Cadillac

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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I Want My Flying Car.

Something the future promised me I would have by the time I was an adult was a flying car. Back in the day we were all told that by 2010 people would have flying cars, and if you believed the Jetson’s cartoon, it would fold up into a briefcase that you could cary with you. I really want a flying car. Unfortunately I probably won’t get one for a while. It’s probably a good thing, since people seem more and more distracted behind the wheel of their cars today. I can’t imagine what would happen if people were texting and flying.

I can’t have a flying car, but I can dream, and thanks to the work of Renaud Marion I can have a flying car based on a timeless classic like a 196o Chevy El Camino, or a late 1950’s Jaguar. I love how this series of images resurrects timeless classic automobiles, and renders them in a way that the future promised.

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Four American Cars I’d Buy Today, if They Were Available as a 2 Door Coupe.

In the world of American cars, I’ve never understood why so many models are only offered as a sedan, and not as a coupe. I have nothing against four door cars, I simply prefer the look and slightly smaller size of the two door model. Part of this probably stems from the fact that when I was growing up, four doors cars were driven by my “uncool” parents, or my grandparents. Perhaps that stigma has held with me in some subconscious form. Then again, it might just be my design aesthetic coming in to play.

20121223-121740.jpgThere are four American cars I would have purchased if they had been available as a coupe. Two of them are available in Europe as two door coupes already. The Ford Focus hatchback, and the new Dodge Dart, which Alfa Romeo sells as the Giulietta in both a two door coupe, and as a hot two door hatchback. The other two vehicles I would have jumped on if they were available as two door models are the Chevy Volt, and the Chrysler 200.

20121223-121533.jpgAll four of these cars look good as four door models, with improved styling that can compete with European, and Japanese cars. This applies to both interior and exterior styling. Having driven each one of these models, I’d also say that build quality, amenities, and materials rival their foreign counterparts as well. After decades of poorly design, poorly styled and subpar materials, the American car companies (especially Ford and Chrysler. Chevy your design department needs to step up) are making a comeback.

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A fifth car that I would consider is the new Lincoln Mk Z, although I hate the grill styling. The folks at Lincoln should have stuck with the 1960’s grill style they were using about ten years ago. It looked better, and it stood out from the crowd. None the less, this is another Ford product that would look stunning with the lines of a two door coupe, instead of a four door sedan.

20121223-122308.jpgAll of these models need to look at Cadillac and what they did with XTS sedan and the CTS coupe. This is a great example of the same basic model available in two styles, and yes I’d buy a CTS coupe. I think it looks as good as any European, or Japanese luxury car on the market today.

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