Boot Camp 2, Assignment 4: Results

Greetings from the final assignment of Boot Camp 2, in which you were asked to examine a transportation theme in the assignment, "What Moves You."

Some really nice stuff came in on this one, and I left notes on about two dozen pictures among the entries. Now comes the hard part -- getting them down to the finalists -- and one winner.

But First, a Brief Commercial Message

No, not one of those pre-roll video things Vanity Fair forces you to sit through before you watch an Annie BTS. No, this commercial was shot by our own Ken Brown, for the Blackhawk (Car) Museum near San Francisco. Ken's the guy that did that amazing gull wing pic a ways back:

Pretty neat concept -- and shot on a 5D Mk II.

And Now, the Finalists

Add an extra "n" to lighting and things start to get even more interesting. Reader Carl Williams not only had the nerve to risk getting fried, but knew when to say when on the lighting.

Dark car, dark sky -- it's a low key pic, left that way. I might have popped a little light on the ground behind the car (a ways back) to separate the tires and sides a little.

But when the weather gets like this, I am probably at home hiding in the basement anyway. So what do I know.

This one, by M. W. Scott, is just delicious. It's an antique Polish scooter, with both paint and lighting to die for. Really nice composition, and the light details the bike's shape and texture beautifully.

One SB-80, through a shower curtain, proving that a modicum of creativity will let you do a lot with a little.

Saw a few of these, and BookGuy's was my favorite. It's understated, he let the car lights handle the road, nice sharp face -- a lot going on in a graphically arresting photo.

There are actually two light sources hitting the face. Two Sto-Fen'd SB-600's -- one on the far left dash and another in the passenger's seat. And those dual light sources give it a nice, 3-D shape.

Alex Pounds left significant areas of this photo unlit -- which to me makes the photo from a lighting perspective. Little snoot above the hands to augment the ambient window light coming from camera right, and even a flash under the sheets to paint a little detail from there.

I might have kissed a little more up into the face, but that could also have killed the draw of her overall body attitude, too. Wouldn't know till I saw it.

But in the end, this photo was not about lighting technique. It let the interpretation of the theme shine instead. Very nice, Alex.

(As an aside, you sure as heck won't catch me necked under a sheet with a Yongnuo YN460. After seeing this video, I would not put my nuggies anywhere near one of those demon-possessed things.)

This one is subtle, and I like it.

R.J. Bledsoe used a ground-mounted Vivitar 285 behind the biker to ape a little low, late light. This was essentially a dynamic landscape, but it fit the theme in its own way and stove out in the bunch.

I like that R. J. left the tones low and did not let the light call attention to itself. It is so easy to keep going and make the photo about the light, but adding more lighting pizzazz is not always the path to a better photo.

A little less subtle is this surfer photo by Haristobald, whom you may remember from this very cool swimming pool video.

The flash is actually on the board, in several layers of plastic bags. It made for a beautiful image when that light mixed with the sunset and waves. Please take a moment to check out his set from the shoot, in which he includes a setup shot.

Even less subtle is this shot by Darren Chang, who details cars in Malaysia. He shot two photos -- one with the hood down and one hood up -- and erased the former to the latter using layers in Photoshop.

I tried the same thing with my Scion XA and it's power source, but the two chipmunks under the hood did not photograph so well. (They are pretty dark and greased up by now.)

Seriously, how much money could you make shooting cars for hot rodders and tuners this way?

My 8-year-old described it in one word: Want.

And the Winner Is . . .

I loved every single one of these finalists -- beautiful photos, all. But only one walks home with the starving student light kit, a Speedlight Prokit 6 Reflector kit, the Strobist Gel/LumiQuest FXtra combo kit, a set of Strobist DVDs, the Trade Secret cards.

There was one photo that I kept going back to: This one.


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