I bet you can guess why it’s been so quiet at the Sunshine Scrapbook for the past few days 🙂 I’ve been practising daily with my beautiful new camera and analysing the shots to learn from them and generally just practising what I preach! Then this past weekend there was a Classic Cars Show in Johannesburg, which proved to be a great day trip with friends and my first public, lengthy use of the beastie.
Here are a few of the pics, along with my thoughts. Just for the record, I barely know my Vauxhall from my Volvo… so please bear with any automotive slurs I might make 😉
There was a large crowd attending the show, which meant that most of my shots were inevitably photobombed by random strangers. In order to have some ‘clean’ shots, I took quite a few close-ups of details on the cars.
There were modern muscle cars, such as this super hot GT…
…and old classics such as this enormous Grande Parisienne:
The Classic Cars Show was held at the well-known Nasrec showgrounds in the south of Joburg, a venue that provides both indoor and outdoor exhibits for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
The changing lighting conditions meant I had to keep an eye on my ISO settings as I moved about from shade to sunshine. It was good practice, and thankfully my D7100 has a comfortable viewfinder that displays all the exposure info clearly.
The friends with whom I attended the show helped point out which aspects of which cars I should try to capture – such as the iconic badge and spoke wheels of the Corvette above.
Almost the only car I recognised for sure: I can say with confidence that the engine above is from a Cobra
My eyes are naturally drawn to little details (it must be the editor in me), so I tried to capture items of interest besides the cars themselves. Here I focused on the classic furry dice dangling from the mirror:
One lesson I learnt from the beastie during this photoshoot was that even though my lovely Nikon AF-S 50mm prime can open up all the way to f/1.8, it’s not ideal or desirable to shoot that wide open all the time.
For example, in the pic below it would have been better if I’d increased the depth of field to include the many interesting trophies stacked in this car’s boot (trunk), rather than just focusing on the badge. I blame it on my excitement at finally having a lens that creates that bokeh effect… but when I get over that I think I’ll take better pics!
Another lesson I learnt was that the experts were right: a polarising filter would’ve been king for this sort of photography. Polarisers are used to cut glare and reflections, which would’ve been a boon considering all the cars were polished to a high sheen.
The show included a few motorcycles too. I would’ve liked to have seen a few more bikes, and a wider variety of them, but since this show grows in popularity each year I’m sure that will improve in time.
If I thought my camera was a beast, check out this mean machine! That’s one fat tyre!
Speaking of the beastie, I was amazed to discover that the weight of the camera and lens barely registered in my mind. I held the camera most of the day and my comfy Lowepro backpack carried the rest of the kit. The adventure of taking photos soon overtook any concern I’d had about the D7100 being particularly heavy.
The chrome Boulevard above was one thing, but I was taken aback to see the following bike there!
I didn’t notice this at the time of the show, but when I reviewed the photographs on my PC later I realised that I’d framed many of my shots quite poorly. While I deliberately cropped in close to pick out badges and other details, I struggled to get properly framed pics of whole cars.
In most cases it was because there were too many people crawling all over the vehicles, and of course the most popular cars had the most admirers hanging around. So I ended up with dozens of weird compositions such as this:
Looking back, the only ways around this would probably have been to get there much earlier to beat the hordes, or to stand by one vehicle until the masses had moved on, or to include random strangers in my pics. Which would you have preferred?
Another reason the framing was difficult was that on a crop-sensor camera such as the Nikon D7100, a 50mm lens behaves like a 75mm lens. So you constantly find yourself backing up (usually into something or someone!) to try to get the whole vehicle in the frame.
There were many big American-type trucks and cars, which may not seem rare to you but were eye-catching to me. The green beauty above is a 1946 Hudson. Inside it was cutely Elvis themed…
The huuuuuuge American cars left a big impression. But I don’t want to know what this monster costs to fill up!
All in all, it was an unusual and exciting day out. I learnt loads about operating my new DSLR and enjoyed the effort and care people have put into maintaining their classic vehicles.
Thanks for coming along for the ride! 🙂