Round Rock Car Show

There is a monthly gathering of car enthusiasts in Round Rock and I stopped by one beautiful afternoon back in late October to meander around the parking lot. A hectic schedule late in the year created a backlog on my photo culling and processing. I’m trying to get caught up while I have a bit of vacation time over the holidays. As you can see, I’m doing a lot of black and white work in my automotive photography. This is typically an area where I can see an advantage to color images in a lot of cases. However, I find that monochrome images are my true preference. When I look at other photographers’ work, it is almost always the black and whites that I find myself lingering on.

My eye was again turned to details more so than the vehicles as a whole. Most of my time at the show was spent looking over the cars for interesting shapes, logos, lines, shadows, and shiny things. I attend gatherings like these regularly and I’m always searching for new ways to capture the experience. Here are a few of my favorites and if you like these, you can find more images on my gallery site. All photos were captured with my Fujifilm X100F.

Wheels and Warriors

The Wheels and Warriors car show was held a couple of weeks ago in Cedar Park. This is the second car show I've attended at Gupton Stadium. Both times I've been a little disappointed with the relatively low turnout for the size of venue. There weren't as many classics as I'd like and I didn't find any rat rods this time around. Most of the cars were a little too modern for my tastes. Still, it was a charity event benefitting veterans and first responders so I was happy to attend and show my support, as well as enjoying wandering around the rows of cars.

I didn't snap as many photos as I usually do at car shows. The heat probably had something to do with that. I looked for interesting details and photographed those that caught my eye. It's something I've been kind of working on instead of focusing on capturing full car shots. In the past I'd often taken some a few detail snaps with my iPhone while using one of my Fujifilm cameras to grab wider compositions. This time I only used my Fujifilm X100F. Here are a few favorites. 

Images are Classic Chrome film simulation with further processing in Lightroom CC. More photos from the show can be viewed on my gallery site.

Taylor Main Street Car Show

If you read my blog with any regularity you know I love car shows. Recently the city of Taylor held its annual Main Street Car Show. It was a beautiful Autumn day that had just a bit of a nip in the air from a passing cold front. It can still be very warm in the afternoon in late October and it was refreshing to be able to wander amongst the cars without breaking a sweat. 

I wandered around with a minimal camera setup - a pocketable little point and shoot film camera and my trusty X100F. While I love taking pictures of cars, I'm not fond of lugging around a heavy bag of gear these days. I find I enjoy myself more with my simple X100F over a camera body with an assortment of lens. The point and shoot film camera is just for fun. I like to shoot a roll or two of film from time to time, especially at events like these. I guess being around all the classic cars stirs up those feelings of nostalgia.

Film

Film images were taken with an Olympus XA2 point and shoot camera using Svema  125 color film. The color you get from this film is interesting and different from any other color film I've tried. Being color blind (not completely) that's about all I can say about it. I'm not sure how accurate the rendering is but it seems to have a vintage feel to me, which works well for the subject matter.

Digital

All digital images were taken with my Fujifilm X100F using the in-camera Acros film simulation. These are only lightly adjusted for contrast. I love the X100F for being able to deliver a filmic look pretty much straight out of camera. 

Check out more photos from the show on my gallery site.

British Invasion

I noticed that there was an all-British car show going on in downtown Round Rock, TX a couple weeks back. Always a sucker for a good car show, I headed down with my Fujifilm X100F and newly acquired TCL-X100 II conversion lens. This was as good an excuse as any for this car and motorcycle buff to try out that combination.

Normally I'd opt to shoot at a car show with the X100F's native 35mm-ish FF equivalent lens. A 35mm equivalent focal length is kind of a Goldilocks lens for me when photographing cars. Not too wide, not too constricted - just right. a 50mm equivalent using the conversion makes things a little more difficult to compose but luckily there was plenty of room to move around and back up as needed. If the future, I'll swap the conversion lens off and on but being that this was my first outing with it, I wanted to give it a thorough workout to get a good feel for it.

There were lots of beautifully restored machines out there. While I'm not a particularly huge Anglophile when it comes to cars, I do appreciate a good classic car of any origin. I enjoyed walking around and seeing all the Austin-Healeys, Triumphs, Jaguars and other great British marques. They aren't common sights in these parts. Enjoy a few of my favorite sightings.

Autos

Details

All photos were taken with a Fujifilm X100F with TCL-X100 II conversion lens (~50mm FF equivalent), Acros film simulation. Check out more photos from the show on my gallery site.

DSCF5210.jpg

Top Notch Hot Rod Night

Top Notch, a local burger drive-in, hosts hot rod nights periodically. I stopped by one of the events back in April around the time that the Lone Star Roundup was going on. Due to the collection of photos from the Roundup that I had to sift through, along with other things going on, I'd forgotten about some photos that I snapped at Top Notch.

