Post Processing: Lamborghini Superleggera | motivelife Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:37:52 -0800 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Post Processing: Matte Black Lamborghini Aventador Final Image | © Johan Lee

Photographing exotic cars is always a unique challenge. They usually maintain very dramatic lines, shapes and surfaces that must be highlighted in the final image. I was recently commisioned to shoot a matte black Lamborghini Aventador for Perillo Collision Center and it was no exception. 

It was shot at their garage with the intention of compositing it into a black background. The car was shot in multiple exposures and lit with a single Alien Bees B800 strobe in a standard reflector and overhead flourescent light. My lighting assistant and also an accomplished automotive photographer, Jeremy Cliff positioned the strobe for each exposure. Afterward I used photoshop to blend all the images together, replaced the background with black, and added in smoke and light flares from seperate images to polish it off.

{loadposition jl_aventador}

Above is a step by step explanation of the post processing process.

* Use your arrow keys on your keyboard or use swipe touch gestures on the image to navigate.


]]> (Johan Lee) Knowledge Wed, 27 Feb 2013 23:29:47 -0800
Camera Tethering: The Mobile Solution - Part 2 of 2 Handheld in Portrait Position | © Steve Demmitt

In part one of this article we covered utilizing an Android tablet with the DSLR Controller app to tether with a DSLR camera. For many photographers having a Manfrotto Magic Arm connected to a 10" tablet protruding off their tripod might prove to be a hinderence rather than a helpful solution. Some may have no use for a tripod and instead prefer handheld shooting. And of course we have the budget minded photographer that would just find the tablet solution too expensive.

Sizing it Down

For this next installment we are subtracting the Android tablet in favor of an Android phone to create a smaller footprint and possibly a smaller dent in your wallet. The basic connection from phone to camera will still remain the same as it was with the tablet. The main difference being where and how we mount the device.

 Samsung Galaxy SII w/ Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2DSLR Controller App on a Samsung Galaxy SII w/ Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2

First step, you will need an Android phone preferably with the latest Android however anything above 4.0 will work. This phone must support a USB host connection. Most newer devices have this capability however it is best to check anyway before purchasing. If you have an older device without this criteria, it is time for an upgrade.

To create a connection with the camera from your phone without a mounting solution, you will need a USB OTG cable that plugs into the phone and a usb cable that connects from that to the camera. Most newer Android phones utilize Mini-USB but you may want to double check your phone anyway.

1 USB OTG Cable

2 9-Inch USB to Mini-USB cable

DSLR Controller

Next you will need the app and you can install it on the Google Play Store here.
Not all Android devices and cameras are compatible. It should be noted that the app is still in Beta so expect bugs as well as occasional crashes. To view a list of compatible devices, click here.

Main Advantages

1 Touch screen user interface provides quick access to all of your camera controls from image capture and video record to ISO adjustment.

2 Pinch to zoom for quickly checking focus and exposure areas upon image review.

3 Larger view external screen complete with live view that can be manipulated into various angles for viewing. Makes low or high angle shots a cinch.

4 Remote capture and image review with live view through a wifi access point (must have two android devices with the DSLR controller app for this feature to work)

P1090143Low Angle Shooting with Ball Head Adjusted | © Steve Demmitt

The Mount

Testing the stability of the mount by shooting the camera handheld, it was quite stable; granted you tighten everything down firmly. It should also be noted that it is possible to mount the device without the mini ball head but you are limited in your viewing options. Below are a list of items used to mount the phone to the camera as well as images displaying the system in detail.

Android Phone Item List

1 i.Trek Super Mount

2 Mini Ball Head

3 Hot Shoe to 1/4"- 20 Tripod Screw Adapter

Connected via USB running the DSLR Controller App

A Few Notes and Tips

1 Shooting handheld with the phone connected via DSLR Controller won't allow you physical use of your camera's shutter button. Everything must be done through the app itself. If and when this is a problem a workaround would be to only run the app to review images.

2 If you are shooting a RAW workflow I recommend shooting RAW + Jpeg/Small to make the image transfer almost instantaneous when reviewing the images on your device. You will need to set DSLR Controller app to only import the jpeg files for review and you can find that in the settings section of the app itself.

3 Pocket Wizard or remote flash trigger users can purchase a rail mount to allow for additional shoe mount accessories. If you want to go with a cheaper method you can opt for Velcro reusable self-gripping cables and wrap it around your camera strap.

Rail Mount Velcro Straps Rail Mount
Velcro Reusable Self-Gripping Cable Ties


]]> (Steve Demmitt) Gear Tue, 26 Feb 2013 21:10:24 -0800
Creating a RIDES Magazine Cover © Andrew Link

Shooting a magazine cover involves many things, sleep not being one of them. Planning the shot, packing the camera/lighting gear, traveling to the location, spending hours on end moving cars around, tweaking lighting and camera angles, and let us not forget the time spent retouching after the shoot is over. Here is an animated gif of one of my recent cover shots for RIDES Magazine which walks you through the 56 layer image build process leading to the final result.

Packed Suv The Ford Explorer packed full of camera and lighting equipment.

