Automobiles

The Fiat Parking Assistant Billboard.

After living downtown and watching people try to parallel park their cars for a year, I think this billboard from Fiat needs to be everywhere. Why? Because most people simply can’t parallel park. Beyond that this is a real nice piece of ambient marketing that uses slick in house developed technology to pull it off. Designed by Leo Burnett in Germany, the Parking Billboard uses ultrasonic sensors tied to pre-recorded videos to help guide drivers as they park. Leo Burnett has created a fun, memorable piece to promote their small city cars and extend the brand to non Fiat drivers as well. Nice stuff guys.

The Silver Arrows Project

“The Silver Arrows Project“, is a series of limited edition prints and other materials that recreate the legendary Grand Prix racing cars of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union from the 1930’s.

In the making of video below you can see how this team of talented photographers, designers and illustrators blend original photography with 3D graphics, and Photoshop compositing techniques to get the final results. Each image is filled with impressive detail, and illustrative composition to help complete the story of these racing legends.

The Silver Arrows Project recreates the story of the Silver Arrows using moments from 12 different Grand Prix races. Each is available in several sizes, ranging from postcard-sized all the way to over nine feet wide.

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Art of the Car. Ghosts Amongst Machines.

Today was the eighth annual Art of the Car Concourse at the Kansas City Art Institute. With each new year, the quality of the cars being shown increases, and so do the crowds. Both things are good, since the ticket money goes to a scholarship fund, and everyone gets to see a diverse and interesting group of automobiles. The challenge however for those of us taking photos, is how to get rid of the oblivious passerby that walk through your shot.

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The image above shows both the solution and the problem in action. That ghosted blur is the legs of a man that stood directly in front of my camera as I took the shot. He’s a ghost because the exposure was five seconds long. The photo isn’t ruined, but it isn’t right either. Thankfully by using a heavy neutral density filter, long exposure, and low ISO settings on the OMD, I was able to experiment with a new process and pretty much eliminate the walking masses from some of my shots.

I didn’t want to drop a ton of cash on a piece of gear for a process I’d never tried before, so I picked up an in expensive variable ND filter for 35 bucks at a local camera store. The filter when set to its maximum allowed me to expose for up to five seconds at ISO 200 or lower. Now I wish I had gotten an even heavier ND filter so I could have opened the aperture up and blurred the background out. Because it was 9:30 AM the sun was bright enough that I had to stop down to f16-22 in most of the shots at this exposure length. Lesson for next year.

All the images below were taken on my OMD EM-5 with the Zuiko 12 to 40mm f2.8 lens. ISO was either 200, or Low ISO. Exposure times ranged from 2 to 5 seconds depending on light, and how many people were walking through the shot. Minor post processing was done to the JPEG’s on my iPad in SnapSeed. Raw images will get uploaded later.

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Memorial Day Weekend Road Rules.

It’s the start of the Memorial Day weekend which is statistically one of the busiest driving periods of the year. It is also one of the deadliest, with the Fourth of July toping it out. I just spent 30 minutes on I-35 traveling across the Kansas City metro area, and I can attest that traffic is up. It looks like a large number of people decided to get their travel started early, and with it comes a big old load of stupid.

The chart below was found after doing a Google search for “Left Lane Decision Tree”. It is a simple straight forward way to determine if you should be driving in the left lane. If you don’t like bad language overt your eyes at the bottom and replace the blue phrase with “Please move to the right”. The Bottom line is this, tooling in the left lane is simply wrong. If you think you are safer, you probably aren’t. If the center lanes and right lane make you uncomfortable, maybe you should stay off the freeway and use surface streets.

The highway system was designed with a specific set of rules to make traffic flow safer, faster, and smoother. Being a left lane lolly gagger just goofs it up. Oh and while your at it, put your cell phone down and try doing something equally as rewarding as texting and driving. Have a conversation with the people in the car with you.

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I Want the MINI Paceman Adventure Truck!

If MINI ever builds this I’m all in. As a former MINI owner and a huge fan of the brand, I have to say I’ve been a bit disappointed with the model line as of late. The MINI got larger, the line fractured into so many models, all of which are really working, and things have just seemed a bit flat.

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Leave it to a bunch of interns and their instructors at BMW’s plants in Munich and Dingolfing to come up with something that really kicks some serious MINI butt. The thing is though this is a one-off  and might not ever see the light of day. Based on an All 4 Cooper S Paceman the team removed the back end and replaced it with a truck bed creating a rocking little MINI Truck. (Remember the Chevy Luv?) fitted with heavy duty off road tires a spare on the roof, rally lights, and what looks like a rugged interior, raised ground clearance, and painted up in “Jungle Green” metallic paint, this is a winner to me.

I really hope this goes from an intern project to an actual vehicle. This is the kind of thing MINI needs to bring the excitement back.

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Heads Up for Land Rover’s Discovery Vision Concept.

As automobiles and technology become even more fused together than they already are, engineers, and designers are coming up with some really impressive automotive features. At the upcoming New York Auto Show LandRover will be introducing its new Discovery Vision Concept. Taking advantage of heads-up display technology and augmented reality features, the Discovery Vision Concept allows the driver to see through the hood of the car exposing the terrain and objects that would normally be blocked from view. The video below shows the system in use, and demonstrates one of the better heads-up uses I have seen to date. One thing that I really like in the video is the way the image of the ground simply fades away as the vehicle levels out and it is no longer needed.