1939 Packard

Discussion in 'Seeking Critique' started by jc1305us, Aug 31, 2021.

  1. I love shooting cars, and this was a real treat. A 1939 Packard, with a touch of red, which was actually part of the original. I usually find cars tough to shoot, especially at a car show, but I thought this was well done. Thoughts? Thanks.

  2. Put a circular polarizer in your kit and use it to show some of the interior behind the glass. It will also give some "kick" to the paint... Otherwise. .. Damn Good Job !
    jc1305us likes this.
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Excellent photo. When I have the opportunity to photograph a car of this quality, even though the nature of car shows is such that you can't get a full image, I'll think about telling a story. Getting as many as a dozen clean "pieces", photos of parts of the car which describe it to someone who has never seen one. Showing the best half a dozen paints a picture of the entire car.
    jc1305us likes this.
  4. Appreciate your words. I know the “splash of color” thing was played out years ago, but I couldn’t resist, as I just felt like it needed something. Glad to see it went over well.
  5. I've cropped it and cloned out the reflection on the lower fender. Also darkened the foliage. I see the photo as being mainly of the spare wheel so I think more attraction needs to be drawn to it by reducing the distraction of the whitewall tire, hence the cropping. I love these old restored cars, I used to fix them, get rid of clutch shudder, diff whines etc. One guy brought his '37 Packard to me once with violent engine vibration, except it wasn't the engine, it was the clutch pressure plate out-of-balance. I thought it might be because those pressure plates have weights you can loosen and change their position to find smooth running. He was over the moon ... not sure he ever paid me for that job, but it was great seeing the old Packard running smoothly again.

    Cropped, just an idea, but a very nice close-up pic anyway.
  6. Thank you! Funny you should mention the fact that you used to work on these, the guy who owns it, (and 29 other classics) did all his own work he told me. Very down to earth guy, and a pleasure to speak with. He even let my daughter and sister in law sit in the car for photos.
    dcstep likes this.
  7. For me, the red is a bigger pull on my eyes than the whitewall. I like the way the scale of the whitewall in the original grounds the photo. It also emphasizes the perspective, which I think adds to the iconic nature of what we're looking at, both in terms of the subject and the photo. You did a nice job on the blacks and whites and I like the included branches above. This has a classic feel. The red, for me, sells it short. The photo doesn't need it.
    jc1305us likes this.
  8. While I do have minor reservations about the brilliance of the "splash," but what's not to like?
    jc1305us likes this.
  9. This is the original photo. The red really is that red!

  10. Just about every example from Google Images that I found for a 1939 Packard shows the hubcaps have the red, on the wheels and the continental kit. I even grey scaled jc's picture and cloned over the red. Works both ways for me. Again, Damn Good Job !
    jc1305us likes this.
  11. Wow, it sure is. Thanks for sharing the original. Helps put it into context. And also suggests something to me about photography. While reflecting reality and a sense of accuracy surely both have their place and it can be an important one, it's not always the case that a distinctly accurate portrayal of a subject or scene makes for an optimal photo or photo experience. In my opinion, of course.
    jc1305us likes this.
  12. Well this speaks to me. I like to shoot old things, cars & motorcycles specifically- more than most anything else. In my own work, I don't often make any attempt to capture an entire vehicle. So I applaud your detail shot. The treatment doesn't bother me so much, and as one who doesn't do a lot of post processing, I kinda like it as is. That red bit does blast out there a bit strongly but IMO the overall impact of the monochrome adequately offsets the red splash.

    I think that a single image like this is fine- but a series of detail shots would paint a more complete picture- not that in my mind that's 100% necessary, but some may prefer seeing more of the car than just a single bit of it. That said, as presented it makes a nice photo. I like the way the various curves mirror one another, too. That ?parking lot paint stripe? reflected in the fender doesn't bother me either BTW... I'm one who tends to shoot things as found and just let it go. I might have tried to find an angle that would eliminate that bit, then again I might not have. IF I was shooting digital, I'd probably shoot many photos and sort through them to find a few I like best- BUT I mostly shoot film, so fewer shots and deal with imperfections. If the overall photo is 99% on, then 1% of imperfection IMO isn't going to kill it. And of course the options of cropping or PP always exist- if things bother you enough AND you have the skills to "fix" things.

