During the week preceding the Moab Car Show, I spend hours watching YouTube videos to learn how to take and process eye-catching car photos. I discover a way to take HDR (high dynamic range) photos using the built-in bracketing feature of my Nikon camera. With a fancy name like that who can resist? Mastering this technique will be quite an educational experience for me.
Lugging a Tripod at Moab Car Show
Taking bracketed photos requires the stable platform of a tripod. Lugging my heavy tripod around for hours at the car show is a bit of a chore. But with this extra equipment, I seem to give off an aura of photographic competence. I appreciate the extra effort and courtesy car owners and admirers show me as I work to capture these gleaming show cars.
Assessing the environment, I determine that in order to get crowd free photos I will need to shoot from a low vantage point. Again – good news, bad news. Shooting from 24″ above the ground does help clear the clutter, but after 50 deep knee bends I am exhausted!
My photography experiment teaches me that bracketing is not a good strategy for shows. If I try this again, still landscapes might be a better subject. As people move around the cars, they create ghostly, disembodied images in the Lightroom melded photos. On the up side, taking under and over exposed photos in sequence does give me a pretty good chance of getting at least one properly exposed photo.
I find that whether I use the best single exposure or the merged HDR bracketed photos, with a little editing I can get a picture I am satisfied with. The most important car show advice I can give other aspiring photographers like myself is to take a cell phone picture of each car’s windshield tag. I rely on Storm to remember the model and make of each car which he was not able to do – imagine that! Instead, Storm spends hours on Memory Lane reliving the good times with his past automotive loves. I ask him to select his favorites for my photo display below.
Storm’s Favorites from the Moab Car Show