We are motor heads and we love cars. The rebirth of the American muscle car means it is a great time to be alive as car guys. Dodge is at the forefront of that revival with the Challenger. We recently had the opportunity to photograph one in Temple, Texas. Temple is medium sized Texas town located on the edge of the hill country. It’s a place that is all about cotton and corn. The rural texture was perfect for this working class hero of a car.
Virtual Rig Automotive Photography
We love using the variety techniques that automotive photography requires. Virtual rig automotive photography is one of the more labor intense, but it solves a very specific problem. How do you get well lit, well composed photos of cars driving in interesting locations?
Once upon a time, the way photographers created advertising photos of cars blasting down open roads or around tracks was to bolt a boom to the car with a camera on the end. The car would then be pushed very slowly during a long exposure. The background would blur and the car would *hopefully* be sharp. The boom was then digitally removed from the photo.
That approach has it’s limitations though. Most of us in the automotive photography industry have moved to virtual rigs. Instead of a literal rig (the boom bolted to the car), we now shoot separate photos of the car and the background and then composite them together with a little wizardry to create the background motion blur.
How it Works
Virtual rig automotive photography is much more flexible than traditional rig photography. It allows us to employ more advanced lighting setups and to work in spaces we might not otherwise be able to. We can create motion blurs that are more complex and interesting than a traditional rig creates. It also allows photographers to put a car from one location into a scene from another.
In this case, the Dodge Challenger was really in this ally. All the elements of this photo were from a single thirty minute span with the camera in one fixed spot. We painted the car with light in a couple of shots to get the look we wanted. To get the blowing leaves, we shot several photos of “blowing” leaves in front of the car (tossed up by our crew), and finally moved the car out and shot the background image.
To get an image like this to come together, it takes several hours of advanced post processing. We think the results are well worth the effort.
Fast While Sitting Still
For much of my childhood, American cars just were not that nice to look at. That has all changed. The Challenger, and it’s brother the Charger, both look spectacular. The Challenger has such a menacing look, like it is just waiting to burst into motion.
The old (and somewhat derelict) buildings of downtown Temple gave a nice backdrop for this sunset photo of the car. We moved on to the grain silos at the rail terminal after the sun set.
Showing the Details
For this shoot, details were not our main focus. Still, there were a couple of small vignettes we couldn’t help but photograph.