My Best Photograph Was A Mistake!

Wasim Muklashy_Scion FRS_Megan Racing_1WM0549-Edit_4200sfw

So last week I was hired to photograph a Scion FRS that was completely and insanely modified by Megan Racing's Race Division. The day started with some closeup detail images from underneath the car of the various modifications they performed for a presentation that the company would be doing to show off what they did with this thing. In effect, they turned an already sweet looking ride into a growling piece of art that I'd be afraid to let out of it's cage.

But once we finished the close-ups, it was time to get the entire sucker, so they brought it down off the lift and unleashed it into the parking lot. It was like letting a lion out of it's cage. While they wouldn't let me take the POV shots I jokingly (not really) suggested, they did let me position it around the buildings and lot adjacent to the shop, so I got to work. The time of day was still about an hour away from optimal, but I had to work with what we had, so just went for it, gambling on the game of numbers, if I shot enough, I was bound to come away with a few keepers. This was another instance in which my Eye-Fi card came in handy...that sucker has yet to leave slot two!

Anyhow, I definitely came away with what I thought were some solid keepers, but what I didn't expect was that the shot I ended up liking the best was one that, at the time, was a mistake - a painfully obviously underexposed image as I was trying to compensate for a very bright sky, but I went too far on the right side of the dial.

Yet, for some reason, I didn't delete it.

When I got to my laptop, and loaded them into Lightroom and started starring and flagging the obvious ones, my eye kept glancing over, but eventually passing by one particular shot. "But it was almost a completely solid black frame," I kept telling myself. Regardless, every time I scrolled thought the images, I'd instinctively slow down when I got to that image. So finally, after about 20 minutes of this, I said screw it, I'm gonna play with it. If anything, I can get it out of my system.

So I opened the Develop pane in Lightroom, viewed it at 100%, and RIGHT AWAY knew exactly why I kept subconsciously coming back to it - the highlights. The cars contours were just about perfectly highlighted from a backlit sun. So I decided that's exactly what I'd focused on. Ironically enough, I ended up further under exposing an already underexposed image...I figured it was the mysterious highlights that were drawing me to it, so why not magnify the effect of those very highlights.

That's what I did. I brought up the highlights, I emphasized the shadows, and that created an beautiful contrast with the sky and the silhouette of the background and surroundings - skyscraper stacks of discarded wooden shipping palates.

Yes, the car is insane!! Absolutely. And I'm sure Megan Racing was none too happy that my featured image on a car that they spent so much time and money and energy on was an image where, well, you couldn't see the car, but if you're like me, after seeing this image, you just want to see more, whereas if the car was shown clearly right off the bat, you would have already absorbed the payoff!!

The moral of the story? Make more mistakes!

Without any further adieu, here are the finals: