Recently I spend a few days at Old Car City in Georgia, and I have to say, I was impressed. I’ve photographed a lot of old car junkyards through the years, but this place has hundreds of cars beautifully nestled in the forest. What really caught my attention was the location. Pine needles, trees and branches literally come out of the hood and other parts of these cars, creating original compositions.
These cars photograph great in available light, and with a little tone-mapping and HDR, you can create some very artistic images. But post production can only do so much, and I wanted to add more contrast than I could in the computer; that meant additional light sources. I shot one day in available light, but then came back other days really focused on using my speedlights with gels. I found this created images I had not seen of this area before, and using colored gels really opened up creative possibilities. Filling old cab interiors with warm light from my speedlight, and contrasting that with peeling paint exteriors was incredible. I couldn’t get enough. Once again the power of a speedlight really transformed my work.
I am so excited about the possibilities of Old Car City I am returning in November to teach a workshop. We are going to photograph these cars using a variety of techniques and show you how to process them at night. And no matter what camera system you use, I will have lights on hand so everyone can learn and practice using lighting to bring these old cars back to life.