    Finally, IMO there's enough here to lend an overall sense of the style of cars in the late 1920s and 1930s. As a general motorhead type, I'm both somewhat familiar with the design aesthetic of the era and I am satisfied with the "snippet".

    Overall- nice photo. Thanks for posting.
    jc1305us likes this.
  13. "perfect" photos are often quite uninspiring. One man's imperfection is another's bit of added texture, intrigue, and lack of idealism.

    "Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."
    —Marilyn Monroe
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  14. This is the problem with shooting at a car show. Cars pulling in next to or behind the car you’re shooting, cards in the windshield, etc. this is where the detail shots come in. Had to crop in tight to lose the Toyota pulling in behind the packard 4123BCA5-CA85-4C87-A04D-04BA27A77156.jpeg
  15. A classic car can be part of a bigger narrative and still be a good subject. Isolation isn't the only answer to creating an interesting subject. Working with the context you have can be challenging but also rewarding when you get the balance right and tell a story about your subject, even if it's an up-to-date story about a classic.

    You can't always get what you might want, but sometimes you can get something unexpected that works as well or better than what you had in mind.

    Trying to hide outside influences on a subject is often a difficult and unsatisfying task, though sometimes it's worth it and does work. The interesting thing about avoiding context is that it's usually obvious from the photo that it was taken in such a way or cropped in such a way so as to avoid "distractions" or "imperfections." And, so, in trying to avoid that context, even though it's not shown, the context makes its presence felt by the way it's absent. Your first shot doesn't give me that feel. The shot just above definitely feels tightly cropped in order to hide stuff. I'm as aware of that as I am of the subject.
    jc1305us likes this.
  16. Amazing red spot. Thanks for the further information for those of us not in the Packard class, though I did, as a kid, occasionally walk by the dealership in the middle 50s. But that was not the car built in Detroit
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
    Ricochetrider and jc1305us like this.
  17. LOL. There you have it. If that’s what you want to express or what you want a viewer to take away from your photo, you’ve accomplished it. If the overall design or feel of the car or some more holistic aspect of the photo was important to you, this critique may tell you something, as positive as it appears to be …
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  18. Wouldn’t say I was hoping people would see a red dot and say “wow!” But that it would brighten a photo that I thought was a bit lacking for something, whatever it was. On the other hand, the red draws the viewer to the packard logo, indicating the vehicle make, which, as Bob Ross would have said, is a “happy little accident”
    samstevens likes this.
  19. The red was also in the center of the bumperettes. The red was just part of the overall original factory paint scheme, an added touch if you like, not uncommon for that period. In the photo however, the red on the hubcap looks as if it was added via Photoshop's "Bucket Fill", and may confuse some viewers. But it's testimony to the quality restoration work of the restorer that it looks so neat on the actual car. To my mind, the quality of the photography should really match, and complement the high quality of the restoration. I feel that your photo has achieved that quite adequately. I used to try to do the same, I have two albums of restored veteran and classic cars, which hold only the very best photos I was capable of taking at the time. I took my time with every shot, appreciating the sweat and tears that go into car restorations.

    Your pic of the front of the Packard is quite good also IMO, and I don't think anyone would mind had the headlights been fully included, which I'm sure it needed, even with some side distractions, but I can't see there would have been many, or been all that obtrusive. Nevertheless it's a fine impactful shot which strongly emphasizes that classic grill design and winged mascot - Great stuff, thanks for posting those pics, they bring back fond memories of my days when working on old cars.
  20. You would have LOVED the owner of this car, he was a true craftsman. Owned and restored 29 other classics, many "brass" cars. Very unassuming guy, who loved the fact that my family and I were oohing and ahhhing over this beauty!

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