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Messages - V8Beast

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EOS Bodies / Re: Will Canon Answer the D4s? [CR2]
« on: January 11, 2014, 09:35:56 PM »
Surely that picture has been filled, either by flash or some reflector ?

I don't see how it can be an example of DR

I wouldn't call it an example of DR. It's an example of how, with the right tools, you can still pull off an insanely contrasty shot with just 12 stops of DR. I don't find it limiting at all. I understand landscape shooters don't have the same luxuries, so the landscape folks can just disregard my commentary as irrelevant :) BTW, I love your architectural shots!

Anyhow, it's been interesting reading some of the commentary regarding the image I posted, speculation regarding which techniques were used, and suggestions on what techniques should have been used. The real story is that the image is a bit deceiving in that the car is parked on top of a five-story tall parking structure/car park. In other words, the car is 50 feet off the ground, which makes the sun appear much lower in the sky than it really is, which is another way of saying it was a $hit ton of ambient light when the shot was taken.

How bright? I used a 5-stop ND grad filter to darken the sky. There's also a circular polarizer on the lens eating up another 1 stop of light. The ambient light is underexposed an additional two stops for several reasons. First off, when balancing ambient light with flash with cars, it never quite looks right with a neutral exposure. I find that I have to underexpose the ambient by at least 1 stop to achieve a pleasing balance of ambient light vs. flash output. Secondly, I reduced the ambient by 1 stop further to create a more moody, high-contrast feel and to gain additional detail in the clouds. In total, the foreground is underexposed by two stops, which is very noticeable on the door and quarter-panel of the car, where there was no fill flash present. The same goes for the concrete, which as we all know is actually white, not gray.

In total, between the ND grad filters, polarizer, and the intentionally dark exposure, the sky has been darkened a total of 8 stops. Experimenting with darker exposures netted a big loss in could detail with minimal gain in detail around the sun. It's one bright mofo :)

The car itself is a very dark metallic gray that looks black. With black cars, you would not believe how much power it takes to defeat the ambient light of the sun during the middle of the day using monolights. They're like blackholes. Obviously, underexposing the ambient by 2 stops only compounds matters, as does shooting at f/8 to achieve the desired level of sharpness from my 70-300L. With two White Lightning 2400 monolights, which are actually 1000ws, I still had to crank up the ISO to 400 to achieve the desired flash output. The big lights also spill onto the foreground, so I took a few exposures with the lights turned off, and layered one of them into the shadow area.       

I'm sure that in the next 1-2 generation of DLSR bodies, we'll have sensors that can pull out five-stops worth of shadow detail. However, I firmly maintain that in a shot like this, the final image that results from using that approach won't look nearly as good. IMHO, in this particular shot there's a big difference in quality between pulling up the shadows vs. adding fill light and highlights with some monolights. If you pulled the shadows, the light on hood, bumper, and wheels would be way too flat and lack any semblance of definition. A more contrasty light source like a monolight fixes this problem. Likewise, the metal flakes embedded into modern metallic automotive paint must be side-lit or back-lit, otherwise they will not reflect any light and therefore the paint color will look dull, muted, and subdued.   

I will always welcome more DR, but even when the day comes when it's possible to lift the shadows by 5 stops, I will still take the same approach to shots like this and bust out the monolights. If I have to choose between good light and lifting shadows, I'll go with good light every single time.

On a side note, as anyone that lives in a tropical climate will attest, the clouds can roll in and out very quickly. When the clouds quickly rolled in and provided the opportunity to take this shot, I had to scramble to switch lenses, rig up the ND grads, re-position the monolights, and balance out the ambient exposure and flash output. In that sense, I suppose it would have been nice if my camera had so much DR that I didn't need to waste time attaching the ND grads. Nevertheless, I was able to fire off a few frames before the clouds disappeared as quickly as they appeared.

I'll take all the DR I can get, but in the meantime I'll manage to get by with 12 stops that I've got :)

EOS Bodies / Re: Will Canon Answer the D4s? [CR2]
« on: January 10, 2014, 11:57:07 PM »
I've always loved your cars! Great stuff!

