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Red Zed Reflected

By petach  
I took this reflection shot early evening. I likethe positioning of the car for the reflection allowing a wide angle view to the keft. I like the telegraph poles going off to the left. I would have liked more colour in the car (it is bright red) I like the wires going towards the car, but not to everyones taste?. Would flash have improved shot? (I only have a flash on the camera and lens is 10-22mm

Tags: General Transport Bmw z4 e89 sdrive

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


23 Nov 2010 7:46AM
very unique... very good photo and concept

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23 Nov 2010 7:59AM
Quite interesting photo.
paulbroad 10 123 1249 United Kingdom
23 Nov 2010 9:17AM
In general, this is very good indeed. Composition and viewpoint great with a lot of impact. The problem is the car, which I guess was heavily over exposed and you have burnt it in a lot, meaning the nearest headlight has lost contrast and looks muddy.

Yes, a flash would have helped, but not on the camera. You would have needed an external flash on an extension lead pointing directly at the car and giving a bit of balancing illumination, not full blast.

Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
23 Nov 2010 1:07PM
You don't need a flash. You can try setting the camera for a long exposure and use a torch to illuminate the parts of the car you want to. If you have trouble with colour casts, you can either use a filter over the torch, or take two pics at different white balances and combine them later.

As for the wires, well that's personal taste. I would prefer a clean background myself.

petach 8 United Kingdom
23 Nov 2010 1:28PM
cheers guys, comments much appreciated. Puddle has gone now and will have to wait for next one to turn up!
DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
23 Nov 2010 2:01PM
I'm afraid this doesn't really work for me. The low viewpoint and reflection are excellent but there are big exposure problems that have rendered almost the whole image into silhouette, which doesn't seem to be what you intended. For my taste, the background is a bit fussy but you've already mentioned that. Smile

The headlights are just too powerful, so they're completely blown out (reflections in water are about a stop darker than the object and the reflected headlights are still nearly all blown out), whereas the rest of the car is very under-exposed. Dipped beams might actually make that even worse, since they angle the lights downwards and to the car's left, which is closer to your shooting position. Side lights are probably the best option, along with shooting a little earlier in the evening so there's a bit more ambient light.

If you have a tripod, a useful technique would be to merge two exposures, one for the car's body and one for the headlights and silhouetted background. You could either use HDR or just blend the exposures manually as layers in your image editor.

I know little about flash so I can't offer much advice there. I imagine it could help but it would need to be off-camera or you'll get a huge reflection from the number plate that will drown out everything else.
petach 8 United Kingdom
23 Nov 2010 5:26PM
Thanks for the very thorough critique. Just when you think you are doing well....kaboom! I do like the composition and it is a question of taste (as evidenced by first two posts) However, I recognise the lack of technical ability to carry it off. I think I have an eye (one day I will have two!) for a picture, but spoil it by naff ability. Onwards and upwards as they say. Thanks for taking the time to critique, it is very much appreciated
DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
23 Nov 2010 5:46PM
Nah, that's not a 'kaboom!' — it's a 'Hey, look! There's even more cool stuff over here!' Smile You do have a good eye and that's the creative spark that can't be taught; the technical skills will come with time and practice.
davetac Plus
9 43 2 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2010 1:45AM
Headlights technique taught to me by the veritable King of car photography, Taly Noy.
Smallest possible aperture and if needed an ND filter to slow the exposure right down. Longer the better Have assistant inside car but out of sight. (Weight of assistant as a bonus lowers the vehicle's suspension making it look even sexier). Start exposure with lights off. After an appropriate time has elapsed get assistant to turn on lights for a second or so then off again.
Job done. If there is no assistant you can cap the lens while operating the lights yourself.

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