I’ve always loved classic cars… I had a 1966 Mustang for a number of years, but I sold it to get the down payment on my first house. I still go to car shows once in a while and usually bring a film camera along to rip through a roll or two. It’s probably considered cliche now, but I really do enjoy shooting these older cars on film.

I have spent a lot of time in the past shooting custom cars and motorcycles, but I still really enjoy going to these shows to see what else is out there. 

I discovered this unbelievable Concours d’Elegance show near where we keep the sailboat, on Vancouver Island, BC. It’s one of the best car shows in the Pacific Northwest with people bringing their cars from all over the Pacific Northwest.

I decided to take the day and walk around the grounds with my Mamiya RZ67 kit, tripod and an assortment of emulsions. The colour emulsions I ended up shooting with were Ektar 100 and Lomo CN100.

The trouble with a packed car show, is getting images that don’t have people crowded around the cars, or at least in the background of the images. I like detail shots, which eliminates a lot of the people, but sometimes you just want a full-length car image. Enter, long exposures… a great way to remove a lot of the distractions from the frame. Unlike a usual car/bike session, I can’t ask people to stay out of the frame, I can’t reposition the vehicle and I can’t choose the time of day. So, longer exposures can help give a little different look than just a standard car show grab shot. 

I brought my Lee Filters kit and bellows, so that I could really extend the exposure times. I used an ND2000 and an ND64 to get me between -11 and -17 stops.

For a single frame, I added a gradient ND to reduce the sky further when shooting a classic Mercedes-Benz limousine. Taking reciprocity failure into consideration, some of my exposures at midday were in the 1-2 minute range. 

Thanks for reading,

~ Ryan

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About the author

I'm a full-time portrait/commercial photographer. In the last 2 years, I've slowly migrated almost my entire workflow to film. I'm currently living on a sailboat on the Pacific Ocean, shooting and developing aboard.

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  1. Hmmm … I see a “grosser Mercedes” 600 there, in the requisite black, powered by the infamously difficult 6.3 V8 with Bosch mechanical injection. Worked in MB service during the 1970s, and we had a wealthy customer who owned one of these “for ceremonial use”. Anytime it arrived at the shop (which was fairly frequently) I tried to hide. A veritable beast with engineering some years well ahead of manufacturing capability.