Thanks. I've learned a ton from your technical ramblings, and find it very informative. I haven't posted the "EOS Bodies" forum in quite some time, but I see everyone's still whining about the same thing :)

EOS Bodies / Re: Will Canon Answer the D4s? [CR2]
« on: January 10, 2014, 11:44:17 PM »
I'm quite content with the DR of my 5D3 ;D

Sports / Re: Cars cars cars (and some bikes)
« on: January 10, 2014, 10:57:07 PM »
Sometimes you try something new (for me at least) and it actually works ;D

Sports / Re: Cars cars cars (and some bikes)
« on: January 10, 2014, 10:53:47 PM »
Another Mopar:

Sports / Re: Cars cars cars (and some bikes)
« on: January 10, 2014, 10:45:10 PM »
An Aussie Falcon in America! I wish these things were imported here. They're badass!

A Viper-powered Mopar:

Sports / Re: Cars cars cars (and some bikes)
« on: January 10, 2014, 10:39:51 PM »
It's been a while, but here's some recent stuff :)

Let's kick it off with a C3 Corvette:

And here's it's long-lost, miniature-sized twin, the Opel GT:

Some amazing shots in this thread! Great work all around!

Sports / Re: Your favourite motorsports events
« on: January 09, 2014, 09:41:55 PM »
Well, as a follow-up on the original thread where the greatest drivers were discussed, I have to say that my most sincere thoughts are going to Schumacher, who's in critical condition after a severe head injury while skying in the french alps.  He is in intensive care ina an artificial coma and hypothermia to prevent further brain damage. That is surely one poor way of coming in to 2014...
He may not be the best sportsman, but he surely is part of F1 history. Hope he recovers without sequels.

Very well put. I was stunned to hear the news. I hope Schumi pulls through it. My thoughts are with him and his family at this most unfortunate time. 

Sports / Re: Your favourite motorsports events
« on: January 02, 2014, 09:34:17 PM »
... Hope you like them :D

I like them all ...Especially the 4th one on the left   ;)

I prefer the second one from the left, but you can't go wrong with any of those fine ladies ;D

Sports / Re: F1 Photography Advice
« on: December 20, 2013, 11:24:45 PM »
Having watched Vettel race since 2009, and especially how many pole positions he achieves...and how he is able to snatch a fast qualifying time out of the fire at will with nerves of steel...I dunno it just seems like nobody else is able to do that.  Sure he has the best car, designer and team.  Maybe after the new chassis and powerplants come in, he won't have the best car anymore, and his dominance will be over?  People like you probably hope so, but I am kind of pulling for him I guess.  I kind of see myself in him.  Somebody who has a killer instinct and mind-blowing reaction times, but still likes to think of themselves as a nice guy.

If you don't like Hamilton, you would have hated Montoya. Take all the negative elements you mentioned about Hamilton, multiply them by 10, that should give you a pretty good idea of what Montoya's F1 career was like. He was a man of immense talent that could lay down blistering laps, but his impatience and lack of discipline led to his downfall. He was a huge waste of talent to say the least.

I wish Vettel no ill fortune. He hasn't had to fight through much adversity at this stage in his career, which is why I'm hesitant to put in him the same league as Senna and Schumacher just yet, but he's so young that he has plenty of time shut people like me up :) However, thus far in his career, I'd say he's been the most likable multiple World Champion in recent memory.
IMHO, although Schumacher was one of the best drivers in F1 history, he was also one of the dirtiest drivers in F1 history. That fact will always taint his legacy, which is shame, because the man was brilliant in his prime. The only real blemishes on Vettel's record thus far are his wreck with Webber a few years back in Turkey, and disobeying team orders in Malaysia this season. Anyone who watched Schumacher race knows those are but minor infractions compared to the antics the elder German pulled up during this driving days!


Sports / Re: F1 Photography Advice
« on: December 17, 2013, 12:43:35 AM »
Sorry I’ve missed this thread until now. Sorry also for my long reply. Going back to the OP’s question…..

Incredible images and great advice!

Sports / Re: F1 Photography Advice
« on: December 16, 2013, 07:08:40 PM »
Have to disagree again on Alonso and Hamilton, sorry.  I think this is just Vettel hating, nothing more.  Some people resent his (and his team's) success, I don't. 

