Tail finesse

Tail fin of a stunning white Cadillac Coupe de Ville I came across outside the town of Echuca, Australia.

Tail fin of a stunning white Cadillac Coupe de Ville I came across outside the town of Echuca, Australia.
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Behind The Lens

Outside a dusty little pub a few miles from the small town of Echuca in Australia. My friends and I were wrapping up an interesting weekend of old paddlesteamer rides up and down the Murray River and eco tours of the Barmah Wetlands. We stopped for food at this pub and there were two vintage Cadillac Coupe de Villes sitting outside, looking all cool and bossy.
I took that photo on an early June afternoon, around 1pm. The day was sunny but cool (June is winter time in Australia). Echuca is a pretty little river town, but a few miles out, parts of the landscape can turn brown and dusty and lonely. You expect to see tumbleweeds roll by, like in the old westerns.
That Caddy was so well-polished and shiny that it was acting like a mirror! The strong Australian sun made it pretty difficult to get shots without too much glare, but there was enough shade that I could take advantage of, provided by a couple of nearby trees. I also hunched down low to get shots that weren’t as affected by the harsh sunlight.
This was taken with a Canon EOS 500D, using a Tamron 18-200mm, f3.5-6.3 lens. No tripod or flash involved.
It was the gorgeous lines of the car itself, begging to be photographed. I love classic cars. Nothing boring or cheap-looking about vintage beauties. Even a tail fin is a boasting point, a statement.
Definitely. The noon light had a strong blue factor, and I wanted a much warmer tone for my photo, in order to remind me of the hues of the surrounding landscape, and to highlight the retrospective mood of the old car. So I increased the color temperature and then I sharpened and clarified the image to emphasize the car’s sweet lines.
In my camera bag
I hate lugging a lot of weight around, so if I am going on vacation, I just carry my 18-200 zoom lens around as it takes care of a range of shots. But if I am going on a photoshoot, I usually turn to my Canon 50mm f1.2 prime lens first. It does beautiful portraits – sharp lines where needed, and creamy bokeh where needed. I also have a small cleaning kit and my transfer cable to download images whenever required.
A photographer is often constrained by multiple factors when trying to capture an image – weather, light, lens type, crowds, etc. I have found that, as frustrating as these constraints can be at that particular moment, they sometimes force you to find a new point-of-view and this can make a much more interesting shot than you first hoped. I struggled with too much light that day and had people and other cars crowding my subject, but in my effort to overcome those constraints, I managed to compose a few shots that otherwise may not have occurred to me. So don’t get frustrated if circumstances surrounding your subject are not ideal and can’t be improved. Take as many shots as you can, and learn to look for new points-of-view. Practice becomes instinct. When you go through your results later, you might just find a gem or two. And don’t forget that post-processing can often make a good photo even better!

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