The Outlaw and the Kid

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Number Thirteen
It would appear that for the month of June, I am pretty much centering my efforts on rust more than anything else.  I probably should be in the mountains getting the Spring blooms, but I'm not really one to follow the crowds when it comes to photography.  First, I hate the crowds and feeling like I need to stand in line to get the shot.  Second, my feeds on social media are already blowing up with spring shots from all of the typical places in the mountains.  If you want to see spring in the mountains, you have a ton of options out there.  Frankly, I am wanting to stand out from the rest right now and do some different photography, a little closer to home.  A couple of weeks ago, I came across a pair of Edsels, and a few old Fords which kept me occupied for a while, and blew up my computer to boot.  I do really love photographing cars from decades gone by, so when it came time to figure out where I was going to go today, the decision came pretty simple.  I was going to Outlawed Restorations to see what new toys Dean had hanging around on the property.

Since Sierra was out of school and not doing much else, I decided to drag her along with me.  Waking her up was harder than any of the pictures that I captured.  Yeah, she is less of a morning person than I am, and 6am was just too early for her to be bothered with, but she got up and grunted that she was ready to go with me.  I'm fortunate that this shop is only about thirty minutes away from the house.  That means it is pretty easy to judge the weather and get there quick.  I had already spoke with Dean and said that I might be by and he welcomed me whenever I needed to get there, so I had no problem getting there before he showed up to the shop.

Ole Stitch
What prompted me to pick Outlawed Restorations for this trip was I had been seeing pictures of Dean's personal truck floating around on social media for a while.  This truck wasn't around the last time that I was out his way, and it got me thinking about how cool it would be to be able to capture it with the camera.  Sure enough, when I got there, Stitch was sitting out in the yard bathed in the morning sun.  What is so unique about this truck is how it was stretched.  You can easily see the patch panels welded in at the fenders, and can see where the roof was chopped.  What he did so differently here was actually welded in stitches just like a surgeon would have done.  Well, they might have used a slightly different material, but the idea is the same.  Along with that, there is a barbed wire grill guard up front, and the whole truck is slammed on the ground with a dually axle in the back.  This truck is seriously cool, and I tried to capture the essence of the truck with my camera.  

I really liked the overall shot which was done with my 24-70mm lens fitted with my Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer (the combo that stayed with me the entire day actually).  It did a great job at capturing the exaggerated size of the truck, but I was still missing the essence of the vehicle.  For that capture, I decided to go in tight and look for some details.  What I ended up centering on was the area where the hood, fender, and cowl came together on the passenger side.  There was some great patina there, and it showed off the stitch work on the fender.  The emblem, body lines, and vents all came together for a nice cohesive abstract capture of this truck.  This is the shot that i think captures the soul of Ole Stitch, and is a tribute to the man who built her.  There is just so much that goes into building these rat rods.  It may look like they are taking the easy way out, but the designing of these vehicles and the fabrication needed is astonishing.

Pumped Up
Of course, there were still quite a few of the same vehicles that I had photographed the previous time which I was still drawn to.  The nice thing was the last time I was out here it was raining pretty steady.  This time, I was actually wishing for a few more clouds for some diffusing quality, but I had good quality light from the sun at least.  I was able to get a little more dramatic lighting on these vehicles this time which made it worth my while to shoot some of the same compositions that I had done before.  This old firetruck got my attention once again as it was almost in a spotlight from the sun.  There was just so much of interest with this old truck.  I worked several different compositions, and even tried my 16-35mm lens which didn't work quite as well as I had hoped it would.

I was very happy that the trees were very green to the rear which was not the case the last time I was here.  With the sun on the truck, I was able to really knock down the exposure for the background and let the sun do all of the work for highlighting my subject.  This old truck is slated for a project very soon, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

While I was having fun with some old friends, I decided that I had better spread the love with some different cars.  There was a nice treat under the shelter of the barn which I had seen the last time.  This Caddi Limo had been under a car cover by the main shop the last time I was here, but this time, it was out in the world for me to see.  As an added bonus, when Dean got there, he offered to move it anywhere I wanted it to go.  While that was a great offer, I really didn't see a location that would work as well as where it was sitting.  I really like to photograph things where I find them.  In this case, the sun was finally up high enough to light the car up and give some nice shadows from the structure that it was in.  While you don't get to see the limo body lines, or the Presidential Seal on the door, I am really happy with how this one turned out.

This is a really awesome car.  As you can see it is on an air bag suspension which slams it to the ground.  The engine is a Cummins Diesel...I mean rat rods are supposed to be diesels right??  The running gear has all been reworked, and the car even has air conditioning!  The coolest part, it has a straight pipe out the side of the passenger fender!

