Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect

When shooting auto show press days, you run on instinct, nerves, and copious amounts of press room coffee. You constantly test the limits of your camera and creativity. There are some standard shots that are needed, and press conferences are filled with obstacles (wonky lighting, jaw-droppingly bizarre dance numbers, lots and lots of people.)

(Above photo: outtake from Sonata Hybrid reveal at NY Auto Show.)

You need to adapt to the situation, FAST, and get your shots. For me this usually requires running back to a car previously revealed between two other press conferences while everyone else is running to other press conferences. After the press days, I comb local (e.g. Detroit Free Press) and national (e.g. NY Times, AutoBlog) coverage to see what other photographers saw. Often times I will see shots that I admire and wish I shot - I think that should have seen that or thought to shoot it that way. Practice makes perfect, so when I have free time to roam the auto shows for myself - sometimes I'm lucky enough to do that before the show has opened to the public - I slow down and look; let myself see the shots instead of reacting and getting the best I can get in a fleeting situation. I live in NY, so I geared up and went to the New York Auto Show several times to shoot for myself. Here are a few of those shots.

I had seen a really awesome shot of this robotic arm at a Ford display by another photographer (shot at a different show.) For my shot (below), I stood around the display shooting for about thirty minutes, just watching the arm's action and motion, the people, and trying out different angles to include different elements. It's still not the best shot ever, but it's the best of the bunch with the least amount of reflections from my flash, some cool reflections of text, and good (50-point art school word alert) *juxtaposition*. For the shot of the Porsche display, I decided to turn off the flash and let the light from the display bounce off the faces of the people looking.

(Above) Shiny surfaces are all over the place, so rather than trying to avoid the reflections, I try to incorporate them into the composition.

"P" is for "Pony", that's the car I want for me....

The Mercedes display of the SLS AMG with gullwings was mobbed. By the time I got there, I was in that zone where what I'm photographing doesn't matter as much as the shapes that I'm seeing. I can't decide which of the two shots I like better:


...and then after walking through the crowds and a convention center full of OOOOH SHINY! ...a quiet moment outside.

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