My assistant for the day, Mr. William Stern, aka the Beard, helped move all the cars into position while I looked on through the camera at the top of a 16ft tripod. Once the cars were where we needed them we fired off an ambient lit shot tethered to an iPad and sent the image back to the offices in NY for approval. The Art Director in NY quickly mocked up a cover with the image to see if everything fit and looked right. Once we had the thumbs up, we locked off the camera and shot a series of 56 individual photos. Each photo lit a different part of the car and the images were later assembled in photoshop like a puzzle to create the final cover. Below shows the post processing workflow in a step by step process.


314799 10150934941271218 596233330 N Final RIDES Magazine Cover Tearsheet | © Andrew Link

]]> (Andrew Link) Work Sat, 23 Feb 2013 15:34:06 -0800
CLS Shooting Brake: Post Processing Final Image | © Thomas Larsen

Wanted to share an image build from a recent CLS Shooting Brake shoot I just finished. One of my valued clients needed images of this car for an upcoming promotional / marketing campaign, and fast. With bad weather forecast for the coming days I decided to try a shot I've been wanting to do for some time – a tunnel rigshot.

Since we lacked a budget for proper location permits, it was impossible to set up and shoot the car in the tunnel, so the car and backplate were shot seperately, then combined in photoshop.

Below are my initial reference shots for the second image in this set.


Only one light (AlienBees B1600) was used to light the car – the first image in the slideshow below shows 11 different exposures masked together for the desired starting point. This process takes some experimenting with brush sizes, hardness and opacity before you get the hang of it. Once you do though, it's a really nice and time efficient way to create images otherwise only possible with more lights – and assistants – than you could possibly fit in your car.

Once the seperate exposures were combined the car was seperated from it's background and aligned with the tunnel backplate. Notes were made of tripod height, angle and distance between car and camera to make sure the two images would fit together. During the post processing workflow, a lot of time was spent drawing a new shadow under the car, adding spinning wheels, cleaning up the body panels and adjusting highlights, removing snow and unwanted reflections using various brushes, clone tool, patch tool, healing brush and curves adjustments. Global and local contrast and color adjustments were then made to complete the image.

{loadposition tl_cls}

Above is a step by step explanation of the post processing process.

* Use your arrow keys on your keyboard or use swipe touch gestures on the image to navigate.


]]> (Thomas Larsen) Knowledge Fri, 22 Feb 2013 13:45:08 -0800
Camera Tethering: The Mobile Solution - Part 1 of 2 © Steve Demmitt

Let's face it: when it comes to tethering your camera in the field, laptops are the way to go. However even though they are considered a "portable" on the go solution they are not exactly a quick and simple setup. The alotted time for a shoot and the amount of space you have to shoot in can be a photographer's worst enemy. When shooting editorial projects often one is given little of either. So how do we achieve the benefits from tethering to a laptop but also provide flexibility and speed to meet these stringent demands? Enter the DSLR Controller app for Android.

DSLR Controller

Get the app on the Google Play Store here.
Not all Android devices and cameras are compatible. It should be noted that the app is still in Beta so expect bugs as well as occasional crashes. To view a list of compatible devices, click here.


Main Advantages

1 Touch screen user interface provides quick access to all of your camera controls from image capture and video record to ISO adjustment.

2 Pinch to zoom for quickly checking focus and exposure areas upon image review.

3 Larger view external screen complete with live view that can be manipulated into various angles for viewing. Makes low or high angle shots a cinch.

4 Remote capture and image review with live view through a wifi access point (must have two android devices with the DSLR controller app for this feature to work)

The only thing this solution doesn't provide is a post processing workflow that would be available with your typical laptop or computer setup. But I would argue if you are keen on that feature, you will most likely have the time pre-shoot to set that up.

The Tablet Solution

Running DSLR Controller App

To start you will need an Android tablet preferably with the latest Android however anything above 4.0 should suffice. This tablet must support a USB host connection. Most newer devices have this capability however some don't so it is best to check before purchasing. If you have an older device like I do, (HP Touchpad) it may support a USB host connection but be unable to provide built in power to this connection. For this type of configuration there is a solution below.

Android Tablet devices that support a built in powered USB Host

To just create a connection with the camera from your tablet without any mounting, you will need a USB OTG cable that plugs into the tablet and a usb cable that connects from that to the camera.

1 USB OTG Cable

2 USB to Mini-USB cable

Android Tablet devices that support a USB Host but is unpowered ( e.g. HP Touchpad )

Along with the items above you will also need the items below. The USB Y Cable will connect to the USB OTG cable, USB to Mini-USB cable, and the Tekkeon Mobile Power Pack which will allow you to supply power to the USB host.

1 USB Y Cable

2 Tekkeon Mobile Power Pack and ( 4 AA batteries sold seperately)

The Mount

A list of items used to mount the tablet to a tripod as well as various images displaying the system in detail.

