It’s that time of year again—Car Show season—and classic cars are rolling onto manicured lawns for Concours d’Elegance and shows with Hot Rod are popping up an the nearest asphalt surface. This Sunday is the Fifth Annual Corvette Mountain Madness People’s Choice Car Show in Grand Lake, Colorado. Admission is free and runs from 10 AM to 2 PM. Click the link for more information. Update: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mary and I will be unable to attend. We apologize for any inconvenience.
To make interesting photographs at a car show, indoors or outdoors, you gotta love cars. A passion for the subject you’re photographing is always a plus and enables you to look beyond the surface of a car to see its essence, its soul.
Next to your camera, the most important thing to bring to a car show is lots of memory cards and large capacity cars too. Indoors or out exposure can be tricky, so you should always use one of Farace’s Law for photographing cars: Be sure to overexpose white and light colored cars and underexpose black or dark colored ones. When using automatic exposure, I bracket in one-third stops in aperture-controlled mode to maintain consistent depth-of-field. One or more of the three shots is always usable.
While I shoot most cars in color, I often use the camera’s black and white mode to produce images that have a vintage look. Can’t make up your mind? Shoot it in RAW+JPEG and make the decision later. Of course you can just shoot in color and convert to monochrome in the digital darkroom.
Be sure to make images of parts of cars. Don’t be frustrated by the lack of space and crowded conditions found at some shows. Use that to your advantage by finding small details, such as details in a Bugatti’s grille or the sensuous lines of a street rod’s fender and capture them in sharp focus. That’s why I prefer to use wide-angle zooms that let me get close and fill up the frame with part or even the entire car while eliminating distractions. Make sure your zoom lens allows close focusing. Start by working in close and gradually back off the zoom ring until extraneous details appear in the frame, then crop them out—in camera.