Yesterday, I had grand plans to take the Audi R8 from TopSpeed Motorsports out in the golden hours of the sunrise to take some warm setting pictures. Then…the rain moved in and ruined those plans. Instead I burned up a spot that I had been waiting to shoot my own car at later. It is a gloomy looking parking deck with a very unique rear wall. In retrospect, this location was probably much better suited for the R8 anyway as it pops off the background a lot better than my matte silver Subaru would have.
Yesterday when I got back, Jenn was not feeling all that well and Daniel had to go down for a nap. This gave me a couple of hours to really work on these two photos. This was the first time that I really sat down and worried about every single pixel in the frame. Normally I get impatient with the editing process and leave it at just good enough or just stop when I run out of talent in frustration. I know this about myself so I generally try to compose during the shot in a way that requires the least amount of final editing.
I used these particular shots as an exercise in trying to get better at producing a better final result regardless of how long it took. There are still things that I look at in these images that need some work but this was a lot more time and effort than I normally put in and it shows in the results. Luckily, I have some photographer friends of mine that are far more talented than I am that put up with my constant texting of questions. That conversation really helped get these to where they are now and is a fun part of the creative process that gets to the final image.
The Before and After Shots of the R8
As you can see by these comparison shots (you can click on the image for a hi-res), a lot of work went into removing the poles, the fence, parking lines and other distractions from the background/setting of the location. As much as I like red cars, they can be a bitch to shoot because the reflections come off as magenta, so a lot of color correction in spots had to be done to return things to red. There was also some work on cleaning up the reflections on the car itself to make things look cleaner and to remove the reflections of elements I removed in the scene.
The technique I used in Photoshop is not really the way to do this. I did all of the editing within the image itself instead of using layers like you really should. Why? Because I suck at layers and that is something I really need to work harder on learning or find some kind of class to take. I have a feeling it would drastically cut down on editing time and get me to a better final result faster.
Overall, I am pretty happy with the final results. Those that know photography can probably see the areas that need more work or a better way to compose the image…but when I look at shots I took this time last year…I can see some progression in my own work which is pretty cool to see. I really just need to keep on doing mental exercises like this to try to keep pushing myself even if I feel like I really don’t know what I am doing.
The Final Shots
Here are the final shots of the car that I ended up using in the end. One is a 3/4 shot and the other is the profile as you can see in the comparison shots above.
The Audi R8
The Audi R8 really is a special car…especially in a 6 speed configuration. For the life of me, I can not figure out why someone would buy a Lamborghini Gallardo over an R8. The interior is nicer, it rides better, it is just as fast and it looks better in my opinion. I guess the only real thing it doesn’t have is that “hey look I am in a Lambo” attention grabber. Other than that, you basically get the same package in a much more refined final product.
There is just something about hearing the shifter run through the metal great that is addicting. Ironically, I will probably be showing my son pictures of the way we used to shift cars as most brands are abandoning manual gear boxes completely in favor of new dual clutch designs. We’ll be telling our kids “remember when there used to be 3 pedals?”.
If there was one car I could have right now that is still in the realm of “reasonable”…this would be it. There will always be the pipe dream of a McLaren, Ferrari 599 GTO (w/twin turbos!) or Porsche Carrera GT though…