P1090155 Edit

1 1/4-20 bolt with washer
Purchase at any local hardware store

2 ProClip Mounting Plate

3 ProClip Extension Plate

4 ProClip Swivel Mount

5 Manfrotto 143A Magic Arm

6 Manfrotto 035RL Super Clamp

Mounted on a tripod


A Few Notes and Tips

1 If you have a padded tripod you can mount the super clamp to the padded area. This particular tripod has carbon fiber legs with no padded area. I did not want to risk damaging the tripod legs so I mounted the super clamp to the center column. Mounting to a padded leg would provide easier center column adjustment.

2 If you are shooting a RAW workflow I recommend shooting RAW + Jpeg/Small to make the image transfer almost instantaneous when reviewing the images on your device. You will need to set DSLR Controller app to only import the jpeg files for review and you can find that in the settings section of the app itself.

In the next installment of this two part article, you will learn how to create an even smaller setup at less than half the price. Stay tuned!


]]> (Steve Demmitt) Gear Wed, 20 Feb 2013 07:51:59 -0800
Hot Cars & Porn Stars - Jayden James © Andrew Link

As Photo Director of RIDES Magazine, when you're working full time as an Automotive Photographer, every day is a good day. Sometimes, though, you get these special kind of calls... and those calls turn a good day into a GREAT day. This is the perfect example.

In this shoot for RIDES Magazine we set out to feature a few hoodies and jackets for our upcoming spring issue. Sitting around a table we brainstormed various ideas on how to shoot them. Turns out a staff member is friends with the gorgeous... "adult film star" Jayden Jaymes and so, the concept was born. She just so happened to be flying in town for an event, so we set a date and made it happen.

Now I know what you want to hear. Jayden James showed up and the studio broke out into an orgy... but c'mon man, we're better than that. Jayden was an absolute pro and a joy to direct. She knows what works for her and it helped us get our images quickly and easily. She's also super down to earth and was awesome to hang around with in the studio. Check out some of the behind the scenes shots below.


The light setup I chose was something I hadn't tried before, two strip boxes on either side behind her for a rim light, a boomed hair light over her head, a boomed background light with a tight grid facing the background sweep, two 54" umbrellas behind the camera over my head which were touching each other and facing straight at her which sort of combined the two 54" umbrellas into one bigger light source, and finally suspended between them was a ringflash.

Andrew Link's lighting setup for Jayden James's shoot

Hope you enjoy the images! And pick up this months RIDES Magazine to see them in print!


*The above lighting diagram was created with Kevin Kurtz's Lighting Setup Tool which can be found here 


]]> (Andrew Link) Work Mon, 18 Feb 2013 18:45:09 -0800
Z3 LS1 Swap: Post Processing Final Image | © Dale Martin

Had a chance to photograph a LS1 Swapped BMW Z3 with my buddy Brandon Lajoie at Vorshalg in Plano Texas.  We originally decided to light the car with strobes.  After the first few test shots we decided to scrap the strobes and break out an LED light from my light bag to light "paint" the car. It turned out pretty well. More info on the light being used after the break.

Light painting involves taking a long exposure in relative darkness anywhere from 10 seconds and up(normally) and using one light source to then "paint" light into your photograph. It can take a few tries to get the overall look you are going for. I suggest experimenting with different lengths of exposures and light intensity. Afterward through post processing it's a matter of combining the different exposures in photoshop.

With 126-LED lights for optimum illumination and diffuser.

Neewer CN-126 LED Video Light for Camera or Digital Video Camcorder

The light above was intended for use with video as it comes with a built in shoe mount to sit a top of your camera however it works great for long exposure photography too. There is a built in dimmer switch to allow for brightness adjustment. The color temperature is rated for 5400k which provides a pure white light although there are additional filters that come with the kit to modify this. Most of all it's affordable and provides a good quality light source. A special thanks to Ste Ho of for introducing this light to me. I bought three of them. =)

{loadposition dm_bmw}

Above is a step by step explanation of the post processing process.

* Use your arrow keys on your keyboard or use swipe touch gestures on the image to navigate.


]]> (Dale Martin) Knowledge Fri, 15 Feb 2013 21:50:45 -0800
Behind the Scenes - Aston Martin Photoshoot


An Aston Martin shoot I did last year.  Shot the car with multiple lights and various modifiers.  I Even did a little light painting.  The rest of the video gives a run down of some of my editing process.  It's a bit chaotic, and I have changed a few things with my editing since this shoot.  If you pay close attention there is a wheel brightening trick that I use in all my editing.  It really makes the wheels pop.  I'll post up more BTS videos later.  Enjoy.

]]> (Dale Martin) Knowledge Fri, 15 Feb 2013 20:03:51 -0800
Post Processing: Fiat 500c / Alfa Romeo Mito - Battle of the Buggies in Dubai Final Image | © Arun M. Nair

Dubai is a beautiful place. There is no doubt about that. From some of the biggest buildings to a rich night life, who could ask for more? But for some reason when it comes to photography, it is not allowed in the entire Middle East without permits and this law is strictly enforced.

So, when it comes to editorial/magazine shoots in Dubai, with little to no money for permits, guerilla photography is the only way to go.  I found this beautiful location at the top floor of Dubai mall's parking garage (near Burj Kalifa). With only a thirty minute window before the security would arrive to kick us out, I managed to shoot just one image.

