Showing posts with label cars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cars. Show all posts

Friday, August 31, 2018

Vintage Cars Through a Vintage Lens

"I'm not dead yet!" this blog, probably.

I have been AWOL for longer than I had recalled. Dang, the last post was from late 2016. Much has happened since then. Spawn the Younger has since graduated from high school after much success in Cross Country and distance Track events. She and her team broke every one of the girl's distance records at their high school in her last season. We went through the long and drawn out recruiting process (which will be blogged to help other distance runner parents) and tomorrow she is running her first collegiate meet with the NCAA DI UMKC Kangaroos.
Not a car. This is 3/4 a a Kansas State championship 4x800 team. The bouncy one is now a Kangaroo.
Yes, the last few years have been a blur. The blog needs to be brought back among the living since Facebook is a dumpster fire, Twitter is a burning dumpster sharknado, Instagram is getting spammed by Facebook, and G+ appears to have little to no engagement on photos posted there. Seriously, I get tons of engagement by posting decent photos on Google maps location reviews, but not on one of the last non-trolly social media destinations.

That's the long way around to the topic of the day. Several years ago, I made the switch to mirrorless camera bodies and fell in love with Fujifilm products. Mirrorless bodies like the Fuji X-T2 can be fitted with most lenses made in the last 70-years with relatively cheap adapters. The photos in this entry are out-of-camera using a 1960s era Olympus PEN F 20mm f3.5 lens.

The subjects were in seen at the Kansas City Great American Car Show, hosted on the Liberty Memorial grounds. There were a few garage queens, but for the most part it featured enthusiast grade and daily driver vehicles. Just super chill and pleasant.

Why use a vintage lens? Well, I'm lazy when it comes to post-processing. I do some PP with Snapseed, but beyond that I am bored with spending all my time behind a screen. I enjoy the natural rendering of a lens that delivers a period look on demand.

The Olympus PEN F/FT system was built to shoot on a 1/2 standard 35mm film frame. Conveniently, that's about the same size as a cropped, digital sensor. In theory, the Fuji X-T2 is using the lens as it was intended.

The system has some truly amazing glass, including the 40mm f1.4 that I often take on light travel excursions. The 20mm is kind of a mess. But it's a good mess with vignetting and out-of-focus areas one expects from a certain era. It's really soft under heavy clouds with a different character in hard daylight.

This car show is the second coming of the now defunct Art of the Car Conquers. Nothing lasts forever and that show took many volunteer hours to maintain. I hope to see that caliber of a show again, but enjoyed hanging out with people that drove their cars to this show.

Also not a car. Shhh... please don't hurt its feelings.

Which begs the question: could I become one of those guys that takes an interesting car to shows and drive-in nights? Maybe. But not until our adorable spawn are on their own and we have more room on the driveway. I recently came really close to buying a beautiful BMW E36 M3 sedan. I decided it would be a not-so-great daily commute vehicle and opted for a 2016 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid in the end. Luxury car depreciation is a minor miracle for used car buyers.

Vintage lenses are small, portable and fun. They take up a lot less space than a car. I am a car guy and love playing under a hood, but that kind of toy will have to wait. My hope is when I have the space and time that I can find the Datsun 280z of my dreams. I love pretty much everything about the 240z and 280z. They even have enough leg room for a six-foot tall guy. I can't say the same for old Fiats or the Mazda Miata.

This post is something of a beta test. Google profoundly screwed up their old photo catalog system when they dissolved the first iteration of G+. My Google Photos uploads are now working great in Blogger on a pure Android Pixel Book. I'll watch metrics on this compared to G+ posts. Likes and comments are free and appreciated by anyone in any social media space. I have to pick where to scream into the Internet void and appreciate the time you have spent on this humble blog.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Buggies in the Night - KC First Fridays

I've blogged many times on the joys of First Fridays in the Kansas City Crossroads art district.  September was a particularly good month.  Every gallery I walked into had strong exhibits, the weather was nice and there was plenty of good people watching.  To top it all off, I was treated to an impromptu car show!

Imagine this:  you've just watched a graffiti wall going up on a gallery front and it is 10:30 at night.  As you begin the trek to the parked car (a boring but efficient Prius), you hear the characteristic roar of a hyped up VW engine and see a dune buggy popping a wheelie at an intersection.