The cars pack in to the small parking lot at Top Notch, making it difficult to get shots of the full cars. That's OK though and after being there a few times now I've come to appreciate the challenge of finding interesting ways to capture images of the wonderful classic cars that people bring out. This time I chose to travel particularly light and photographed only with my iPhone.

I've really warmed up to iPhone photography for casual outings like this. As usual I was using my favorite camera app, Blackie. I get images that are really close to what I want, which makes post processing a breeze. The biggest challenge is working with the iPhone screen when there is still bright daylight. Getting the angle I want often times means I can't see very well while composing. Given enough light though, the iPhone 6S Plus I have really does a great job. I'm willing to put up with the challenges it presents in some situations, in exchange for not having to lug around a camera bag.

Treaty Oak Rod Run

Treaty Oak Distillery in Dripping Springs, TX held a cool hot rod event for Memorial Day and I took a trip out there with my wife. I finished off a bottle of Treaty Oak bourbon recently and I was happy to have the opportunity to see where it was made and enjoy a few drinks while checking out some classic cars. In spite of a rainy forecast, the weather was kind enough to cooperate and it ended up being a beautiful day. 

I didn't want to spend the whole afternoon snapping pictures of cars. That would be rather rude on a trip out with my wife! Still, I can't resist old cars and so I tried to get the photos out of my system quickly. I had my trusty Fujifilm X-T2 with me and I darted around to briefly check out a few cars that caught my eye before joining my wife for a few cocktails featuring various Treaty Oak liquors. I had a fantastic Old Fashioned or two. 

Here a few favorite rods and details from the event as captured with good ol' Classic Chrome. If you want to see more, check out my gallery site.

Granger Car Show

The nearby small town of Granger, TX is a favorite place of mine to wander around on quiet strolls and casually snap a few photos. If you visit my blog with any regularity, chances are you've seen a few shots from Granger. The normally calm streets were bustling with activity due to a car show and arts & crafts festival going on this weekend. I couldn't resist stopping by to see what classic beauties and ratted out hot rods might be lining the streets.

I travelled light on this outing. This was one of several stops I'd be making with my wife and our little dog Lucy yesterday afternoon. As such, I didn't bother bringing any "real cameras." I didn't want to get too immersed in photography and neglect my family. It was just my iPhone and my favorite app, Blackie. That was plenty enough, as I've been impressed with the quality of images I get with that combination. My only complaint is the same I have with any camera lacking a viewfinder - the screen is very difficult to see in bright sunlight and I was virtually guessing at the composition of a lot of shots. I tried to shoot a little loose and crop later. 

The little details I see in some of the cars at shows like this are as much fun to capture as the vehicles themselves. Maybe more so. It's like an Easter egg hunt searching for little personal touches, exceptional fine details, or interesting reflections. Close-up photography is one area of photography in which the iPhone excels.

Lonestar Round Up - B&W Edition

Yesterday I shared a few color film images that I took at the annual Lonestar Round Up car show. This time I wanted to share a few images in black and white, shot on Kodak Tri-X film with my Nikon FM and a 35mm lens. While the color images were taken with fully auto point and shoot cameras that did all the exposure metering, these were entirely up to me. Sunny 16 rule on a kind of overcast day!

I did have a pocket light meter with me and I did a few initial checks of the light. Before taking a shot I'd guess the exposure and check against the meter. I was right most of the time so I put it away. There is a lot of leeway with Tri-X so there was nothing to fear. I put a yellow filter on my lens to keep the sky pulled in a bit and just casually took my photos while wandering around an awesome collection of cars. As usual I stuck with the classics and rat rods. It isn't an easy decision to use black and white film on the rats. All that rusty texture looks amazing in color. Honestly, it came down to the fact that the FM was already loaded with an almost full roll.

Here are a few favorite sightings.

Film development and scanning by Austin Camera. More images from the Round Up are on my gallery site here.

Lonestar Round Up - Color Edition

Last weekend I got to attend the Lonestar Round Up, my favorite car show of the year around here. I met my friend Mark and his kids out there for a stroll through all the rows of cars while we got caught up with each other.  I wanted to take photos of course but I also wanted to enjoy spending some time with friends without being burdened with a lot of camera gear. This year I grabbed some obligatory snapshots in a different way. 

I had 4 cameras with me at the Round Up. Yeah, I know, I just said I didn't want to lug around a lot of gear. I still kept my word. In my smallest bag I had my Nikon FM with 35mm lens, an Olympus Stylus, and an Olympus XA2. In addition, I had my iPhone so that's 4 cameras - 3 film, one digital. Originally I had the idea of shooting only with the point and shoot film cameras and supplement a bit with the iPhone. I mainly brought the FM along because it was loaded with a roll of Tri-X that I wanted to finish up.

Last week I shared my iPhone shots. Today I'll share some color images from the film cameras. I had a roll of Agfa Vista 200 in the Stylus and a roll of Svema 125 in the XA2. The Agfa has been my go-to film for casual snapshots and I'd been wanting to try the Svema for a while. The Svema has an interesting color palette that is very muted, with good contrast. It had more grain than I expected for a film of that speed but it was fine for the subject matter. I ended up liking the Agfa shots a little bit better, which is nice because it is a very inexpensive film.