{loadposition an_fiat}

Above is a step by step explanation of the post processing process. The Alfa Romeo Mito and Fiat 500c were given to us by Chrysler Group for a TopGear long term review segment.

* Use your arrow keys on your keyboard or click the circles below the image to navigate.


]]> (Arun M Nair) Knowledge Wed, 13 Feb 2013 22:11:18 -0800
How it all started - The birth of

{vimeo}7059562{/vimeo}Video Edited by Brian Okamoto

An early teaser video shot in 2008 at the start of motivelife. The site initially was to review cars, offer live event coverage and also show the aspects of what goes into an automotive photography photoshoot. The name has since been revived and the site will now chronicle the life of automotive photographers around the world and the work involved.

]]> (Steve Demmitt) Inspiration Wed, 13 Feb 2013 09:02:53 -0800
Photoshop Timelapse: Ferrari 458

A video timelapse of my post processing process of a Ferrari 458 from FIA GT1 and GT3 during staging in Moscow. The example is a bit blurry but still plenty useful to learn from.

]]> (Roman Lavrov) Work Tue, 12 Feb 2013 01:49:06 -0800
Controlling Reflections: A Tutorial by Jeff Creech

Sphere Vs Circle

One of the most important characteristics for a commercial photographer to possess is a strong understanding of how to control light. We use light to add shape to the objects we are photographing, whether that be people, cars, or products. The quality of the images we produce largely depends on our ability to light that object to show its shape effectively. Take for example - a sphere.

Without proper lighting, a sphere has no dimension. Let's assume that both objects above are spheres. The sphere on the left is illuminated by a light directly in front (similar to a standard camera flash). The lighting is harsh, direct and reveals absolutely nothing about the shape of the object. For all we know, it could just be the top of a cylinder.

The object on the right, however, is clearly a sphere. We can even identify where the light source is in relation to the object (the top left). We can conclude these facts because of the direction and shape of the gradient that runs across the length of the object. As photographers, it is important that we exert masterful control over these gradients.

Controlling Light vs. Controlling Reflections

But what about a situation, where the object we are photographing mostly reflects the light that we are directing towards it? How would you reveal the object's shape in the example above, if it were chrome?

Everything we have ever learned as photographers about lighting an object does not apply when the object is reflective.

This creates an obvious problem because most objects we photograph have a reflective component to them. Cars (especially those with dark paint) are covered in clear coat and are notorious for being highly reflective. Chrome and metals, such as in jewelry, watches, or cosmetics are obviously reflective. Even transparent objects such as martini glasses or beer bottles have a reflective component to them.

To understand how to light these reflective objects effectively, photographers must apply an entirely different set of rules.

Light the Environment, Not the Object

Reflective objects by definition, reflect what is around them. To properly show the shape of a reflective object, we must therefore light the environment - NOT the object. This is the golden rule of photographing reflective objects.

To help illustrate this point, let's test how various light modifiers and lighting setups affect the shape of an object. For this example, I've decided that the object will be a aluminum reflector from my Alien Bee Lights. I chose a reflector because it's aluminum, which has somewhat of a luster finish to it. It's reflective, but not to the same level that a mirror would be. It's also cylindrical, which means I don't have any corners to deal with when lighting the product.

Each photo contains a final image and a setup shot.

Three-Point Lighting

For non-reflective objects, the Three-Point Lighting system is the foundation of any photographer's bag of tricks. It consists of a key light, a fill light, and an edge light. In my example, I've substituted an edge light for a background light. The lights have standard reflectors on them, but are otherwise completely bare with no additional light modification. The result is hard, direct light that does little to show the shape of the object.

Not optimal in any sense of the word. We can do much better.



Diffusion Panel vs Medium Sized Softbox

In the next example, we have a similar light arrangement, but on the left we've added a diffusion panel and on the right, we've substituted the standard reflector for a medium sized Softbox. The left side of the product (the side lit with the diffusion panel) looks decent. We are beginning to see shades of a gradient, but the gradient is hard to control. There are clearly two different shades, but the edge between the two shades is fairly sudden. Regardless of where I pointed the reflector, the gradient would always come out similar. This is because the reflector on the light is not very directional. It's more like a shotgun, as opposed to a rifle.

The right side of the product (the side lit by the Softbox) is even less desirable. The softbox creates very diffuse light, but the light is uniform across the length of the softbox. This creates hard edges on the highlights of the product.

The diffusion panel clearly wins this battle.



Diffusion Panel + Strip Box vs. Strip Box

In this next example, I wanted to test if adding a strip box to the left side would help me control the gradient better. I decided to move the position of the light on the left closer toward the rear of the product, allowing me to cast a gradient with a highlight starting near the edge of the product. The strip box allowed me to cast a thin strip of light on the diffusion panel (as opposed to a giant spot light that we observed with just the reflector). Depending on where I positioned the light I could easily change the direction and strength of the gradient on the diffusion panel. So far, this was the best method.

The right side of the product is a strip box without the diffusion panel. The strip box is great at creating thin highlights on a product. I actually like the highlight in this case, but the midtones on the right side of the product are kind of bleh!



