Zipping By

Zipping By (10mm, f/8, 1/15s, ISO 200)

For the last 4+ years, my main drive (or “sled” as a former neighbor used to say) has been a 2000 BMW 540i.  Awesome V8, 6-speed manual transmission, sport package, and sport suspension .  One note of trivia is that it’s one of the few cars where you actually had to pay *extra* for the stick.  At 10 years old with over 150,000 miles it still runs perfectly and handles like a dream.  The car is tight.  However, the maintenance is getting to be a real headache.  I generally like to do my own maintenance when I can (water pumps, radiators, alternators and such) and BMWs — at least the three that I’ve had over the years — are quite easy to work on.  There are so many resources available in print and on the internet which can tell you what every last bolt on the car is for.  These days it’s really hard to find the time so “maintenance” has degraded into “take it to the shop”.  I haven’t even done my own oil changes lately.  My 6 year old loves to change the oil and I’m robbing him of a great chance to learn to work on cars…

A couple of months ago I bought a truck to replace the one I gave my oldest daughter when she got married.  That truck has become my daily drive for various reasons (maybe someday I’ll write a post about trucks, 4-wheeling at the beach, and just being manly).  Occasionally I’ll drive the 540 and I still enjoy it, but it’s time to sell it (anyone in the market?).

As I prepped to sell the car, I thought back to this image taken on the streets of Paris last spring.  I was poking around with the camera and spotted a Mini Cooper speeding toward me.  I was fairly fresh off a workshop taught by Raul Touzon and one of the things he had taught us was his method for capturing motion like this (see this post). I attempted a panning shot of the Mini and this 5 series followed soon after…grabbed it too.  The shot of the car headed away symbolizes my 5 series leaving the family (sniff).  Just kidding, how sappy would that be? — it’s actually just a cool shot IMO!  No symbolism in this one 🙂  It would have been great if the entire car was sharp but I can live with the look here — it gives an additional sense of speed like the car is just headed into some sort of a time warp.

I started with a single exposure and I tonemapped it in Photomax.  Then I blended it at about 50% opacity with the original exposure.  I used overlay mode for the blending.  Topaz Adjust, curves, sharpening, and Noiseware were used selectively in the image.  I left in lots of the noise to give the motion-blurred portions a bit of grain and texture.  Finally I brought it into Lightroom and touched up a few things before exporting.

I hope you think this is a cool scene too.

12 responses

  1. You do a nice job with these motion panning shots. I’ve tried a few but haven’t methodically practiced it and I’m not yet happy with the results. I can’t figure out how or why the front of the car shows motion while the middle and rear are quite sharp, but I like it.

    September 16, 2010 at 6:50 am

    • Thanks, Mark. I need much more practice myself! I thought (briefly before I posted) about why the leading edge shows motion and don’t have a great explanation. *Possibly* it’s related to the fact that I had pre-focused (using manual focus) on a point in the street near where the back of the car is. As the camera swings around — rapidly moving the plane of focus with it — the front end of the car might be affected more since the rear end is still near the pre-focus point. I’m just not sure though.

      September 16, 2010 at 9:13 am

      • I should add that I was using the center focus point and cropped the image to get the final composition.

        September 16, 2010 at 9:25 am

  2. This is indeed a cool shot! I hope your BMW finds a good home.

    September 16, 2010 at 9:09 am

  3. Really wonderful panning effect. A well done, dynamic image.

    September 16, 2010 at 11:43 am

    • Thanks, Andy! I have fun playing around with novel things like this and wish I spent more time on things like panning, zooming during exposure, night shots, etc.

      September 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm

  4. GREAT shot Mr. Tuuk! 🙂 I always find it a challenge to get a good shot of moving objects… with it still being in focus.

    September 16, 2010 at 6:05 pm

  5. Thanks, Sarah! I still need a lot of practice with this myself.

    September 16, 2010 at 11:49 pm

  6. Pingback: Raul Touzon’s Portable Sun Workshop « Michael Tuuk Photography

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