An Old Horse Stops by to Surprise Me

April 5, 2014

I have been contemplating a scene near the house for some time now that included an old 50's model Chevrolet pickup truck parked outside of a automotive shop.  I have tried to photograph it several times but have yet to find a way to capture it based on where it sat in the parking lot.  After about a month or so, I finally worked out a composition that I thought would work which included the store front and vintage gas pumps.  I also decided that twilight would be a good time to give it a try because I wanted to incorporate some light painting  in addition to the lights that the shop provided.

When I got out to the shop, I found that the truck was gone!  This is a risk that I often take with this type of photography.  There are times that my subject just disappears and I never see it again.  This was one of those times.  On the positive side, however, there was an early model Ford Mustang which was new to the site.  The problem was, it was in pretty good shape considering I was looking for a rusted out vehicle.  Another thing that was working against it was that it was white.  This is not a favorable color when I am considering light painting since it tends to blow out quickly.

I decided to give it a go anyway and I set the camera up using the 16-35mm wide angle lens so that I would emphasize the Mustang, but still include the entire shop in the photograph.  To add drama, I got as much altitude as my tripod would allow and shot from above.  This gave some pleasing angles to the car, and allowed me to include everything that I wanted to include in the scene.  When it was all said and done, I had cranked off some 20 frames in an attempt to capture the scene in just the right light.  I used a large Maglite to help provide that "right light" for most of them.  I did use the hotshoe flash as a standalone lighting source for a few of the shots early on before it got dark.

American Muscle
Here you see the results of the hotshoe flash with ambient lighting.  The exposure was still too fast, at only a couple of seconds, to use my typical light painting techniques.  I was hoping that the main lights would click on while the lighting in the sky was at this point.  Sadly, they did not.  There are things that I don't really like about this picture, but there are several things that I do.  I still haven't decided if I should include it in the gallery here at  I do have another one that I like a little bit better which happened later in the evening.

In this one, the main lights were turned on, but the sky had darkened a little bit more than I was really wanting for the composition I had worked out.  The lights on the pumps also blew out the Gulf logo on top.  This was not going to be an issue for my original concept for the truck.  You win some you lose some I suppose.  Overall, I like the feel of this picture, and it takes the emphasis off of the fact that the car is in relatively good condition.  It gives it a dated feel in a way.  I still wish that I had an old rusty car sitting here instead of a driver.

I'm still trying to decide if either of these is worthy of being part of the gallery since there are only 25 slots per room, and I try to be very selective about what I include in those rooms.  I welcome any input on which image you would like to see highlighted in the Old Iron Room.

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