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The Open Road

Posted by
Ian Bramham (Manchester, United Kingdom) on 8 September 2008 in Transportation and Portfolio.

Ford have come a long way from the Model T....this is their new Focus Cabriolet.

This is a photo taken using an extreme wide angle lens with a 10 stop neutral density filter fitted to the front to allow a long shutter speed of 8 seconds to be used.

The camera is fixed to a sturdy tripod that is secured in the back of the car and is triggered with a wireless remote. This means that everything in the car is sharp as the camera moves together with the car but everything outside is blurred.

NIKON D40 8 seconds F/8.0 ISO 200 15 mm (35mm equiv.)

Like what you see here and are interested in photographic composition?.....the blog section of my website now has a complete set of 5 articles covering my personal approach to the subject: Ian Bramham Photography - Blog

For purchasing high quality archival prints of any of these photos you can send me an email by clicking here or by going to my website Ian Bramham - Fine Art Photography where prices are listed in the gallery sections under each individual photo.

Laura from Eindhoven, Netherlands

Absolutely amazing shot! The long exposure definitly does it!

8 Sep 2008 10:13am

@Laura: Thanks Laura!

Alfredo J. Martiz J. from Panama City, Panama


8 Sep 2008 10:17am

@Alfredo J. Martiz J.: Thanks Alfredo!

yz from Budapest, Hungary

This would make a great advertising photo

8 Sep 2008 11:16am

@yz: Thanks yz!

Laurie from New Jersey, United States

Really well done. That road must have been pretty smooth or that car has an awesome suspension and really smooth ride for such a crisp shot at 8 seconds. Or were you traveling very, very slowly? Impressive.

8 Sep 2008 11:23am

@Laurie: Thanks Laurie.....this the second time I've tried this type of photo and both times it was really easy. The best way to set up the tripod is to have two of the legs in the footwell - set at a wide angle, one wedged tight behind each seat. The third leg is kept short and rests on the rear seat cushion.

As for speed, it isn't important to be travelling fast - I think I was travelling at between 40 and 50mph but it would have still worked at a slower speed I'm sure. The road actually felt quite bumpy but it doesn't seem to have affected the sharpness too much.

Rob from Mount Joy, United States

awesome idea! i wonder if my wife will let me rig it up in our car?! i'll tell her "the photoblog made me do it."

Great shot and wonder detail in the car... operation by remote - autofocus or manual focused prior to shutter release?

8 Sep 2008 11:25am

@Rob: Thanks Rob!

I set the camera up and took a few test shots then switched the camera settings to fully manual before setting off - autofocus was disabled and exposure locked at the trial shot settings. I used the tiny Nikon infra-red ML-L3 remote to trigger the shutter.

I'm pretty sure the wide angle lens is key to this photo (this is a Sigma 10-20 at it's fully wide setting) as it also has a great depth of field. The other one is having a good solid tripod that will lock up nice and tight to minimise any camera shake.

Momo from Montpellier, France

jeez, these are fun shots your car shots as much as the landscapes...

8 Sep 2008 12:08pm

@Momo: Thanks have you been keeping?

IanSmith from London, United Kingdom

Nice one Ian... Have you taken any whilst going around a corner (so the blur moves to the side more)?

You're a brave man to have the top down in the north of England recently (such dreadful weather). :o)

8 Sep 2008 12:33pm

@IanSmith: Hi Ian!

This was quite a fast sweeping 'A' road in the Lake District so there were no really tight turns however I did try it on some of the bendy bits but it didn't produce blur more on one side than the other....all it diid was result in shots where my hands and arms are blurry. I did manage some shots which have some of the effects you describe but they resulted from sections of the road which had heavy tree cover on the near side.

GJC from Kyoto, Japan

I remember the "original" of these shots you took some time ago, and it still hasn't lost anything. It's not only an enormously clever idea, it's a beautiful panorama of color as well. Very inventive.

8 Sep 2008 12:33pm

@GJC: Thanks GJC!....the chance to try this photo with an open top car was too good to miss. I wish though that I'd thought of turning on the dashboard lights.

MadScientist from Düsseldorf, Germany

That's a very cool 'time tunnel' effect, really great!

8 Sep 2008 12:40pm

@MadScientist: Thanks....I was pleased with the way the sky came out!

Angelique from Netherlands

Amazing effect and still so many details in it!
Great work.

8 Sep 2008 1:18pm

@Angelique: Thanks Angelique...the first time that I tried this type of photo I was amazed that there wasn't more blur of the parts of the image inside the car.

hugo poon from hong kong, Hong Kong

Oh Ian you've done it again... and this one is just as amazing and fascinating!! Have you thought of trying this at night too?:-)

8 Sep 2008 1:41pm

@hugo poon: Hi Hugo....:-)

I couldn't pass up the chance of trying this again in an open top car, especially now I've got this great new 10 stop nd filter to allow me to try it in daylight.

Loretta from San Mateo, United States

Just the idea of it all. To think it through and then excute it so well. The planning really shows through. Very nice photo

8 Sep 2008 1:50pm

@Loretta: Thanks's actually very easy to do!

Daryl from Amagasaki, Japan

Very cool stuff!

8 Sep 2008 2:19pm

@Daryl: Thanks Daryl!

