Readers Photo Challenge: Life in the fast lane

The latest Readers Photo Challenge assignment is “cars.”
Cars are more than mere transportation to most of us. They are an extension of ourselves. We look for cars that suit our personalities as well as our lifestyles. When they are financially beyond our reach, we call them our “dream cars.” Some of us even give names to our cars. For this challenge 5 people sent in 19 pictures. Here are some of the best examples.


Some people spend a lot of time and work on their cars and are justifiably proud of them. Sam Doan of Stockton put a lot of after market work into his 2003 Honda S2000. He added a plethora of under the hood “go-fast” modifications from turbocharging the engine to beefing up the suspension. Doan says that it’s still street legal and reliable but sees some occasional track time too.

To make his car look its best, Doan found a location of an abandoned warehouse in Lodi. He “posed” his Honda in front of the building during a colorful sunset and used a technique called painting with light. With his Canon 5D Mk II DSLR camera on a tripod, Doan used a long 30-second exposure Doan as he shined the light from an LED flashlight on the car. Moving the light almost as if he was spray-painting the car’s surface, he created a controlled, even illumination of the vehicle. The effect is a rendering of the outside of his car that’s as dramatic as what’s underneath.


Sydney Spurgeon of Stockton took a bit different approach to her car photo. Instead of taking a picture of a vehicle as the subject, she used one to facilitate a self-portrait. She spotted a shiny, chromed wheel on a truck at the Flying J truck stop at Highway 12 and I-5 near Lodi. She positioned her reflected image in the center of the circular patterns of the wheel and took her own portrait with her Nikon D90 DSLR camera.


Lillian McDonell of Stockton did a little thinking out the box when it came to her car photo. Her 4-year-old grandson was playing with a set of his father’s Hot Wheels cars in her backyard when McDonell saw her photo opportunity.

Her picture reminded me of some I’ve seen in Motor Trend magazine. In its Car of the Year edition the publication usually runs a group photo of all the cars considered for the recognition, which could be as many as a couple of dozen. Most of those pictures are shot from a high angle, most likely from a tall ladder or a “cherry picker” lift, to get all of the cars in the same frame. McDonell’s picture, shot from above, makes the assortment of 1:64 scale cars look like a toy version of a Motor Trend car of the year photo.


Stay tuned for a new assignment will be issued next Thursday.

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