Life is Great with a 6.0-liter V8
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  • More Rig Photos!

    Posted on July 16th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    A few weeks ago I tried-out my Automotive Rig for the first time, with awesome results. After sharing the photos I had several other owners who were interested in having a giant metal pole suction cupped to their car!

    Just like the last time, I found myself waking-up at 4am so that I could be out on-location just as the sun started to rise. I didn’t really know of any shooting locations in the area, so just chose some areas that might have things that would look good in the background.

    The first location was a roundabout in the housing development of one of the car owners. I setup the 16′ pole on the suction cups and had the owner drive slowly around in circles while I walked along stabilizing the camera (by holding the camera strap). The results from this setup were nothing short of spectacular!

    Previously I had tried to avoid directly lighting the cars (with the sun), as I feared I wouldn’t be able to get the long exposures that I desired. I quickly realized that with the ND filter and a circular polarizer I was more than capable of getting multi-second shutter speeds, even in direct sun light. Also, just like all other types of photography, proper use of golden hour light made the photos absolutely pop!

    After shooting the first car, the group headed out of the housing complex towards a more industrial area (and to get some coffee/energy drinks). I had scouted (via Google Earth) another shooting location in a Park-and-Ride lot that would work well. Like the other area, there were rows of trees that allowed for lots of motion in the background.

    This location was fully lit by the sun, resulting in some complications when setting-up the rig. I had to take care to keep the shadow from the camera rig (and me while supporting it) from covering parts of the car being shot. After a couple of passes we started thinking outside the box a little…

    The owner of this GTO has spent countless hours painting and polishing every little piece of his car. He also runs his car at the drag strip with the hood removed, so it only seemed fitting to take some photos showing off the engine bay.

    As with last time, I learned more and more as the morning went on about what does and doesn’t work. I think I did a much better job keeping track of the basics (exposure, white balance, etc.) and that really made processing the images easier. I feel confident that I should be able to mount the rig to other cars and get respectable photos… I already have a few ideas for things to tryout on the next shoot!

  • Rig Photos!

    Posted on June 25th, 2011 tcorzett No comments

    Being a motorsports (and automotive) photographer, I have wanted to try my hand at shooting with a “Rig” for a really long time. After several years of putting it off, I broke-down and purchased the needed equipment… and decided to hang several thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment at the end of a 12-16′ pole attached to my car!

    Ok, before you call me crazy… this is not as strange as it sounds. I am not the first person to think of doing this, and after reading hundreds of pages of commentary on the subject, what else did I have to do at 4am? Also, the results are well worth the risk!

    The advantage of using a rig, over a car-to-car or panning shot, is that you can get results that look like the car is going much faster than it actually is… in a space that would never allow for those speeds. For example, all of the shots done here were shot at vehicle speeds less than 1mph in a small drop-off area of a school. The rig allows for very slow shutter speeds (in this case, between 1-2 seconds) with little to no movement of the camera relative to the car. This results in a photo where the body of the car is very sharp photos, yet there is lots of motion in the wheels/background (like with a panning or car-to-car shot).

    The rig is then removed from the frame during post-processing…

    After some experimentation on my G8, I was able to convince another brave owner to let me mount the 16′ pole to his car!

    After the session was over, I told the owner how nervous I was about damaging his car… he couldn’t believe that I’d put such valuable equipment at the end of a pole.

    This was my first experience using a rig, and I learned so much as the morning went on. I learned that the Neutral Density filter that I was using (to block out light, allowing for longer shutter speeds) was causing the photos to have a magenta hue to them. I also realized that I had been sloppy with my exposures (not looking at the histogram like I should have been), resulting in skies that were more overexposed than I would have liked.

    Right now I can hardly wait to get out and shoot some more photos with my rig!

  • NorCal GOATs 2010 Calendar

    Posted on December 22nd, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    The 2010 NorCal GOATs 2010 Calendar is finally finished! It was a long process, but the results are well worth it…














    You too can even order your very own, in two different sizes: ORDER HERE

  • Infineon Raceway Photo Shoot

    Posted on November 20th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    In an attempt to get some additional photographs for the NorCal Goats 2010 Calendar (yeah, it’s November and I’m still working on it) I put together a photo shoot at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. Having shot professional events at the Raceway for several years, I have developed a good report with many of the media relations personnel. They were graciously willing to let me have free-range access to the facility for photography!

    infineon raceway logo

    Given the Raceway’s busy schedule, we were somewhat limited on the days that would work for the shoot… basically weekends were out. After a poll on the boards I scheduled the event for today (a Friday) and it seemed that quite a few people were able to have the afternoon off for the shoot!

    Unfortunately, the weather was not very cooperative. After a week of just beautiful weather, the forecast for Friday was 100% rain. There was a rather large storm moving down from the North… and a single band of intense rain swept across the Bay Area. As one person put it, “Mother Nature stuck her middle finger out at us”. Because of the rain, many of the cars canceled.

    I arrived at the Raceway at 10:30am to check-in and do some scouting of the facility. The rain at this time was incredibly hard… so much so that I even told someone to not bother coming out. I drove around to places I’d never been before, which is always fun. I was able to narrow down some of my ideas into a half-dozen nice shooting locations. I also headed down to the garages and setup my studio lighting in the case that the rain didn’t let-up.


