Thursday, February 04, 2016

Getting to satisfied...

I know I'm not "marketable", in the traditional photographic sense.  No gallery would ever have me.  My work is simply far too varied.

I enjoy working with creative costumers, dancers, and circus performers.  Some of my most pleasing work has been with other creative people.  Yet other subjects call to me.  For instance, if I see a steam locomotive, out comes the camera.  Or when early Spring arrives and I know the birds are nesting, I'll haul out the Big Bird lens and head to a pond, river, or lake.

Recently, one of my favorite subjects has been to photograph old automobiles.  Paris seems to bring them and their drivers out in droves.  Early in January it was la traversee de Paris (hivernal).  This week it's the annual Retromobile show down at la porte de Versailles.

I enjoy visiting the Retromobile venue before the show opens.  It's fun to watch as the back door of a large transport drops open to reveal something tasty inside.  This year was no different and I found myself nearly jumping up and down in anticipation of what might be revealed next.

After running out of trailers to spy on, I went inside to watch as everyone was busy working to set the show up.  Cars littered the display area while waiting to be lined up properly on their stands.

Working in natural light under cloudy skies is wonderful.  Few specular highlights form on a car's bodywork.  The beautiful even light shows the car in all it's glory.  Inside an exposition building the light is nothing but one lamp after another.  Cars reflect dots of lamp "highlights" all over the surface.  I find this can be more than a little annoying, particularly when I find a wonderful automobile and want to show it's shape and color and not be distracted by irregularly placed dots.

The following Ferrari (a 330 GT Spyder? - perhaps someone can set me straight if I'm wrong) is a good example.

I worked the image as best I could in Sony's AWR to JPG conversion program, then I opened it in the Gimp.  The above is as Gimp first saw it.

Working carefully with the heal tool I removed as many highlights as I could.  Sometimes I needed to use the clone tool with a larger brush to cover certain problem areas.  I left the sides of the car as were, for the most part.  I liked the line of lights along the edge of the body as they help accentuate the Ferrari's lovely shape.

The work took perhaps 30 minutes of careful attention.

I like how many of the distractions are removed.  And I particularly like how the Ferrari is now just a beautiful Ferrari.  It's no longer a car sitting in the middle of a show hall.

As a final step I wanted to remove the overly yellow cast.  While there are a number of ways of doing this, the smoothest I found when using the Gimp is to find a nice film emulation in G'Mic.  I could do the corrections by hand (selecting channels and colors, etc), but sometimes the transitions between colors are a little harsh.  Hence my sometimes use of G'Mic film emulations.

Here is the final result.

Happiness ensues.  Out comes the Belgium beer.  Or something like happiness.  I just remembered I wanted to try a light LAB color-space correction, too.  OK.  The Belgium beer will have to wait another 30 minutes...

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