Welcome, my friends, to Dwayne's fantasy world!

This was a club run for KC Buggies taking advantage of the nice weather for a cruise.  They stopped at the Kansas City Star parking lot to regroup and help fix mechanical issues with one of the modified VW bugs.  Of course I had to take photos and had a nice chat with the current leader of the pack.  She had one of the buggies that's all roll cage and engine.

The buggy below is a wheelie specialist.  Minus passengers, the front end can be lifted with one hand.

The light show is a nice addition.  If you are going to cruise the city in an open machine, you might as well do it in style!

The original bugs look really choice stripped to their bare essentials and then pimped to within an inch of their lives.

For car and street shooter geek me, this was a great end to an awesome evening of wandering around.  I started in the West Bottoms hunting cool junk and ended with colorful buggies.  It's all good!

In case you are wondering, all photos were taken with a Canon 60d with a Canon EF 50mm f1.4 lens at ISO 1600.  There is no Instagram trickery.  The Star parking lot is surrounded by a brick wall with intentional gaps.  I framed some of the vehicles through the gaps to get the Polaroid look without resorting to digital effects.

Bonus shots:  here is the aforementioned graffiti mural in progress.  I can't wait to see the result.

Not only is this a legal mural, but at least one of the artists was actually wearing a respirator.

About the pesky thing known as Copyright:  I, Dwayne F., own these bits of digital intellectual and creative properties.  These photos may not be used, altered or posted without attribution.  The photos may not be used for commercial purposes of any manner without my express written permission.  Yeah, copyright is so last century.  I suppose you could buy your own equipment and wander the streets for hours looking for interesting things to shoot.  Just sayin".

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Day at the Art of the Car Concours

I spent the second day of a great Kansas City festival weekend at the Art of the Car Concours.  As in prior years, the 2012 edition helps fund scholarship programs at KCAI.  Now in its sixth year, the man behind Art of the Car, Marshall Miller, has built this Midwestern show into a premiere event.  It is by invitation only and features the best cars and motorcycles from the region and the national concours circuit.

I probably made shooting more difficult on myself than I should have.  The old mid-range zoom lens in my kit does not bring out the best in my Canon 60D.  I shot the entire show with my favorite prime macro lens, a Sigma DG 50mm f2.8, and moved myself to compose images.  I used manual exposure compensation liberally.  However, the saturation and contrast is wonderful with this lens even without a polarizing filter.

Can you believe this is a car horn?  This is the first thing I spotted walking into the 2012 Art of the Car Conocurs at the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI).
If you found this post through a Google search, you didn't come to read my commentary on camera gear.  Let's move on to the cars.  The collection that follows is a small sampling of the show.  Whole car photos are relatively easy to find, so I try to select the kinds of details that make these vehicles so great.  I am an armchair car guy without the space or time for a hobby car.  You might have noticed that this blog is dedicated to technology.  Art of the Car features the very best in automotive art, design and technology.

The horn snakes up the right front fender of the incomparable Rolls Royce Silver Ghost.

This is the chauffeur's instrument panel.  I love these surface mount gauges from the early days of motoring.

Now you know what a four million dollar car looks like.  This is one of a handful 1937 Talbot Lago T-150 SS Teardrop Coupes ever built.  This car won the Pebble Beach Concours.  Its presence in Kansas City is a testament to the growing prestige of the KCAI Art of the Car.  This earned first in the People's Choice awards category.

This dashboard is beyond fabulous.  I love the engraved detail on the panel.

This is another car that looks great from any angle.  My photos cannot do it justice.

There were so many amazing cars to see that I didn't have a chance to shoot many engine details.  Not surprisingly, this power plant is a joy to behold.

Race cars were well represented.  This is a 1959 MG EX 186.

This luscious beast of a car is a 1938 Puegeot 402 Dar'lMat.  Again, beautiful from every angle.  The paint is absolutely stunning and looked just as good in hard mid-day sun as in the early morning when this photo was taken.

This reminds me of the famed Buick fender portholes, but with much more style.

The combined instrument cluster gauges make for a remarkably clean and simple dashboard.

This gives you a feel for the campus.  Each Art of the Car has a sub-theme.  Pedal cars, seen in the background, were a featured group.