Twin Edge Lights with Black Cards

Let's change the lighting setup a bit. I kept the strip boxes on each light, but moved each of them to the rear of the product. Since the strip boxes are now pointing towards the camera, I needed to use black flags to block any light spill from hitting the lens. Because the background is white and we didn't want the edge of the product to blend in with the background, I also used black cards to create a low light.



Putting it All Together

Now that we understand the various ways that light modifiers affect the lighting of a reflective object, let's put it all together to create a finished image. My favorite look was the stripbox combined with a diffusion panel. It offers us the most control over the shape and direction of the light on the product. Because the object I'm photographing is a cylinder, i found it best to use a symmetrical lighting setup. I placed diffusion panels on each side and lit the diffusion panels with strip boxes. I then used black cards behind the product to define the edges more clearly.



So just remember the next time your trying to photograph a reflective object. It's not the object that is of concern, it's the environment.

]]> (Jeff Creech) Knowledge Mon, 11 Feb 2013 13:24:18 -0800
Photoshop Timelapse: GT-R & 458


It's always interesting to see different post processing workflows, after seeing GF Williams post up his post processing process of the GT86, I thought to share a time lapse of one of my edits as well. This shot is from a shoot I recently did with a Jotech Motorsports widebody Nissan GT-R painted in Lamborghini green (Verde Ithica) and a ridiculously awesome Ferrari 458 Spyder. I took several different exposures with different lighting setups, combined them, and did a couple more things. Enjoy!

]]> (Pepper Yandell) Work Mon, 11 Feb 2013 10:17:14 -0800
Demonstration in Photoshop - GT86 in a Hangar


]]> (GF Williams) Work Sat, 09 Feb 2013 02:26:15 -0800
My 2009 BMW 135i E82 Car Build From Beginning To End Sorta My 2009 BMW 135i E82 Car Build From Beginning To End Sorta

I just wanted to blog this "beginning to end (sorta)" post because I rarely see posts like these around anymore. So to start it off, I want to give a brief intro on myself and my car. Many of you may know me as a car photographer since my photo shoots get posted all over the place, however, you might not know that my photography "career" is closely intertwined with my car build. You might not know that it was because of my car that I got into automotive photography in the first place.

 The car in question is a 2009 BMW 135i. It was my first car that I solely financed straight out of college. 


I really wasn't lying when I said I would be solely financing it. My major in college was business administration so I took what I learned and spent some time calculating my would be monthly payments and interest rates. In case you're wondering, my calculations did come out to be pretty spot on.

I had originally planned to test drive a used Lexus IS300. Other cars I was considering was a Lexus IS250, Nissan 370z or a Mitsubishi Evo X. I never planned on even buying a BMW. Eventually I decided against my JDM choices because I wanted something that was classy yet sporty at the same time. I must admit that it was hard to resist my ricer roots though. I mean how can you resist cars like these:

SPOCOM 2011 Anaheim SPOCOM 2011 Anaheim Motion Auto Show 2011

My mind was changed when I often "took" my mom's BMW 325i out. The BMW handling and simplicity was what ultimately convinced me. At the same time, the 1-series was just released in North America and BMW was taking orders. I originally had planned to go with the 128i, not knowing what I would be missing out on, it was not until I saw the 135i on a BMW dealership lot that I decided that I wanted the 135i simply because of the Mtech kit that it had on it straight from factory. After seeing the 135i and somehow convincing my parents that spending 40k+ was smart straight out of college, I put my deposit down for a new 2009 BMW 135i. For those of you who have ordered a car before will know how aggravating and torturous the wait time is. I ended up waiting nearly a year to receive the keys to my brand new car.


The night I picked up the car from the dealership would be the first time I got into the car and drove it let alone drive a turbo car. I didn't test drive it beforehand, I just knew deep down that it was what I wanted. I am more of a visual person and therefore that can explain why I am a photographer. However, to this day I am not quite sure what drew me to the 135i in particular when there was the 3-series that I could have gotten and could have had it modified to look extremely more aggressive than the "cute girly" car I had bought. Maybe it was the uniqueness and the rarity, who knows. Whatever it was, I promised to take care of it since day 1.

lone wolf.

And take care of it I did, I washed it every other week and detailed it every 3 months so I could use it as a test subject for all my photographic endeavors at the time. I took it to plenty of random parking garages and car meets.

Tone mapped... STARS Burger Meet

With all the photos I started to capture, I decided to start sharing them on forums. Soon enough, I started to receive messages from other car owners and companies who wanted photo shoots. Thus, my journey into automotive photography had started. It can also explain why a vast majority of my portfolio contained strictly BMW only content at the time.

Seven of Socal's Finest BMW 135i

I never once thought about modifying my car because I would often think to myself, why change something that that is touted "the ultimate driving machine"? However, since I started to meet new automotive enthusiasts and companies I slowly began to realize that they all had one thing in common and it was to build or help build a car that is unique to them. And so, I began to modify my car after a year of owning it.

