. If I drop to 2, I still won't have enough time/content to fill 2 columns every month. So do I have 2 part time columns, or try going to 1 monthly column with such a wide variety of content that it only makes sense to me? Or... skip the monthly part, and publish articles when they are ready. Think if it like a blog... but one with bigger articles than your typical blog, and without the small little thing that many blogs add in.

OK, so I will keep you posted... some how. I just don't know how yet.