If you haven't figured it out already, I have a serious hood ornament fixation.  This belongs to one of seven Duesenbergs  at the show.

I was rushed taking this photo and did not note the car model.  I like the set piece details some owners throw into the mix.
I want this color scheme on a typewriter!  Wow.  I spent a lot of time with this 1929 Hudson Dual Cowl Sport.  The crowd seemed to enjoy it as well. 

This car was selected as the second place winner by a group of youth judges recruited at the gate.  Even though this is a recruiting effort, I still have a pretty strong feeling the car guys and girls are born that way.  A kid I know was in that group and the family love of Studebaker Avantis may have had something to do with it garnering the first place youth award.

I've always regretted that Hudson is one of many brands that didn't make it to the modern era.  This beauty is a 1913 6-54 Speedster.

Motorcycles had a section of their own.  After six hours of continuous wandering and shooting, I gave them short shrift on the way out.  This 1973 Ducati was my favorite among a group of outstanding machines.  It also won a show award sponsored by a local Harley Davidson dealer.  Life is full of little ironies.

No Instagram filters here.  This Studebaker Commander was sitting at just the right angle to have some lens flare and back lighting fun.  Every car photo looks pretty much the same unless a few are over exposed for effect.  Yep, that's me towards the bottom.  The desert hat and a constantly refilled water bottle were necessities as the temperature approached 100 degrees in the afternoon.

My daughters shipped off to Girl Scout camp the same day and could not attend the show.  They both loveth is Bentley.  I again intentionally over exposed this shot.

Every Duesenberg is amazing by default.  This is a particularly beautiful example.  That is a 1960 Cadillac in the background.  I still have a major soft spot for the finned beasts of the '50s and the 1959 Cadillac in particular.

Duesenberg = Stunning
Speaking of fins, here is a small example from a 1960 Dodge Matador.  I've seen this car in other local shows and it never ceases to amaze me.

This is the tail end of a 1960 Dodge Dart Phoenix.  This car earned my vote for the People's Choice award.  I had a great talk with the owners who showed off the convenience features.  Every part of this car is clean enough to eat off of.  Unfortunately, that means it spends its life on jacks in a garage and only runs long enough to move in and out of trailers.

This dash is one of the reasons why I voted for this car.  The space age detailing extends throughout the interior.  That bulge in front of the speedometer is a clock!  At one point my parents owned a 1961 Chrysler Windsor with push button controls and an astro dome instrument cluster.
This 1955 Mercury Monclair earned fifth place in the People's Choice awards.  I had a great talk with the owners.  They pulled out their restoration photo album and we flipped through it.  Can you believe this was once a pepto red, rusted hulk sitting in a field in the Colorado front range?  In doing a total rebuild, the owners decided to use a different factory color.  They keep a dealer paint chip collection handy for loving discussions with judges that question this being a stock color.

These are the kind of details I love in classic cars.  The object on the right is the sensor for an automated headlight dimming system.  I know the electronics from having owned a 1959 Cadillac way back when.  To make this work, there is a vacuum tube based amplifier and secondary control circuit.  The object on the left is a traffic light viewing prism.  This car has a low windshield frame.  With the top up the viewer is almost a necessity.

I love these old Indy race cars.  Unfortunately, I didn't log the year.
This cool detail is on a Ferrari pedal car!  The Mustang in front is also child powered.
I saved one of my favorites for last.  This 1930 Stutz Lancefield Coupe always had a crowd of people clustered around it and won second in the People's Choice awards.
Early in the day the car was closed.  Later, everything was open and I stopped by for another round of photos.  Every detail in this car was thought out and engineered just so.  The engine is a work of art on its own.

The day I win the lottery and join the 1% is the day I start shopping for one of these.

And I will leave you with a last hood ornament from the Stutz.  I wonder what objects from this era will still resonate 80 years from now with this level of style and grace?
Thanks to the organizers for bringing such a great show to Kansas City.  For more information, the main website is located here.  The award winning vehicles are featured here.

I will update this post with links to other photo collections.

UPDATE:  The mother load of photos has arrived!  A friend of ours worked as a volunteer from 6:00 AM as the cars arrived through most of the day.  He shot most, if not all, of the entries and indexed them on his photo website at:

 Another Blogger user posted his summary here