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Neon Cadillacs – Photo Backstory

The photo here “Neon Cadilliacs” was taken at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo Texas.  For more information on the Cadillac Ranch see my Photo Destination post. 

This photo was taken after the sun had set and it was dark outside.  The exposure information is ISO 100, f/9.0, 13 seconds shutter speed.  Shot with a Canon 50D, using a Canon 24-104 f/4 lens at 24 mm, and mounted on a tripod.

I used a Canon 580 EX flash in manual mode handheld to fire a single flash at each of the cars so each would be properly exposed and consistently lit.  This was done mostly by trial and error, I first did test shots to determine what exposure value would be needed, to allow me enough time to run down the line of cars and fire the flash at each car.  I also wanted to give some illumination to the sky, but not give too much exposure to the photo.

The second step was to find the proper setting for the flash.  I did this by shooting at the settings determined for the exposure and then firing the flash at the first car.  I found I needed to manually zoom the flash to 105 (the max zoom on the 580EX)  in order to confine the light to only the car.  I then set the flash power manually and determined that 1/4 power would give the best exposure at about 10 feet from the car.

Next I had to fire the camera, run from car to car, point and fire the flash on each car, before the end of the exposure.  After about 15 attempts I felt that I had accomplished my goal.

The part that is not seen in the photo, is that even when dark there were about 20 people still there, some of them I think just wondering what the crazy photographer was up to, as I ran past the cars firing the flash at each, then checking the camera, and then doing it all over again.

The photo was then edited in Lightroom and some additional cleanup done in Photoshop.  Below is the photo before any editing was done.

Here is the completed image.

Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, Texas, U.S. It was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm, and it consists of what were (when originally installed during 1974) either older running used or junk Cadillac automobiles, representing a number of evolutions of the car line (most notably the birth and death of the defining feature of early Cadillacs; the tail fin) from 1949 to 1963, half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. (Greg Disch)



1 Comment
  1. Very impressive! I like the way you add your logo too.

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Greg Disch
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Fort Smith, Arkansas 72904

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