DSC_6382 DSC_3407DSC_6381

Stage one of my car was completed by early 2010 with the help of VMR Wheels, United BMW, Autotecknic and LTBMW. At this point I had: VMR 701 Wheels Falken Z452 Tires H&R Sport springs BMW Performance brake kit with rotors Autotecknic trunk lip iCarbon rear carbon fiber diffuser RPI custom painted air scoops Although my list of modifications was minimal at this point, many wanted to display my car at various car shows and meets. My shy 135i :) It was due to these events and people that I met along the way that my horizon, in terms of car modifications was broaden. I not only attended European car related events, but I was also invited to events like Hellaflush, Nisei, Wekfest, Autocon, and etc, which are mainly geared towards the JDM crowd here in socal. I came to accept more and more different styling cues that these events had to offer. HellaFlush 5 Phase 1 Phase 1 As I started to cover these JDM events I eventually befriended the guys from who put me on staff as an official photographer. I become more entrenched with JDM styling and began to transition away from a "Euro" look to a more "JDM-friendly" look. Project Yoshi: Phase Two CCW x Project Kics x BMW Plumbing & Heating Phase 1.2 Completed To some, it might not have made a difference, but swapping out my OEM lug bolts for a stud conversion along with Project Kics Neo Chrono lug nuts and mounting fully polished CCW LM's on my car really attracted more attention. It was early 2011 and the modifications had grown: 3D Design front lip Bavarian Exclusive LED headlights CCW LM wheels Falken Z452 tires ST Coilovers BMW Performance brake kit with rotors Autotecknic trunk lip iCarbon rear carbon fiber diffuser Rotiform studs Project Kics Neo Chrono R40 extended lug nuts BMW Performance side skirts BMW Performance Exhaust BMW 135i LCI tail lights Vishnu Proceede V5 tune BMW Sport seats Custom BMW M3 steering wheel RPI custom painted air scoops H&R 5mm spacers CCW Farewell Shoot CCW Farewell Shoot At the same time, I also added some subtle changes to the interior with a new steering wheel and seats. 135i Interior 135i Interior Although at this stage, I was already pretty satisfied with how the car looked and performed, I realized that the CCW's were too readily available for the public. I wanted something rarer. Along the way, I met FLOSS aka Hasback James. For those of you from the Honda community, Hasback and James do not need an introduction. Some say that he single-handedly brought CCW wheels to the general public. He moved on from his Honda and eventually into a BMW M3. LTBMW End of Summer Meet After a few chats with him I realized that he refinished wheels on the side and he chanced upon a set of rare BBS Impul wheels from a Nissan race car. That day, I rushed over to his house to test fit them. If they fit, I would be running one of the most aggressive offsets on a 135i. DSC_5801 DSC_5798 Sure enough, they barely fit and I bought them right away. I had them refinished with OEM BBS rivets, a white center, and re-polished lips / barrels. During the time he was refinishing the BBS. I drove around briefly with fully polished VMR 701's as seen here: BMW 135i Studio Redux BMW 135i Studio Redux BMW 135i Studio Redux Those were also my first and only studio shots. Soon after the studio shoot, James told me my wheels were ready. Once I got them on, I put some finishing touches on them with genuine BBS stickers on the lips and BBS valve stem caps. It was now mid-2012. DSC_6346 Revised DSC_6350 Revised BBS Impul DSC_8561 Yoshi The BBS Impuls were my favorite wheels to date that have been on my car. By early 2012, I wanted a change and so I went with SSR wheels. The SSR MS3 is a JDM wheel with a Euro twist to it and so I thought it would be a great combination with my 135i. Image Build - SSR Magazine Ad With My BMW 135i 9 Image Build - SSR Magazine Ad With My BMW 135i

3D Design front lip Bavarian Exclusive LED headlights SSR MS3 wheels Falken Z452 tires ST Coilovers BMW Performance brake kit with rotors Autotecknic trunk lip iCarbon rear carbon fiber diffuser Rotiform studs Project Kics Neo Chrono R40 extended lug nuts BMW Performance side skirts BMW Performance Exhaust BMW 135i LCI tail lights Vishnu Proceede V5 tune Cusco strut bar BMW 1M mirrors LTBMW custom front lip diffuser LTBMW custom side diffusers BMW Sport seats Custom BMW M3 steering wheel RPI custom painted air scoops H&R 5mm spacers For the most part, I am done modifying the car. With the exception of a few minor things, the car will stay as is for a while. Maybe if I get bored, I'll do something crazy to it like a wide body or a track setup. I don't even know.

My BMW 135i 2012 Timeline Progression of My BMW 135i

Just looking back at this journey I had with my car really surprises me at how I've grown and how many new relationships I've formed simply because of a car. As of now, I try to drive it everyday and I still enjoy getting into the car, starting it and driving it. Fun facts: 1. ~18,000+ miles on it in 3.7 years. 2. I have only touched the surface of the car with my hands a total of 7 times (minus door handle/gas of course) in 3.7 years. 3. The longest road trip in this car was 4 hours from LA to LV 4. The car has only been in rain only 19 times in 3.7 years. 5. The car has been the main topic of several 1addicts forum's highest ranked threads. 6. No door dings. Thanks for reading. This has got to be my longest post ever.