Swooping In
Of course with the hood in the sunlight, I was almost obligated to shoot some of the hood decorations.  The flying lady atop a Caddi hood is so much fun to work with, and with the crest and "V" in place, I chose to create this dynamic composition linking the two together in the sea of rust.  The patina of this car is pretty remarkable.  Dean doesn't believe in clear coating the cars, and just prefers to keep them sheltered from the elements so as not to destroy the existing patina.

Hair Raising
One of the things that I found really cool about this hood ornament was that it needed a hair cut.  Yep, you can see a tuft of hair on the head of this flying lady.  There are also some spider webs in the full res version, but I didn't see any spiders on this ornament.  Even the chrome on this car had a tremendous patina that impressed me to no end.  I shot a few more compositions with this Caddi before deciding that I was done with it.

There were a few trucks behind the barn that I had shot before with great success.  Sierra and I went back there and started to play with these trucks.  The lighting wasn't all that great since it was totally in the shadows at this point.  There was no real color back there, and things just looked a little flat.  Truth is, I had better luck with these on my last visit.  While I shot a number of images back here, none really panned out for me.  

Super Power
With the sun climbing in the sky, I was able to get in closer to the firetruck to get a few isolations of the front end.  There were a few things that I found really interesting with this truck.  The amount of lights that it had was one of the first things that captured my attention.  Of course, the manufacturer "White", was very appropriate to capture since the fire truck was white.  Hey, did they really do that on fire trucks?  The red lights were repeated down on the lower emblem where it read Super Power, and you could just see a hint of rust between the hood and fenders.  The grill was also looking quite proud after all of these years.  While Sierra didn't really like this shot, I like the implied power that you can see in the composition.  I think that it suits the truck quite well.

Stretched and Stacked
Speaking of fire trucks, Dean has an awesome rat rod fire truck on the other side of the property which flies the colors of the Outlaw Fire Department.  I'm not sure I would trust them to put a fire out, but I'm sure they would get there in a hurry in this thing.  The last time I photographed this truck it won my top honors as my favorite image from the day.  I'm thinking that it will keep those honors with this trip.  I've shot several more of it since I know I love the way it looks.  I really like each and ever one of them for different reasons, but I feel it safe to say that Engine 00 is still my favorite in the collection.

Crooked Grin
You know, sometimes it pays to return to subjects that you have shot before as we are finding out here today.  One of the cars that I didn't have a lot of hope for the last time turned into three different images that I really liked.  That was the Olds 88 which was set between a couple of barns along with a couple of other cars.  The lighting was completely different today with the sun shining on the car, and there being no left over rain dripping down the sides.  It looked like a completely different car under this light, so I had to give it another shot...or several.  The bent hood was still one of the best character features of this old car, and it really makes it stand out from the crowd.  I actually worked several different compositions with this car before moving on to different things.

Rat in the Yard
Moving on to different things was what I needed to do though.  The sun was climbing higher and higher in the sky.  I needed more clouds, and was really wishing that the 40-70% cloud cover that was forecasted would arrive, but I had pretty much given up on that possibility.  The lighting on the property was pretty even at this point, and it allowed me to move out into the yard a bit.  There was a shell of a rat rod further out which I had seen but not photographed the last time.  There was no engine, and it was pretty much a bit of yard decoration, but in this light it worked with the scene that I had in my head.

The design of this picture left Sierra scratching her head.  Here I was cranking the camera almost as far up as it would go.  It was well outside of my ability to see through the viewfinder.  I had to do everything through the live view with my hand cupping over it to shield it from the light so I could see it.  She made a comment about how I was doing this like I had to shoot a fallen tree several months ago.  Well, you do what you have to do for the shot.  My plan was to create separation between the car in the foreground and the firetruck in the background.  I needed them positioned like this so that the eyes were forced to follow the rat rod, into the firetruck, and then around to the cars next to the woodline before ending up at the barn.  Without that line in place, the shot would look jumbled, and wouldn't work in my opinion.  So, there I was on my tip toes shooting this scene from about seven feet up.

Patina Bling
After I finished with that side of the yard, we made our way back to the shop again.  There were a few trucks that I wanted to try my hand at, and the light was now hitting that side of the building.  One of them was a Chevy truck that had the front end like an old bus I had shot a few months back.  I knew that I liked how the lines all worked together with the headlight, so I went right to that composition and found that the patina had a slightly different look to it than the bus, and gave a little more visual interest.  The patina here reminds me of a calico cat with the splotches of color.  it is interesting, and the chrome adds to it I think.

