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December 31, 2009

Best Photos of 2009, Part Two

Filed under: Best of...,Cars,Photography — Tags: — chuck goolsbee @ 11:44 am

Part Two of my collection of favorite photos from 2009. Tell me your favorite from this batch in the comments.

13. E-type Jaguar and Turbines, Columbia Gorge, Washington.
13. E-type Jaguar and Turbines, Columbia Gorge, Washington.

One our way home from the Monte Shelton Rally in central Oregon we drove across the Columbia River and then climbed Maryhill out of the Gorge towards Goldendale, WA. A huge windfarm is being constructed that spans both side of the river and I stopped at the Maryhill Scenic Overlook as I knew a great photo awaited somewhere. I parked and wandered about with the G1 trying to find the right shot. Unfortunately it was mid-morning and the light was very harsh and flat. I gave up on a great photo and settled on a placeholder pose for a return to this spot some time in the future with better light. Dawn would be the time, ideally with some interesting clouds. Meanwhile, enjoy this photo.


14. The Tulipwood Torpedo.
14. The Tulipwood Torpedo.

This is an amazing 1924 Hispano-Suiza Model H6C found at the Blackhawk Collection in Danville, CA. Commissioned by André Dubonnet and coachbuilt by the Nieuport Aviation Company. The body is wood framed and covered in â…›” tulipwood veneer held together by copper rivets. The body weighs a mere 160 lbs! The Hispano-Suiza chassis contains a 7.9 liter SOHC straight six, which made 200 HP at 3050 RPM. The boat tail contained a 46 Gallon tank for endurance racing. Dubonnet entered the car in the 1924 Targa Floria, finishing 6th overall, and the 1924 Coppa Floria where he won his (over 4.5 liter) class, and 5th overall.

Handheld shooting in low light is always challenging, and the Blackhawk Collection ups the ante for casual photographers such as myself. The cars are polished to within an inch of their lives and presented in a VERY dark room lit by tiny spotlights. To the human eye they are very pleasing, but to a camera they are a nightmare of blown highlights and impenetrable shadows. As I’m still getting used to the G1 I felt like my efforts here were suboptimal but a few images turned out well. Composition skills picked up from my days as a graphic designer combined with a willingness to out-wait museum goers who dawdled in my backgrounds made for a few good shots. The warmth of the wood on this car allowed it to look so much better under the odd lighting at the museum than the paint and chrome found elsewhere.


15. 65E descending Tioga Pass, California.
15. 65E descending Tioga Pass, California.

Leaving Yosemite National Park and descending towards Mono Lake I stopped to wait for Larry Wade in his E-type. During a pause in traffic I snapped this shot looking back towards the pass itself. The sweep of the road, the mountains, the painfully blue skies, and the loaded-for-distance Jaguar illustrates wanderlust and road tripping. I wish I was there right now! Shot with the Lumix G1.


16. A Tatra.
16. A Tatra.

The Tatra is a legendary machine. I had never seen one in the flesh until I walked onto the concourse field at the Art Center in Pasadena in July. This 1938 T-87 caught my eye upon my arrival and I bet I hovered over it for a full 30 minutes before I even looked at another car. I shot a bunch of photos of it, most of them small detail shots such as this. The owner’s assistant who was assigned the task of babysitting the car during the show noted my obsession and even opened doors for me to shoot some interior details. I’ll bet it is also the last time I see a Tatra! Hence my obsession with capturing the moment. Regular readers of my site can expect to see more of this car in the future as a star in the “Car Photo of the Day.” Meanwhile enjoy this study of the car’s badge. Shot with the Lumix G1.


17. E-type Bonnet over Stillaguamish Valley.
17. E-type Bonnet over Stillaguamish Valley.

I think this is likely the earliest shot of 2009. Just a quick jaunt, Sunday drive in the Jag on a sunny January day. I suspect I had just fixed some bit of it and went out for a test drive. This is the road going up to Lake Cavanaugh just east of where we live. The views from this road are so nice, with Whitehorse Mountain, Mt. Bullen, and Three Fingers towering above the North Fork Valley of the Stillaguamish river. This image was shot with the Coolpix L11 held aloft over my head, without any attempt to see what I’m shooting. Arm’s length photography is one of the things I’ve gained some skill in over the years.


18. Red Corvette.
18. Red Corvette.
19. Cruise Missile in Rest Area, North Dakota.
19. Cruise Missile in Rest Area, North Dakota.

In 2000 my Dad bought this 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450sl specifically for (re)running the Cannonball Classic. He picked the Benz for it’s theoretical ability to make it coast-to-coast without incident or drama, unlike the E-type, which finished the 1999 event on a flatbed after breaking down in the Mojave Desert. The Cannonball Classic was cancelled so we never knew if the car would live up to the promise until October of 2009 when we drove it coast-to-coast, from Vermont to Washington state in a two-man event we dubbed “Not the Cannonball“. The car indeed lived up to expectations and then some (Well… There was a BIT of drama, as we had some brake repairs done, I got a speeding ticket, and we did spin off the road in a Montana blizzard.) We stopped at a rest area in North Dakota for my father to participate in a conference call, so I wandered about this prairie landscape and took some beauty shots of the “beautiful in a Teutonic sort of way” 450sl that we’ve affectionately dubbed “The Cruise Missile” for its ability to cover great distances at high speeds. Shot with the Lumix G1.


20. JCNA Slalom Setup
20. JCNA Slalom Setup

I’ve never considered myself a great “people photographer.” Occasionally though I produce good candid shots of people when I make an effort. I like the composition of this image, taken with the telephoto on the G1 during the setup phase of a Jaguar Clubs of North America Slalom competition in Vancouver, British Columbia last June. I like the combination of concentration and movement.


21. Two, Three, Four…
21. Two, Three, Four…

Early morning light on the address numbers on our house. Just one of those “wow, that is great light, I should grab the camera” moments. Shot with the Lumix G1.


22. XK DOHC Head.
22. XK DOHC Head.

This is not a posed studio shot. This photograph was made specifically to answer a technical question posed on a Jaguar E-type owners mailing list. A guy asked about the positions of certain washers on the cylinder head of the XK engine. I walked out to the barn, opened the door to let some light in, uncovered the car, opened the bonnet and snapped off a few shots. Perhaps it is an indicator of my years of composition study and eyepiece vision that this wonderful image resulted form that minimal effort. Shot with the Lumix G1.


23. Amilcar.
23. Amilcar.

An Amilcar seen at the Art Center School of Design Car Show in Pasadena, California in July. Shot with the G1. The “dull polished” aluminum really attracted me to this car. Too many car owners with aluminum bits over-polish them to a chrome-like state. In my opinion, polished aluminum looks best when not over-done, just as this car shows. By the way, I’m the guy in the big-brimmed hat and Hawaiian shirt.


24. Shilshole Bay after Sunset.
24. Shilshole Bay after Sunset.

Again, not a great photo, but a location that holds a special place in my heart. This is Shilshole Bay as seen on a late summer’s evening from Sunset Hill Park. I lived on Sunset Hill in Ballard for a huge part of my adult life and this spot is one of my favorite places on earth. This was shot with the Coolpix L11 and stitched together badly from three photos in Photoshop.


25. Auburn at the ACD Museum, Auburn, Indiana.
25. Auburn at the ACD Museum, Auburn, Indiana.

Dad & I detoured a few hours from the Not The Cannonball to visit the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana last October as we drove across the country. It was worth the effort as the museum was an amazing display of pre-war American automotive design. Really the best cars that America has ever produced. This was shot with the Lumix G1.

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