Be sure to like my Facebook page for future updates on my car!

]]> (John Zhang) Inspiration Fri, 08 Feb 2013 10:59:20 -0800
Helios 44-M Lens on a Canon 40d


Last summer while rummaging through the attic I ended up finding a Helios 44-M lens. It`s an old russian lens first made in 1958 in Soviet Union.

Short specifications : 58mm with F from 2 to 16 with aperture and manual focus. 

So my first thought was to see if I could mount this to my Canon 40d . After some research on the internet, I found a way with an aluminum adapter ring. 

In one word this lens is awesome.  I work with a 50mm f1.4 from canon but this old lens is something that touches the soul. It may be just the overall quality of the lens or the feeling you have when you use it. 







]]> (Ciprian Mihai) Gear Thu, 07 Feb 2013 09:58:07 -0800
Batch Saving Action and Automation in Adobe Photoshop CS


When I first started seriously photographing for demanding clients, I quickly discovered that saving PSD files became a daunting and prolonged task. In my mind I thought, "man, there has to be a way to save every photo set I do more efficiently". So I did some searching online and found out about Photoshop "actions". Actions would help me simplify the process without me having to go through File > Save As, however, I would still have to press play on every photo from the set to get them to save. As a result, with further research, I found out about one of the most helpful tools that Photoshop has to offer.

That was the Automate function under File. What this function does is essentially take an action and automates it throughout the whole set without you having to do most of the work. It's assembly-line-like. Watch the video I recorded to see what I mean. 

This video was made for those who process more than a few photos in Photoshop and have saved PSD files. This workflow, however, can work with all predefined actions you have, so it might be a good screencast for everyone who uses Photoshop in general. 

Sorry that the Screen Flow Demo watermark is blocking the video, but you'll still get the idea. Screen Flow for Mac is a very good and simple screen casting program to use.

Hope this helps!

]]> (John Zhang) Knowledge Wed, 06 Feb 2013 16:00:00 -0800
Review: Olympus OM-D E-M5


I started using my first DSLR, a Nikon D70, back in September 2004. It was Nikon's first consumer-level DSLR, with a whopping 6 megapixels and breakthrough high ISO performance. Since then, I've relied on the high quality of DSLRs to produce print-worthy photos, along with the use of the RAW file format to process photos to my own liking.

Meanwhile, smaller cameras in point-and-shoots and phones couldn't really come close in terms of quality, especially when it comes to high ISO performance and autofocus speed. My DSLR is my faithful companion whenever I absolutely needed to capture the moment, but as my needs for quality grew, so did the size of the cameras. I've been shooting with my current D700 since November 2010, but I've rented a D800 just to try out and rented a D4 to shoot Formula DRIFT Irwindale last year. All three of these cameras definitely can't be called sneaky, and bringing them along just to have dinner with friends can be quite cumbersome. As much as I'd love to have the power of any of these DSLRs all the time, I definitely feel like I could use something a bit more compact when I don't need to have large print quality. After shooting Formula DRIFT Irwindale last year, I met up with a group of photographer friends for lunch, and as it turned out, my good friend RJ deGuzman surprised us all with his compact, yet very powerful 16 megapixel Olympus OM-D EM-5 Micro 4/3 camera. Each of us were impressed with its capabilities, and RJ himself has moved completely to this camera system after selling his own D700. Intrigued, I gave it a few test shots and decided that I needed to rent it for a week to put it through some paces. Eventually, I ended up renting the camera from BorrowLenses.comand they drop-shipped me a brand new one, still in the box and everything. I also rented a Panasonic Lumix G 14mm ƒ2.5 lens, and RJ was kind enough to let me borrow his own beloved Panasonic Lumix G LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm ƒ1.4 lens. The crop factor on all Micro 4/3 cameras is double, so the 14mm is a 28mm full frame equivalent, and the 25mm is a 50mm full frame equivalent. Instantly, I was amazed at the quality and speed of the camera. Olympus touts that their autofocus system as among the fastest out there, and I have no reason to argue with them. The autofocus is fast and accurate, and even in low lighting with the autofocus assist lamp turned off, it still locked onto its target as well as any DSLR. On top of that, the high ISO noise was very well controlled, and even at ISO 1600 there was little to no noticeable noise. Both of the lenses that I borrowed were also nice and sharp wide open. Here are a couple examples using the 14mm wide open at ƒ2.5 and ISO 1600, both processed only in Lightroom:

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The dynamic range was also very impressive, and you can see I tried to push it a bit here with this fog photo, shot handheld with the same 14mm ƒ2.5 wide open at ISO 1600:


The 25mm ƒ1.4 was no slouch either, and in fact focused even faster than the 14mm. Here's an example photo at ISO 400, wide open at ƒ1.4, also processed only in Lightroom:

