The Lost America Blog

The Emerald Floorboard

The Emerald Floorboard ::::: 1990s Olds Cutlass

Paul’s Junkyard, September 2011.  I happened upon one of the workshop students, Tor, while he was in the rendering pit shooting this 4-door Oldsmobile Cutlass in the process of being recycled.  He was working blind (unable to use the viewfinder or preview screen), at extremely low angles from inside the car.  When he was done I moved in and set up a similar shot.

Taking advantage of my camera’s swivel screen, I was able to set the camera down on the car’s floorpan where the back seat used to be and point it towards the spot where the steering wheel would have been and still be able to easily preview and adjust the shot. I did a long series of high ISO test shots, slightly moving and tilting the camera until I got a workable composition.  When I was satisfied with the position I started doing lit exposures, focused up close, to crisply capture the foreground details.  I used a lime-gelled LED to enhance the car’s metallic green paint.  I lit from a variety of angles, looking for ways to pull out the car’s crinkled nature.

When I was satisfied that I had a frame with good lighting coverage, I refocused the camera to infinity and began a series of four 5-minute exposures, which I then ended up stacking in Photoshop to make 20-minute star trails.  Then I stripped in the the lit interior shot and masked out it’s sky.

Including the high ISO tests, I shot no fewer than 20 frames to end up with the 5 that I used to create the finished image you see here.

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