Hidden in plain view: the small details overlooked…

Lately, I’ve found myself taking a slightly different approach in photographing the multitude of vehicles present at each weeks Cars&Coffee / Irvine event. With the clear, sunny springtime weather, there has been an abundance of interesting lighting conditions to work with, as well as some amazing, highly polished, curvaceous and reflective vehicle surfaces to study. I’m frequently stopped by vehicle owners or passerbys and asked  “what are you looking at” or “what are you shooting”?  When I show them my captured imagery, the common response is “how did you see that” or” I’ve never would have noticed that”. My response is that it’s just a function of how we look at objects in general, and that when you slow down and take your time to really study an object, the end result can often be very surprising and rewarding.

And now with summer rapidly approaching, there have been a number of winter automotive projects finally seeing the light of day, making their debut under warm, sunny skies.

So with the sun on the rise, I headed off in search of a new batch of photographic subjects.  As I walked down Porsche row, the lighting across the hood of a 1967 911R tribute caught my eye. The combination of the highlights and shadows not only defined the shape and detail lines of the hood, but added further interest in the form of the shadow cast by the centrally located fuel filler cap, with its blood orange stripe providing just the right amount of accent color…

White 1967 Porsche 911R tribute_oblique front hood light & shadows_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_ May 11, 2013

Even shooting a close – up of the amber-colored euro lens covering the Cibie biode headlight internals, revealed an unexpected surprise; the captured reflection of the owner and a fellow Porsche 911 owner discussing the merits of these new headlights.

White 1967 Porsche 911R tribute_amber headlight lens & reflections, fender and hood detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_ May 11, 2013

The early morning light also created the perfect accent across the rear decklid, highlighting its stripe and 911R graphic, and offering a glimpse of the custom fiberglass intakes and water shields residing behind the grill…

White 1967 Porsche 911R tribute_rear decklid_stripe, badge and lighting detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_ May 11, 2013

One of my mornings reflective studies, using a black 2013 Porsche type 991, 911 Carrera S coupe as the subject, showcasing the latest in headlight technology and the by-product of a flawless paint finish.

Black 2013 Porsche 991 Carrera S_headlight, fender and hood reflections_Cars&Coffee/irvine_April 27, 2013

Another graphic display of how shadow, light and foliage effects, when combined can visually enhance the profile and contours as those found on an early 70’s Porsche 911 front hood and fenders (as seen below).

Green 1971 Porsche 911E_front hood and fender lighting, shadows and highlights_ Cars&Coffee/irvine_April 20, 2013

Porsche 914-6 GT reflection captured in the front fender of a black Porsche 993 coupe…

Black Porsche 993_ front fender reflection_Cars&Coffee/irvine_April 20, 2013

A beautifully restored, vintage Chrysler Town & Country convertible, complete with wood cladding on its sides and trunk area as shown. Even the woodwork was finished and polished to a high level matching that of the paint job.

Green vintage Chrysler Town & Country "woody" convertible_wood trimmed rear trunk_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013

And looking closer, these reflective properties were carried over to the vehicles rear fender, which offered up a clue to its surroundings.

Green vintage Chrysler Town & Country "woody" convertible_rear fender reflections facing forward_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013

Up front was another surprise, hiding beneath the opened hood; an immaculate Dodge Viper V-10 motor, transplanted into the engine bay and appearing as if it had been original to this model, as delivered by Chrysler.

Green vintage Chrysler Town & Country "woody" convertible_Viper V-10 motor_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013

Over in the main parking area, I discovered another example of a beautifully restored engine compartment and motor, as found on this 1970’s vintage Chevrolet Camaro…

Yellow 1970's vintage Chevrolet Camaro_engine compartment detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013

and a close – up shot, revealing some very cool reflections captured in the chrome valve cover and breather.

Yellow 1970's vintage Chevrolet Camaro_valve cover reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013

Nothing screams hot rod like highly polished chrome injectors and brightly colored accents, in this case the go fast accessories found within the engine compartment on this black 1962 Corvette (below).

Black 1962 Chevrolet Corvette_ engine details _Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013

A Mercedes – Benz Sedan and a side mirror with a secret…

Mercedes -Benz  sedan_side  mirror reflection_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 27, 2013

A pristine chrome grill and hood emblem, as observed on a beautifully restored,1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL coupe…

White 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL_ front grill and hood emblem detail_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

including some equally impressive grill and trim reflections.

White 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL_front grill reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

And a full shot of the beautifully restored 280SL, the source of hidden detail.

White 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

(Below), amazing detail awaiting discovery in this contemporary version of the Bentley hood ornament…

Bentley hood emblem_close up_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_April 20, 2013Rear window reflections, when viewed from the proper angle…

Red VW panel van with Porsche graphic_side view and reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

Reflecting on several early Porsche 911s…

Black Porsche 911S with white 911R reflection_side view  reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

and an upside reflection, as seen in the hood of a 1987 black Porsche 930 turbo.

Black Porsche 930 turbo with white 911S  targa reflection_upside down reflection in front hood_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

A 1930’s vintage Ford Tudor coupe, capturing its surroundings, via its headlight, paint finish…

1930's vintage Ford Tudor__headlight reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

and its classic, chrome plated Ford radiator /grill surround.

1930's vintage Ford Tudor__chrome grill  reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

The latest iteration of Jaguar badging…

Green 2014 Jaguar F Type V8 S roadster_rear badging_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

as displayed on the back of this brand new, dark green metallic 2014 Jaguar F-type V8 S Roadster.

Green 2014 Jaguar F Type V8 S roadster_rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

A trio of the brand new 2014 F-Type models on display, courtesy of Jaguar.

A trio of 2014 Jaguar F Type roadsters_rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_May 11, 2013

So the next time you find yourself looking at a car, take an extra moment to stop and look a little closer, as you may be surprised by the hidden details previously overlooked, but now revealed…

(All photos by the author)


2 thoughts on “Hidden in plain view: the small details overlooked…

  1. I love this detailed photography. Nice work. Another level of exploration is taking it to the abstract by getting even closer. Your subject matter really lends itself to this because of the amount of care and detail the owners put into their cars. I have taken some amazing photos of hood ornaments, badging, part lines and trim.
    Have fun and keep up the great work!

    • Hi Scot, thank you for your feedback.
      Its been interesting and a challenge to take a different approach to shooting cars by focusing in on the small details, rather than the whole.
      Hope things are going well for you at WDI.
      Thanks again and Regards,

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