I ZwJjjPC X2

The OM-D's built-in image stabilization worked great in low light, and it was truly wonderful to have it available at a wide angle focal length. I'd say that it surpassed my expectations for it in low light, but how would it fare in bright sunlight? As luck would have it, I went out to brunch with my parents over the weekend that I rented the camera, so I brought it along with me and kept it at its base ISO of 200. It handled mixed sunlight and artificial light quite well here in this photo:

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Dynamic range continued to be very good, and the OM-D's electronic viewfinder ended up being quite the advantage so that I could instantly preview the exposure of these three shots:

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Knowing that RJ is a primarily a portrait photographer and he completely moved to this OM-D, I also decided to take a couple portrait-style photos of my parents with his 25mm ƒ1.4. Again, the OM-D performed great, especially given that I didn't have a reflector or any sort of fill flash for these two photos:

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The final photographic test would be the most brutal one. While the OM-D provides great image quality with still photos and it's built like a tank with its magnesium, weather-sealed body, just about everyone has said that it's only real weakness is with autofocus tracking. Unfortunately, there aren't any events going on here in the Pacific Northwest right now where I could push the limits of the OM-D's panning capabilities, but I did take a few minutes to try some slow pans on the street. I could tell that the OM-D had some problems keeping a focus lock on a moving object, but it was still able to surprise me. Here's one shot at 1/40 sec:

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And another at 1/10 sec:


Clearly, it's not as spot-on with its autofocus tracking as a DSLR would be, but it's not really that bad at all. I could definitely see myself shooting telephoto with my D700 and then swapping real quick to an OM-D with a wide angle once the action got too close. The light weight of the camera would be quite welcome trackside, and since I can still shoot in RAW, I'll still have complete control over the final image. The last thing I tested was video, and while I'm not really big into video, the image stabilization of the OM-D definitely helped with the overall video quality. The autofocus did have to hunt a little bit, but it really wasn't too bad. Here's a sample video from when I was out to dinner, but please be aware that there's some foul language since we're just joking around and having a good time: After the week's rental was over, I was quite sad to send the camera back. It performed wonderfully in low light, it has great dynamic range, the auto focus is better than I could've expected, it's built to withstand the rains of the Pacific Northwest, it produces great photos for large prints, and best of all, it's small enough to fit in a big pocket and won't strain your neck over time. Olympus really hit it out of the park with the OM-D camera, and if this is a sign of things to come from the Micro 4/3 camp, I'll be more than happy to call one my own very soon. Sure, the autofocus tracking wasn't the best and some of the controls are a little awkward, but that really won't stop me from picking one of these up once I have some spare change. Bravo, Olympus!

]]> (Armin H. Ausejo) Gear Wed, 06 Feb 2013 11:20:25 -0800
Our Story: Hurricane Sandy Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

Hurricane Sandy struck my hometown of Staten Island, New York around 8PM on Monday, October 29, 2012. I wasn’t home. I had left home on Sunday, on the last flight that would leave NYC until Wednesday, October 31, 2012. For those three days I spent every free moment I had while not working covering the SEMA auto show in Las Vegas in my hotel room watching the devastation unfold on TV. However, every news station I watched had left out any details about what was going on in Staten Island. The little news I got came from phone calls to my mother and girlfriend whenever they could find power to plug in cell phones and hope for enough service to get a call out. The news I got form these calls was vastly different from what was being shown to me on the news.

I landed at JFK in the early morning hours of Saturday, November 3rd. I hopped in a cab and sped off towards home. What greeted me was overwhelming darkness. I had arrived before sunrise and with the power still out, the roadway of the Belt Parkway was wrapped in a blanket of black, no streetlights, no traffic lights, no lights in the windows of the nearby homes. We drove along the Belt Parkway in silence, no radio and no conversation. I was taking in what had happened while seeing it for the first time and I think the cabbie knew it. The Verrazano Bridge, a friendly reminder I was almost home on most of my cab rides back from JFK, was now only lit on the Brooklyn side.  After the halfway point the bridge went dark, and after cresting the center of the bridge and being able to see Staten Island, the whole beach area, where I was born and raised, was simply black.

We turned down my street, which was still completely dark, and I stepped out of the cab. I heard the sound of a generator running across the street for the first time, a sound that would become normal over the next few weeks. I got into my house, set down my bags and sat on my bed in the dark. As soon as it was light out, I jumped  in my truck to go survey the damage. It was obvious no one had yet been here to help. FEMA and the Red Cross where nowhere in sight. Everyone I spoke to expressed the same thing, a need for help… And then help came. After a few stops to check on my girlfriend and some other family I met up with a friend. While I was away, he had started the Rebuild Staten Island Foundation. He had called me while I was away to tell me about it and invite me to help so I was eager to get started. We’ve been at it every day since and have helped over 800 families now, which includes those friends and family of our own that have lost homes during this. There’s also no sign of slowing down. We have volunteers out helping everyday and over the weekends that have passed there are thousands more that come down to get to work.

These photos have been collected during that time. I hope you take them as a reminder of what was once here and with some hope for the rebuilding process that is already underway. I opted to not include too much of drastic devastation, but something more hopeful.

-Andrew Link

]]> (Andrew Link) Life Tue, 05 Feb 2013 16:00:00 -0800