Sunday, May 13, 2012
Exotics take over St. Petersburg FL.
In early April I was hired to cover the Festivals of Speed as it once again took over downtown St. Petersburg Florida. This show has been an annual occurrence for years and famous for it's ultra high end automotive entries. The headliners this year from this year were this extraordinary Buggati Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport (above) and the much more elusive Koenigsegg CCXR as seen below (two of the worlds most expensive and fastest production cars I might add).
Of course for me being both a photographer and a die hard exotic automotive enthusiast this show is like spending a few days in heaven. The results are as seen a group of images showing both the show and the extraordinary beauty of these machines.
The shot above of the CCXR was posted the day I returned from the exclusive Jet Port reception party and within hours was featured on "Flickr Explore"quite an achievement considering how many millions of photos hit the site on any given day. So the question that may arise from shots like this is how are they done?
In the case of the two images above it's a lot about composition. The Buggati shot above called "King of the Hill" was shot with a Canon 60D and a Sigma 8-16MM Lens - F5.0, 1/50, ISO 320. Post process was done mostly with Lightroom 4 and color correction/enhancement with VIVEZA 2 by Nik Software. Creative tip: The three ways to draw a users eye to a specific part of the photo: Color, Focus, Light. In this shot I exploited the fact that Bugatti is largely grey-scale surrounded by vivid color; the opposite of another popular effect - making only the focus object color while the background is Black and white. Also note that composition plays a part in the focus as the ground forms a triangle shape leading the eye to the Bugatti.
The CCXR shot was composed with strong use of triangles to define the quadrants of the lower frame; the CCXR represents the largest triangle of the 7 triangles of the core shot. Post processing for this shot was done with NIK Software HDR Efex pro and refined in lightroom 4 for detail and a bias to a warmer white balance.
The Spyker LM85 seen here is one of only twenty four ever made. This automobile is nothing short of a work of art inside and out not to mention its performance ability's of it's Audi V8 engine or it's Le Mans ready suspension.
This shot of it I felt was classic with sail boat in the back as if to say "parked the car and went sailing". In post process the majority of the work in lightroom was to remove the color blue from the LM85 itself to highlight it's chrome details and grill work. Blue was also removed to retain the stunning orange metallic tones in the paint.
The "Aventador" of course being Lamborghini's latest and greatest flagship exotic received ample attention at the event. This Braille sponsored race version and I spent some time together after the show for a series of stunning bay side shots. Again one can see my heavy use of triangles for composition. This time though I was using an Adorama studio strobe powered by an Alien Bee's Vagabond 2 power supply to chase away the harsh sun shadows.
In post process I used Color Efex Pro to neutralize and blend tones of white to achieve a uniform color palette. I also used bleach bypass to bring out all those little details as seen in the rims.
For this shot and the shot below I had my custom made tripod up about 8ft or so to achieve the high angle look. Shot composition was done with the 60D's wonderful articulated screen so I could easily see from below.
The interior shots at the Jet Port were largely done with long exposures to capture the majestic party lighting.
The Shelby Series one got a lot of attention from me as I have always thought it to be one of the most beautifully designed american automobiles of all time. The Series 1 was plagued by issues around the time of its release and was for the most part swept under the rug by Shelby so they are rare to see even at events as high profile as this; I have only seen three ever. There is a great book about this car's history called Snake Bit.
So about the shot: The depth of field was faked with focal point 2 as there simple was no room to get a long lens shot with the thousands of visitors and automobiles surrounding this Shelby.
McLaren's new MP4-12C was also being displayed at the show. This vehicle is the first we have seen since the legendary three seater F1 redefined the term "Supercar" in the late 90's. These shots show off some of the unique attributes of this new beauty.
Well I hope you enjoyed the shots and a bit of the back story behind them; to see more of the shots check out my photostream . Also check out The Festival of Speed if you are down in Florida.