Automotive Photography

Nikon School UK at Bicester Heritage

Bicester Heritage

In conjunction with Nikon In-Frame, Nikon School UK, via a ballot I got invited to attend the Bicester Heritage Centre, Buckinghamshire, England, for a day of automotive photography.

The shoot consisted of three different areas with the guys from Nikon School UK, on hand for plenty of advice, first up was a Ford Mustang going through its paces at the hands of Jonny Shears, and somehow the pouring rain added to the atmosphere, with plenty of spray and drifting.

Next was 'The Showroom' a collection of pristine classic Jaguars, not the best lighting condition but the building served the subject well.

Lastly, it was into the workshops, where many classic vehicles were undergoing renovation and repair, and no end of subject matter with textures and shapes everywhere. In the workshops, automotive photographer Amy Shore was on hand to pass on some tips and tricks.

Capture One Pro – Low Key

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Continuing my learning curve with Capture One Pro I am amazed at the amount of control over an image I have available. Now at version 11 of this software from Phase One, the software become better with each release while still maintaining incredible speed on my 5-year-old mac.

A quick capture of some images of Tulips bought from the supermarket. Using only window light from the right-hand side and a plain ‘Mocha Brown’ wall with poor light shadows.

The light hitting the background looked wrong, with window light coming in from the right, the background was set back a couple of feet causing the right-hand side of the background to be much darker than the left-hand side. The Tulip was receiving a good light from the window and lit well on the right-hand side. My other problem was the light itself, a cloudy day, but late afternoon and had a yellow tinge.

The images looked ok(ish) in live view and I knew how I wanted the final images to look and knew I would be doing the post-processing to get what I wanted.

Firstly was to correct the white balance, and also reduce the vibrancy of the colours, The greens and pinks were separately lowered in saturation. An adjustment layer was added with a left to right gradient mask, and the exposure lowered to make the left-hand side darker, the colour saturation was also lowered.

A further adjustment layer was added this time with a short gradient from the bottom, to fade out the stem of the tulip by reducing the exposure.

The overall exposure of the image was taken down a touch and an adjustment to the curve to render the background to near black. Finally, a little clarity was added and a further adjustment layer with some slight highlights increased on the tulip.

The before and after images can be seen below.

 

 

Capture One Pro 10

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Capture One Pro 10 by PhaseOne After many years using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom the Capture One Pro software from PhaseOne caught my eye. I had used programs on both mac and pc for tethered capturing and most programs were at best ‘flakey’ with lost connections, or connections to my Nikon cameras just not happening at all.

I downloaded the trial of Capture One Pro 10 and on first looks, it appeared daunting, confusing and with a steep learning curve that could easily scare users off.  The options and menus in this program are enormous, the file management features different but it does have a look of professionalism that made me persist.

On a test tethered shoot, this program came into its own, fast, reliable connection to my Nikon D7200, total control of my camera from the user interface and a stable usable live view.

I next spent some time setting up the image catalogue, export folders and general where to put my images. This was not the easiest of tasks, but again once done was good to work with. Importing images from cards is quick, I can get rid of any junk during the workflow, leaving me with my ‘clean’ images.

Processing images is again quick with everything you need to process raw files and more. The colour options alone are just huge. You also have the option of layers and selection brushes to work on smaller defined areas with the ability to ckeck back and re-adjust as required. I found a lot of the processing changes delicate and soft allowing the smallest of tweaks to an annoying element of images. You can also copy adjustments and apply to many images which again is a massive time saver.

Exporting images allows you to export both the original RAW file or a processed file ‘Variant’ in various formats, again I found this very easy to use with a great option for saving filenames and image sizes, particularly useful for creating images for social media.  Where I have cropped heaving and wanted a bigger output file, the upscaling also produces decent images.

Capture One Pro - User Interface

There is much more to Capture One Pro 10 to explore including preset styles, black and white conversions and those colour tools to name but a few.

Overall I would not look back to Lightroom, I now find Capture One Pro easier to work with, my images are catalogued and organised and ‘in my view’ my images are that much cleaner. I still use Adobe Photoshop especially for spotting and clone tools and it is quite noticeable the speed and sluggishness of Photoshop compared to Capture One Pro when switching between the two.