Agfa Vista 200

Svema 125

More shots from the Round Up are on my gallery site here. Film processing and scanning by Austin Camera.

Taylor Main Street Car Show

The Main Street Car Show was held last weekend in downtown Taylor, TX. The small town of Taylor has some great old buildings in their downtown area, making it a perfect scenic spot to show off classic cars. I traveled light once again, taking only a single roll of AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 color negative film for my Olympus OM4 Ti. I can easily get snap happy at events like this so I find it refreshing to limit my picture taking to make time for enjoying the event. Here are some favorites from the roll.

Truth be told, I did wish I'd brought a second roll of film. I have never been to this annual show and it was a bigger event than I'd anticipated. I had to be really selective about my shots, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. One more roll would have been just right I think. To satisfy my urge to document more of the eye candy, I allowed myself to take a few detail shots with my iPhone. I used the Blackie app to take these shots. The first one is a rare self portrait. Or is it the last one? Hard to tell.

Hot Rods at Horny Toad

The Georgetown Area Car Club held a car show at Horny Toad Harley-Davidson in Temple, TX last weekend. It was a nice day so I rode my Harley up to check things out. It was a small show but there were some neat cars there. I always gravitate more toward the classics and rat rods myself. There were a few more modern muscle cars that caught my eye though. Here are some of my favorites. 

I took all these shots with an Olympus XA, a recent acquisition to accompany me on trips like this where I'd like to snap a few photos but I'm mainly out to enjoy the ride and don't want to be burdened with a camera bag. The little XA slips into a pocket in my motorcycle jacket just fine. I shot a roll of expired Fujifilm Superia 400 that Austin Camera was practically giving away. They developed the film and scanned the negatives for me. The nostalgic look of the film is appropriate for the classic cars I think.

 

Hutto JROTC Car Show

The Hutto High School AF JROTC hosted a fund raising car show recently and I stopped by to take in the sights with a couple of cameras. There was a good mix of cars from classics to modern muscle cars. I gravitate toward the classics and rat rods and I snapped a few shots of my favorites. The event was a great opportunity to try a little experiment. I've been auditioning an Olympus XA2 35mm film camera as a "carry everywhere" camera for times when I'm out doing things and serious photography isn't the priority.  The other camera was my new Fujifilm X-T2. The XA2 was loaded with Cinestill 50 color negative daylight film and the X-T2 was set to the Classic Chrome film simulation.

Cloudy skies skies at the time of my arrival soon gave way to bright sunlight. That was a good contrast for my experimentation. I got to see how both the film and digital mediums performed in flattish light and harsh extremes of light and shadow. It would have perhaps been a better comparison had I used a comparable 35mm focal length equivalent lens on the X-T2 but I neglected to add one to my bag. The X-T2's shots were taken with a 24mm equivalent lens. I often like to play with the distorted perspective so no great big deal to me. The exaggerated perspective do make the digital shots a bit obvious. For the record, the left images below are film and the right are digital.

All images were mildly adjusted with a contrast curve in Lightroom. It is amazing to me how much dynamic range there is in the film images. To be fair, I wasn't shooting in raw on the X-T2 so there is certainly more potential dynamic range. The purpose of my experiment though was to compare the two mediums in the use case of casual photography where I don't want to have to do a lot of post processing work. I did set the X-T2 to its DR200 dynamic range extension, which preserves a bit more detail in highlights. 

Which camera did I prefer? Honestly, the XA2 was more fun to shoot. The exposure is almost entirely automatic - all I had to do was set the ASA setting to the film speed. Focusing is by a 3 position switch and eyeballing the distance to set the proper range. I could just walk around and enjoy the cars, casually snapping without much thought. With the X-T2 on the other hand, I tended to be more attentive to exposure to keep highlights from blowing out. The instant gratification of the LCD screen is an ever present temptation. I try not to "chimp" my shots but I often take a look at the histogram of captured files in difficult lighting. All in all, I felt more in the moment with the film camera. There are pros and cons to both mediums. It's neat to work with film - no it is certainly not dead - and get nice results with a very compact and inexpensive bit of gear. I think I paid all of $40 for the XA2. The X-T2 was considerably more.

Hot Rods at Top Notch

Top Notch Hamburgers in Austin hosted a vintage hot rod show last Saturday and I stopped by to check out the rides and, of course, snap a few photos. While I'm more into motorcycles than cars, I appreciate vintage vehicles of all varieties. There was a nice turnout at this burger drive-in. There wasn't a lot of light left in the day by the time I got there so I quickly made the rounds, pausing briefly to capture the cars and details that caught my eye. Here are a few favorites.

Full image gallery from the event is here.

Fujifilm X-T1, XF 23mm f/1.4, Classic Chrome