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Automotion 2018

A Photographer's Vehicular Playground


Your belovèd car would look great through my camera lens. Give me a shout. It's what I do (... one of the things).


It absolutely would not be an open-air, mid-day, full-sun shoot, despite most of the photos which follow here, from Automotion in Brockville in early August.


The short version:

  • I had a blast!

  • the lighting was impossible, but that's when a photographer must bring something to the shoot;

  • there were people everywhere, which is good for the producers of Automotion, but frankly it was not always practical to wait for a clear shot;

  • I talk a lot about backgrounds, and again there was limited scope here, but again, that's when a photographer must find a way;

  • I was not alone, meaning that I saw cameras big and small at every turn - I would love to see the work of some other photographers, much of which I am sure would be spectacular. I wonder about collecting it all in one place in an organized manner.


For a photographer looking for shapes, angles, textures ... everything about composition ... look no further than an automobile exhibition!


The story is that the Thousands Islands Street Machine Association runs a number of events every year, but the crowning and defining moment comes on the Sunday of the August long weekend at Blockhouse Island in Downtown Brockville.. They call it Automotion. They had well over 400 vehicles on exhibit this year, and goodness knows how many thousands of visitors came to see them - quite the day's entertainment for only $5!


It can overwhelm me with that where-do-I-start feeling, but then of course one just walks around, stopping when interested, or concentrating on specific sections if so compelled, because naturally the vehicles are grouped by theme. The owners in general are very happy to talk.


Sponsors contribute to the event, often in the way of prizes and trophies, there is judging by category, there is food and drink available, and there is a live music band.


But the main thing I'm quite sure for most visitors is of course the vehicles. I present only a small sample of very personal choices.


This is representative, not that there is any vehicle is necessarily like any other, but the owner has taken an old car and put a wild engine in it - and had it painted and then polished to within an inch of its life! Gorgeous? I think so. Interesting? No question.


The hippy owners of this VW Peace-Love-Happiness van should just get jobs and start contributing something to society!!! Oh wait, am I old enough to be that grumpy? I didn't meet them, but I'm sure they're very nice people and they certainly have the gumption to have gussied this number up imaginatively and expertly! I loved the homage to the '60s (I guess).


Even the engine in this VW van was psychedelic (and the lid open, definitely part of the visual feast!).


And this is what happens in my photo-editing software when I apply "Glowing Edges" - much I'm sure as that generation saw it when they were on a "road trip"!


This owner apparently didn't have room on the dashboard, or didn't want to deface it, so added in all of the extra gauges, which he or she thought that the pumped-up engine deserved, on the outside of the car, just in front of the windshield wipers.


I gotta' get me one of those! (Step-ladder not included.)


Every self-respecting car show needs a few staples, such as a Lamborghini.


"Why," one of my favourite people asks in a state of minor desperation, "would you take a picture of a ... a ... a car engine?!?"

Because they're beautiful.


Another staple: the Chevy Corvette. There were many of them there, old and new. Only one had quite the drama of this paint job.


Speaking of graphics, there was a lot of death around. I don't quite get this, but the following represent only a fraction of what I saw. Granted, the artistic prowess in all cases was impressive.


Ram's skull.


Really well-done graphics of ... human skulls.


Not all of the graphics had such a dark theme.


This was by no means the only BMW in the show - but I think it was the only Isetta!


Lots of BelAirs - all really nice. Technical photography note: this is one way to cut through some of the clutter, isolating the subject from an overly-busy background of other cars and people, and capture some of the essence of the lines and the gleam ... but it does require cooperative knees.


A very old pickup truck, again from ground level.


Again, there are many compelling details, which also helps with clutter, and this for example shows part of the engine, body graphics, a reflection including a shy owner ... and more!


This is the whole vehicle whose fender is shown in the previous picture. I pale to think of the work (and money) involved to get a vehicle looking like this. "Catfish", they call her. And ... there's the owner. Shy or not, I told her, you bring your vehicle to an event like this, you're going to get into the photo! (I'm sure she'll get over it.)


I wondered what the Peace Women might have been thinking about this car show erupting all around them.


The motif on this Cadillac shows up once in a while, and I have to discover exactly but it certainly looks intentional. A truly rusty old vehicle like that would be falling apart, and these are all completely intact. Notice the discordantly gleaming wheels. The body-lowering is surely also a refurbishing choice made by the owner.


And just a splash of immaculate graphics around the hood-emblem, on the "rust" of this Cadillac.


Many of the vehicles arrive on their own tires, but the rusty old Cadillac's license - staying within the paint scheme! - is unlikely to be valid, and I imagine that the car was trailered in.


I was there at Automotion with a friend, and he was very patient and understanding about my photography, plus very knowledgeable about old vehicles, which certainly added to the experience.


He has a personal connection to the Pontiac Beaumont, a much less common vehicle than some others. There were lots of (lovely) Chevelles and Novas, but he said, "We have a project: we're going to find a Beaumont." It took some searching but find one we did.


Beaumont. This fellow owns an automotive restoration business, so of course doing his own vehicle took close to a decade (customers come first!).


Again, sometimes the beauty is as much in the details as in the entirety.