Driver debates can go on forever, and IMHO it's just one factor that makes being an F1 fan even more interesting. I have the utmost respect for Vettel. No hating here. He has, however, been the beneficiary of great fortune, and winning championships is a combination of driving talent and circumstances falling your way.

Senna was arguably the greatest ever, far better than Prost, yet Prost had the better equipment and won more championships. Many would make a similar argument that Hakkinen was every bit as good, if not a better talent, than Schumacher. As a fan of the Scuderia, I was pulling for Schumacher back in the day, but it seems like Hakkienen got the better of Schumacher through sheer talent and determination, whereas Schumacher got the better of Hakkinen through superior equipment/reliability or pit strategy. Sure there were seasons during their rivalry where the McLaren was the faster car, but it wasn't the most reliable car.  If Mika hadn't retired at such a young age, I doubt Schumacher would be a 7-time World Champion. Again, it's a combination of talent, equipment, luck, and circumstance that went the way of guys like Prost and Schumacher that at least partially accounts for their success.

While driver talent is supremely important in F1, a great car can make a good driver appear to be a great driver. Can anyone honestly say that Jenson Button was the best driver on the grid during his championship season in 2009? No one in their right mind would have picked him to win the championship at the start of the season. Likewise, let's analyze the 2004 and 2005 seasons for Ferrari. Schumacher won 13 of 18 races in 2004, and finished on the podium in 16 of 18 races. That's probably the most dominant team and driver performance I'll ever seen in F1 in my lifetime. Compare that to 2005, when Schumacher only won 1 race! The Ferrari chassis was so miserably uncompetitive in 2005 that the same driver that won 13 races the year before could barely muster 1 win, and the only reason he won that race is because over half the field parked their cars after the formation lap at Indy!

My point is that the car is every bit as important as the driver in F1, and the greatest driver on earth will never win with a POS car. Vettel could very well have the talent to win in inferior equipment, but he's never had to prove himself in that regard. I'll give him props for eeking out a win with Toro Rosso, but he's had the best car by a wide margin since 2010.

In contrast, Alonso, Hamilton, and Raikkonen are all drivers who have managed to win races in inferior equipment. Perhaps the best example of this in recent years is Alonso, whose Ferrari is so slow that it would barely qualify 6th or 7th, yet he managed to consistently put in on the podium. And if not for idiotic pit strategy in the last race of 2010, Alonso would have won his third championship, which means that he and Vettel would both be three-time World Champions instead of the score being 4-2, in favor of Vettel :)

Vettel is good, very good, but how good we don't yet know because his car has been so freakin' fast. 

Sports / Re: F1 Photography Advice
« on: December 15, 2013, 04:26:28 PM »
If you're not even a Brit, yet you're a fan of Lewis Hamilton, that is very odd...but I don't mean any personal offense toward you!  I don't have enough friends who even follow F1, at least not currently.

I can't say that I'm a fan of Lewis Hamilton, but despite the "baggage" he brings with him, I respect his talent behind the wheel. Vettel is a great driver, but my worthless opinion is that Hamilton and Alonso are just a smidgen better.

Yes, limiting the quantity of fuel you can burn in any form of motorsport is idiotic. Even so, great innovation comes from great technical challenges, so I'm eager to see what new technologies emerge from such an idiotic regulation :)

Sports / Re: F1 Photography Advice
« on: December 14, 2013, 12:25:35 AM »
I'm delighted you're a true and knowledgeable F1 fan. Like you say, next season could be the beginning of a new era. Let's hope the rules changes will allow for closer competition. On the other hand we know Adrian Newey will always come up with something special. I hope the new rules will at least move the scale little bit away from aerodynamic innovation only. Vettel is a tier 1 driver, but not a five times in a row champion. Let's hope for a driver's season next year.

Likewise. I love to indulge in a good F1 discussion whenever I can. I rarely have such a receptive and knowledgeable audience :) Most people just think I'm crazy, and they're probably right ;D

If any of you folks ever make it out to the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin sometime, please drop me a line. I'm serious. I'd love to throw down some beer with you folks and talk some more F1 :) Perhaps we can squeeze in some camera gear discussion, too ;D

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