The Second Part Of The Down Shot Saga

on May 03, 2015
Okay. We've resolved never to crawl up a ladder ever again. But the perspective of the down shot still intrigues us.

At a car show, you can get some pretty good perspective shots from the front or back quarter of he vehicle. Also from dead on front and back. You can sometimes get useful interior shots - if the owner has left the side window down. There are even secret techniques to get good interior shots when the window is up...but those will be revealed on

Unfortunately the quarter shots of cars taken with standard or moderate wide angle lenses can compress the look of the cars and deny their real beauty. If you don't believe me, go try taking a front quarter shot of a Lightburn Zeta or a Trabant. Not exactly front cover of WHEELS, is it? You just don't see how sleek and powerful they really are...

The new/old trick I noted from some of the 1950's hot rod magazines was the oblique high angle shot. The staff photographers were doing it to highlight the custom paint jobs on some of the American cars of the time and they needed to show a long body. I suspect that either they parked the cars near the edge of their building and climbed onto the roof - or put up a tall builder's ladder and balanced on top of that. The reproduced photos might be faded now - and some of the hairstyles on the models seem ridiculous - but the cars look fabulous.

Wind forward to Whiteman Park yesterday and the Vintage Car Show. Normally the Fujifilm X100 and the Metz flash do a good quarter shot. A good side shot if there is space between the vehicles. All dependent upon the crowds...

This time I added the idea of the high angle oblique. No chance for a ladder - thank goodness - but I could take along a Manfrotto monopod with a Manfrotto 234 monopod tilt head. I set the camera to 2 second self timer and hauled it up. The aiming of the camera was a little hit and mis - maybe three shots for one that was perfect. But look at the difference in makes with the Austin Healy sports car.

Further experiments will follow at other car shows - the Fujifilm X-E2 has a wifi capability that is coupled to an app allowing the camera to be sighted and fired from a iPad or an iPhone. It might work...