Betsy Barron from Glenmoore, United States

oh my this does put my post to shame I'm afraid!! nice work!! I would love to try this in a convertible to get that amazing sky

8 Sep 2008 2:33pm

@Betsy Barron: Thanks Betsy....this was a borrowed car but I couldn't pass up the chance to try this shot in a convertible. I've tried it before in my own car which is a people carrier with a glass roof which is almost as good:

Pouhou from Apeldoorn, Netherlands

your second attemps it's also a catchy

8 Sep 2008 2:35pm

@Pouhou: Thanks Pouhou!

Vink from Grasse - French riviera, France

Excellent job ; nice movement shot

8 Sep 2008 2:46pm

@Vink: Thanks Vink!

Michael Skorulski from Cigel, Slovakia

Action with wonderful fine detail. An excellent combination, Ian. Really creative work.

8 Sep 2008 4:14pm

@Michael Skorulski: Thanks Michael!

DonLon from Providence, RI, United States

Great shot! Love the action in it. But I think you have flipped it! the wheel is on the wrong side! Attention to detail1 ;-)

8 Sep 2008 4:20pm

@DonLon: Thanks :-)

Rui from Leiria, Portugal

Fantastic shot. Really creative. And thanks for sharing the technique with us. Very well done Ian

8 Sep 2008 7:37pm

@Rui: Thanks's very easy to do. Give it a try for yourself!

Margie from Auckland, New Zealand

Super cool shot, Ian! I agree with yz, it's a great advertising photo. I think you should offer it to Ford for an extravagant amount!

8 Sep 2008 8:17pm

@Margie: :-) Thanks Margie....that would be great wouldn't it!

Ted from South Wales, United Kingdom

Nice job YZ I can see Ford making use of this?

8 Sep 2008 8:36pm

@Ted: Thanks Ted....I'd be tempted to say that that kind of thing only happens in films by Walt Disney except I know someone on Flickr that it actually happened to (he's a much better photographer than me however:

dj.tigersprout from San Bruno, CA, United States

just a wonderful concept and brilliant result! bravo! and congrats on the spotlight! welcome back too by the way! :)

9 Sep 2008 12:23am

@dj.tigersprout: Thanks for letting me know it was on the spotlight page....I missed that!

Michael from TX, United States

Very cool shot, I have never seen one of these images taken inside of a convertible. Very impressive.

9 Sep 2008 3:08am

@Michael: Thanks Michael!

Double KK Photography from West Richland, United States

very very cool photo

9 Sep 2008 3:59am

@Double KK Photography: Thanks!

Vincent Bertrand from Montréal, Canada

Very interesting effect, and good composition.
Your steering wheel is on the wrong side ;) Those English people always need to be different!
How fast were you driving, just for fun?

9 Sep 2008 6:21am

@Vincent Bertrand: Thanks! don't need high speed to get these images. I guess I was driving at between 40 and 50mph.


really nice

9 Sep 2008 6:51am

@MOHAMMAD: Thanks Mohammad!

Ana Lúcia from Leiria, Portugal


9 Sep 2008 7:30am

@Ana Lúcia: Thanks Ana!

Giovanni from Milan, Italy

amazing shot! it looks like you are driving the Enterprise ;-)

9 Sep 2008 11:42am

Russ Devan from New Hanover, United States

Excellent shot, Ian. It's interesting that the wind didn't cause any tripod/camera movement. There's only one change I would have made and that would have been to turn on the lights on the dash. I'd be afraid of trying a shot like this and disclosing to everyone just how fast I actually drive!

9 Sep 2008 5:20pm

tom from Frankfurt, Germany

The motion blur generates quite a feeling of speed.

9 Sep 2008 7:33pm

Eleftheria! from Athens, Greece

Fantastic and congratulations!

10 Sep 2008 8:40am

hesam from Qazvin, Iran

great & wonderful & nice shot

10 Sep 2008 10:13pm

Kylie Greenan from Richmond, Australia

WOW, amazing work Ian, I love the reflection of you driving, very cool. It looks like a great car... thanks for the explaination on how you did that, now if I could just figure out how to chop the roof off my subaru I will get to work :o) Congratulations!

11 Sep 2008 12:04pm

Jerry from Malang, Indonesia

I don't have any words to say.... just... VERY-BEST-GOOD-NICE JOB...

12 Sep 2008 3:05am

Shawna from Regina, Canada

This is a great image. Thanks for sharing how you did it.

12 Sep 2008 5:28am

Evi from Athens, Greece

Really outstanding, congrats!

12 Sep 2008 9:41am

navin harish from India

Very nice shot. It iws nice to read how you took it

15 Sep 2008 7:56am

Francesc B. from région parisienne, France

A great idea... I like this pic and your feeling... and the car too !!! Thank you for sharing your explanations...
and thanks for adding me... my blogwatch is full , but you are on my VFXY favorites...
regards from Paris

15 Sep 2008 11:45am

shoti from Everywhere in the, Philippines

great idea, indeed!

12 Oct 2008 5:29am

Phototherapy from Switzerland

Great work - impressive standpoint, I like it a lot SwissCharles

15 Oct 2008 9:15pm

claire from France

I love this picture, a very good point of view, the sky is so "ireal" ( sorry for my english ), but well done!!!

14 Nov 2008 9:52am

8 seconds
ISO 200
15 mm (35mm equiv.)