    This was the first time that I used the Vagabond II power system (basically a big battery). While there was power in the garages I wanted to test out the new toy (and I wasn’t tall enough to reach the overhead outlets). I arranged my lighting to take advantage of the sun light that was entering through the windows (which I needed a polarizing filter to control the reflections of). After drying off my car and taking a few photos (just because I could) I was all ready to start shooting… I just needed a car to shoot.

    As the afternoon progressed the rain passed and the sun came out. I was really surprised, I figured the day was going to be a total wash-out. As things started to dry out I even needed to go put my sunglasses on! The post-rain light was just incredible… Infineon Raceway is situated on the East side of a hill, which results in a long shadow that passes over the grounds well before the sun would ‘set’ other places (one of the spots I was planning on shooting was in shadow as early as 2:30pm).

    The first car arrived around 3pm and we quickly started shooting with the light that was remaining. I needed to get some photos from in Victory Circle, as the ground is painted with a great checker-flag pattern. We then headed down outside Turn 7 for some shots with the Raceway in the background.


    Yeah, it’s great to be able to get cars trackside during a hot-session (there was an open test at the track today). We then headed into the studio to get some shots from there.

    Jut as we were finishing-up with the first car, the second car arrived! This was what I was hoping was going to happen over the entire day… one car after another until everyone was shot from all sorts of locations.

    The second car was the one that I had planned for the Victory Circle shot. Something about a caged, tubed, straight rear-axle, leaded fuel (116 octane) running, NOS breathing monster just begs to be shot on a checkered-flag! Unfortunately, the sun was quickly setting… so doing many other outdoor shots was not going to be productive.

    A third car had arrived, so we headed back into the studio to get some a few shots now that the light had all but gone from outside. Let me say, I was really happy with the results from the studio set-up.


    Very moody, but not over the top. The background is slightly busy (doors, girders, etc.), but I think it goes well with the car… and the lighting focuses the viewer’s eye to the car.

    When I finished shooting the studio stuff, one of the owners commented that it was too bad we couldn’t do something on the drag strip. I made a phone call and a few minutes later we were setting-up the studio on the drag strip. The light was really going fast (like I wish I brought a flashlight so I wasn’t going to be tripping over cables/wires). By the time we moved the second car into position the light was GONE. I even had to use the modeling lights on the strobes (which shouldn’t be used with the Vagabond II) just to get enough light to focus the camera. The results were very interesting… and I took the chance to play with some light painting (everything was crap, but it was fun).

    I cleared-off the drag strip and headed home around 7pm (right on time). It was a really long day with all sorts of complications (rain, lack of cars, lack of light, etc.), but in the end I did come away with a few good images that should help fill-out the NCG Calendar. Now, I just need to find a solution to a quarter of the Calendar being Impulse Blue colored cars!

  • NCG Calendar Photo Shoot

    Posted on October 25th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    In a quest to get photos for the NCG Calendar, I organized a photo shoot in the Livermore area on one day’s notice. Most of the locations I have shot myself in the past, so I know there should be some good images… the biggest variable is just how many people are going to show-up.

    Sunday came about and after a great night sleep (spending the whole day drag racing really wore me out) I woke-up and headed out for the photo shoot. We met at the Livermore Harley Davidson dealership, 1) because it’s close to the freeway, and 2) it has several nice cinder block walls that should work well for photography. Three GTOs were present for the first location. After some quick shots (and a few minutes showing-off the G8 to a spectator) we headed out to the next photo location.

    I had spotted this location (a wall with graffiti) yesterday morning on the way to Tracy and figured it would make for a good background for panning shots. After trying to describe what I was after from my cars/drivers a few times, I was able to get some good shots. We were also joined by another G8 and one more GTO.

    I learned a few more things about logistics of photo shoots… like making sure everyone had a working radio. Also, people need to understand that I’m accustom to photographing cars traveling at racetrack speeds… so they don’t need to drive 10mph under the speed limit just for me. Honestly, the faster they go the easier it is for panning (being safe is still a priority).

    The third photo location was quite impromptu. We ended-up stopping at the Summit Garage, which I have since found out to be a historic landmark on the old Lincoln Highway.


    After a brief talk with the owner and Zeus (the guard dog, who is really a total sweetheart) I set about to getting some photos. We did a few two-car shots, which turned out nice… including a few shots with two G8s together. I’m really glad that I noticed the old cars that normally find a home in front of the garage were not present. A very cool location!

    When doing a photo shoot in the Altamont Pass one has to get some shots with windmills. Unfortunately we spent more time than I had planned shooting the other locations and the sun quickly ducked behind a hill. I was able to get shots of one car, and it happened to be the one I thought would look best at the location (and I was right). I guess sometime we will have to re-visit this location for some more photos.

    The last photo location I wanted to shoot was “The Top of the World” (at least that’s what I call it) on Patterson Pass Rd. I knew this location, being at the top of the world, would be one of the last places for the sun to set. I also figured the drive on Patterson Pass Rd. to the photo location would be really fun for all the participants. The shots from here really turned out well. The setting sun was getting a little low, but it made for nice contrasty images with very golden reflections. There was also an area where I could get shots looking down at the cars, which worked great for those with custom paint and stripes on the hood.

    The logistics here worked out quite well. With one person on each side of the bind corner with radios keeping an eye-out for traffic, we were able to have the cars park across the road. When cars approached they were slowed down and waved-by in a controlled fashion. This process really worked well, and should be used for future shoots on public roads (with low traffic volumes).


    Overall, the day was very productive. I believe we have several calendar shots in the bank from today’s activities. The biggest issue now is choosing which of the images to use… and how to use just one image from each car.