Since we were at the shop, Dean came out to speak with us and offer us some hydration.  He really is a great guy!!  We learned a lot about many of the vehicles on the property, and I got a chance to see one that I had photographed the last time I was here.  It looked a good deal different with the moss removed off the side, and new wheels and tires installed.  The bumper had been pulled off as well.  As we were talking about it, I was looking at all of the shop decorations hanging behind the truck, and a story really started to develop.  I ultimately ended up getting down on the ground and shooting the shop with this old GMC.  The wheel actually makes the shot as a great visual anchor, and it just looks so good on the truck.

No Alarm
After a brief cooling off period in the shop, Sierra and I went back out to see if there was anything else that we could shoot in the exiting light.  I noticed that there were some clouds moving in which was a very welcomed sight.  There were not many, but I noticed that over on the opposite side of the property that they were in organized lines.  Those lines worked well with the direction of the white firetruck.  You guessed it....Sierra said, "are you really going to shoot that truck again?"  Yep, this time I was going to get the sky and a different side of the truck than I had been able to get previously.  After editing it, even she agreed that I had made the right choice in shooting it again.  Hey, when the sky is on your side, you take advantage of it!

OK, the sun was getting a little high in the sky, and the light was getting a bit harsh.  The one thing that I had left to do that I had planned for this trip was to shoot a couple of videos about how to use the filter that I was using at the time.  You see, Singh-Ray has recently approached me about helping out with their web presence.  Part of this will be doing short instructional videos about how to use their filters.  I figured that this was as good a time as any to give that a try.  The light was failing, and I had assistance with me.  We moved back to the shaded side of the barn you see above and I started to set up some pictures of the trucks back there and we shot a quick video.  I thought it went well, but I wasn't really liking the pictures.

Character Lines
We went looking for another option, and I decided that the Olds 88 showed some promise.  It also showed a better application for the polarizer.  It is a subtle difference most of the time with automotive photography, and with these in the sun, it was actually giving a little better visual change for me.  I got things set up and shot a test shot while the light was good.  Then I moved over to the video portion and shot a five minute video about how to use a polarizer for automotive photography.  I felt like a fish out of water, but this one seemed to go a bit better.  The photograph that I shot also turned out better.  In this case, I also shot one without a polarizer attached as a comparison shot.  The differences were subtle at best, but I did like the polarized shot better.

Deezel Powered
Before wrapping it all up, I decided to go back to my favorite rat rod and see if I could do anything with the details on the back.  I had seen the fuel can last time I shot it, but didn't really consider getting a picture of it.  It was just too cool to pass up a second time.  You read it correctly, this thing is Deezel powered.  I guess it is a special mixture, not available at all filling stations.  This thing just captures my imagination from every angle.  I don't think that it has a bad side!

I worked with the back corner for a bit, and then decided that it was getting too close to noon, and the sun was just too high up in the sky to continue any longer.  Plus we were both baking in the sun at this point and we needed to get cooled off and some food in us.

The day was really successful with 117 frames captured, and two videos shot for Singh-Ray.  On the way home I asked Sierra how many pictures she thought I would have from the day.  She started off saying 10, which I though was pretty reasonable.  She quickly changed her answer and said 16.  No way, not going to happen!  I said that I would likely get under 10 images that I felt were keepers, and we made a bet.  Sixteen images later, not only did I lose the bet, she nailed the exact number.  I'm now wondering what she knows that I don't know about my own photography?

Now it is time to switch gears because my next trek will take me to a location that I have not been in several years, and will hopefully add a bunch of new photographs unlike anything that I have shot in those years.  Stay tuned, it might be a little while.

Edit: 06-17-2018

After some thinking about the images that I shot of Ole Stitch, I realized that I was left feeling quite empty about what I had gotten.  I was going through the other images in my mind and thought about a close runner up which I had done away with because it really didn't showcase the body work on the truck, and didn't have the feel that I was wanting with the truck.  I was mowing the yard and thought about doing a grungy monochrome image of the truck with that low and wide shot that I had trashed.

Dean's Monster
When I started to process it, I wasn't really feeling like it was going to turn out all that great because of the color tones and how they related to each other.  I worked with the white balance and even the tint before I got the relationship right between the truck and the background.  Then I spiced it up a little bit with some local adjustments before this final rendering appeared on the screen.  Now this one I am totally believing captures the true essence of this truck that was Frankensteined together by Dean.  I love the second run through the pictures from the day because all too often I will get something that I had completely overlooked before.  I now have a new favorite from the day!

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