By Paul Pollock
I have too many hobbies. Can’t help it! I won’t list them here other than to tell you about two of them: photography and Corvettes.
I first started actively photographing Corvettes around 2001, when I was putting material together for my Corvette Story web site that went live in 2005. Currently, the Corvette photos folder on my computer has almost 60,000 files and I estimate about 80% of them are photographs I’ve taken since 2001.
1960 Corvette in Horizon BlueClose
Usually I’m a “save the best for last” kinda guy, but this time I’ll start with my favorite. Mind you that when I say favorite I mean my favorite today. Next week it might be a different photo; I never offer any consistency guarantees.
Not sure exactly where to start, so I think we'll start with the early years. There is a lot to like about the C1 Corvette and a favorite for me is the C1 interiors, specifically 1958 to 1962.
1958 thru 1962 Corvette dashboards are an absolute styling highlight and a favorite subject for me and my camera.
My technique here is to just stick my camera into the interior (convertibles with the top down works best) and, with the shutter in continuous mode, just click away. With some practice you'll get good at aiming the camera. You will of course, end up with a lot of wasted shots but the good ones make it worthwhile. Also, it is considered good practice to ask the Corvette owners' permission.
1960 Corvette InteriorClose
1957 Corvette C1 Steering WheelClose
1958 Corvette InteriorClose
1960 Corvette C1 Steering Wheel CloseupClose
Corvette C2 Taillight Bumper ReflectionClose
C2 Corvette taillights reflect nicely in the chrome bumpers.
Ask a Corvette owner what they most like to do in their Corvette and the usual answer is "Drive It!" But it's difficult to get a photo to convey that message. Most car photographs have a problem: The car looks like it is parked.
Motion Blur is my favorite automotive photographers trick. Basically, you lower the shutter speed and then follow the car with the camera as it travels in front of you. If all goes well, the car is in focus and the background is blurry. The tricky part is keeping the camera movement smooth; any variation will ruin the shot. For this reason, the yield on motion blur photographs is low.
1968 Chevrolet Corvette in Safari Yellow Motion Blur PhotographClose
This photo of my own 1968 Corvette (spousal unit was behind the camera) used motion blur to convey speed. Shutter speed was 1/50th second, slow enough to blur the background.
2014 C7 Corvette Willow Springs International Raceway - Motion BlurClose
Torch Red 2014 C7 Corvette motion blur taken at Willow Springs International Raceway. Shutter was at 1/30 second. I stood in the hot desert sun for almost four hours looking for this shot; as I said the yield for this kind of photograph is low. But the results make it worthwhile.
2016 Corvette in Laguna Blue Tintcoat at MPG Track DayClose
Another shot of a C7 at Willow Springs International Raceway. Notice that the Corvette is sharp with no blurred lines at the front fender vents but the background and wheels are blurred illustrating the speed. Shutter: 1/160 sec; F/9; ASA 100; lens: 70 mm.
The Golden Hour
In photography, lighting is everything. But more is not necessarily better; mid-day sun often makes for terrible photographs as glare is a problem and shadows are sharp and cause details to disappear.
The golden hour is about twenty minutes after sunrise or before sunset. The lighting becomes redder and softer as the sunlight has to travel further through the atmosphere and becomes more diffused.
2018 Chevrolet Corvette Carbon 65 Edition photographed during Golden HourClose
Above: 2019 Corvette Carbon 65 Edition photograph courtesy of GM. A classic Golden Hour photograph.
2016 Blade Silver Convertible at Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park also during the Golden Hour.
1984 Corvette C4 Lead PhotoClose
This GM sourced photograph is the lead photo in our 1984 Corvette page. It's a good example of a Golden Hour image, with the sun low in the sky. But look at the headlight buckets which are not even with the hood, a problem compounded by the low angle of the sun. The photo was of an early production Corvette and such distortions are common at that stage.