A Friend Was Holding Out

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Resting Heartbeat
So, every so often I put feelers out through social media about wanting to photograph old cars and barns.  My friends all know that I enjoy photographing these things.  I ask then, how is it that one of my friends out of nowhere one day starts talking about a Nova sitting in her back yard.  Wait.....a Nova you say?  A '72 you say?  How have I not heard about this until now?  Well, it's better late than never I suppose.  She sent me some pictures of the car as it sat under a car cover.  It was hard to tell the actual condition of the car, but I could see that there was very little rust on it.  But, I had not shot a Nova before, and they are one of my favorite body styles from the 70's.  it was worth a shot...pardon the pun.

Looking at the pictures, I could tell where the sun would be hitting, and I was pretty sure that I would need some nice diffused lighting to make the exposures look right.  The trees let the sky through, so an overcast day would probably not work as well with the bright white shining through the trees.  I was going to need a blue sky day with clouds over the sun, or a dark gray day to make it work out.  My first opportunity came the night of severe storms.  The sky was great, but the wind was relentless and it was raining.  The next day promised decent cloud cover, and a possibility for a shoot.

The Soul Remains
As the afternoon neared, the sky was much clearer than the forecast had lead me to believe.  I wasn't sure if it was going to work, but I figured that since I had worked through lunch and could leave a little early, I would give it a try.  If nothing else, I could scout it out and see what was there to work with.  When I arrived, the trees were doing a decent job of blocking the direct light, so that was good.  There was plenty of blue sky behind the trees as well so that was in my favor.  I went over and pulled the cover off and looked at the car.  It wasn't nearly as rusty as I was hoping.  Shoot, it was actually in pretty good condition.  The car itself though, was worth photographing and the lighting was looking pretty good for the time being.

I went ahead and pulled out my camera and mounted the 24-70mm lens since I was going to have to get in close due to some obstacles in the yard.  I started to size up compositions and wasn't all that impressed due to an out building to the rear of the car.  It wasn't horrible, but it made the pictures look like a basic snapshot, and I wasn't looking for that type of photograph.  I started to get in closer to the details and found that there were some wonderful lines in this car.  That was what I zeroed in on for the pictures.

Yesterday's Chevrolet
Of course, I started out with the emblems as those are some of my favorite things to photograph on these older cars.  There wasn't quite as much flare to the '70's though, and I was left really wanting more out of the emblems.  I guess I have been spoiled by the '40's and 50's emblems recently.  At any rate, I was able to get in close and capture some compositions that made sense and caught the soul of the car.  Of course, the vintage "Heartbeat" tag on the front captured my eye, and the fact that the script matched the color of the car was an added bonus.  It proved a nice balance to the image.

Brake for Rust
Just because the car was in generally good condition doesn't mean that it was devoid of rust.  There was some decent body rot on the car that captured my attention.  Fortunately, there was a good deal of it near the rear name plate and tail light.  Of course, this captured my attention and I went to work figuring out a composition that included these elements as they all work together to tell a story.  From a rust hunter's standpoint, this composition was the money shot for this old car.

One of the features of these old Novas that I really like was one that was shared with the late '60's Chevelles.  That is the continuation of the grill to the edge of the fender.  The fins are an iconic part of this design and were captured beautifully from the side.  To make for a complete composition, I was very happy to see that the displacement badge and the marker light were still intact on the fender.  They really helped to break up the sea of red.  Fortunately, I had some nice green tones in the woods just beyond to balance out the very warm tones of the fender.  For a car nut, there are just enough clues here to determine what car you are looking at, but you do have to take it all in before you figure it out.  For those that aren't car nuts, there are lots of angles that add to the excitement of the image to draw you in.  The depth is provided by the limited depth of field causing a blur to the background.

Grill in the Woods
Speaking of that iconic grill, I had to get a composition with the whole front end represented.  Since the sun was starting to give me some mottled lighting on the fender, I used that to help highlight the 350 badge and the headlight.  The woods once again provided a nice color balance to the image and kept the red from being overly prominent.  There is more there than I would have typically liked, but I think overall, the color balance works just fine.

I spent about an hour working the car, and in that hour, I got 37 frames shot.  There are many compositions that I don't have represented here because they were just too mundane and boring.  many included the outbuilding which I didn't think was too bad at the time, but looking at the pictures on the monitor, it was a very big distraction.  It was the close up shots that really made this photo shoot.  I was actually quite surprised to have ended up with six different pictures that I really liked from this car.  Not too bad for an hour's work.

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