Shooting a VW Scirocco with small flash / by Neil Alexander

Volkswagen Scirocco by Neil Alexander

Over the last couple of years I've made several photographs of this Scirocco, but this time I wanted to try something different and really push my little flashes. I wanted to shoot into the setting sun and light as much of the car as I could with 2 SB900s (on SU4 mode), an SB28 and a borrowed Metz. In order to get a useable exposure I needed to use my Singh-Ray variable ND filter and had to dial it down about 3/4 of the way. Tripod mounted, this dropped my exposure 5 stops to 1/60 sec at f8 ISO 200. But even at full power, my lil' flashes wouldn't come anything close to lighting the whole car. Initially I experimented with 4 strobes dotted around the car, but with the ND dialed in, all I got were patches of light on the car as you can see below. This was even with the strobes on full power. There were probably a few ways to do this, but in the interests of time mainly (the sun was about to drop behind the hedge and I desperately wanted it in the frame) I opted to make a series of exposures, moving the lights around the car for each frame with a view to blending them in photoshop later. Actually making the photographs was the easy bit. Merging 13 different layers in post proved to be altogether more time consuming, and to be quite honest having spent the best part of an entire afternoon layering, dodging and burning and tweaking I'm still not completely happy with the result. I think that when I next get a few free hours I will take the opportunity to re-visit the layers and merge them again from scratch. That said, I'm still pleased enough with the result to share. Below are a selection of the layers straight from camera.

Would you have done it differently? I'd love to know. Feel free to share in the comments at the bottom.

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These are some additional images that I made of the car a couple of weeks earlier so I thought I'd include them here to.

Volkswagen Scirocco by Neil Alexander

Volkswagen Scirocco by Neil Alexander

Volkswagen Scirocco by Neil Alexander

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I've also included a February Desktop wallpaper for your personal use of my Struggle image made in the Lake District. Download the size that nearest suits your screen - 2560x1440   1920x1200   1440x900 Note: The simplest way to download is to right click on the appropriate size and select "open in new tab" or "open in new window"