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Tuesday, 26 February 2013


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RE: Car photos

Precisely why I reserve judgement on cars until I see them in the sheetmetal. Most recent example was the Leaf - I was interested from published specs and had a neutral reaction to photos, but a strong negative reaction to the car in person. Just too hentai for me. Sticking to the MINI (BMW made and, IMHO, more of a successor to the 2002 than anything with a BMW nameplate in their current lineup) for now.

Only one battery! Really. :)

[I have a great many batteries. They just all go to different cameras, is all.

I even have an area of my basement set aside as a charging station, where all the various chargers are hooked up or plugged into to a power strip. --Mike]

That Mazda is very shiny, and there are a lot of overhead lights and reflective surfaces in that room. I wonder if it would photograph better if it had a matte finish and were outside?

A lot of car designers seems to struggle with the area joining the A-pillar, the hood and the front fender. This Mazda 6 may be a bit better than some but still looks like a patch of blob...

[I agree that's the weak point, but see it in person before you judge. --Mike]

Not sure about the color, but I can see the shape better in this series:


Does that do it any more justice?

Thank you for the tip on November. I love it when something in History is brought back to life and given a presence in Now. You see scores to movies being recontructed and recorded for a modern audience. Or those old scores having new recordings for a full sound spectrum, and not just copied from wire or 78 discs. I would like to suggest a recent film music favorite: The Film Music of Brian Easdale. It includes a new recording with faithful instrumentation of the Red Shoes Ballet. It was hearing the other pieces on the album that some new favorites were discovered.

A friend is on his second Mazda 6, though not the latest model, and his and my experience of them is that they are indeed first-rate cars. The latest one may well be another step up in the game.

That's good, since the old 626 was kind of a boat and not very pleasant at all.

When I am king, this is the first law that I will pass, "All automobile and motorcycle shows with more than twenty vehicles shall have soft, daylight balanced, high CRI, seamless, ceiling lighting. Hard, harsh, and otherwise nasty lighting shall be punishable by three years in a Nissan Versa."

Re your auto show visit - so "saloon" is English (you must mean the Queen's English, or British English) for "sedan"? Shows how little I know. I was at the Toyota showroom on Odaiba Island in Tokyo with my expat daughter a few years ago and we saw a high-end car called the "Royal Saloon." I chalked it up to "bad Engrish," figuring that they meant something like "salon." After all, why would Toyota name a top car in its model line after a dirty low-class American drinking establishment?

I also understand your comment about how some people photograph well and others don't. I like to say that there are some people I simply cannot take a bad picture of, and there are some I simply cannot take a good picture of.

And Steve - I bought a Nissan Leaf, and absolutely love it. My 40 mile / 60 km round-trip commute falls comfortably within its 70 mi / 100 km (EPA rated) battery range. What I can't stand is how some women have told me what a cute little car it is! I don't think they have a clue it's electric. Guess it's a good test of how secure I am with my masculinity.

Sorry Mike, but from your photo, the Mazda 6 looks like a Buick. Guess I'll have to see one in the flesh.

[That's what I'm saying.... --Mike]

It's not you, it's not the car, it's the lightng.

That's why they need those 20-foot overhead softboxes and two or three major stand lights with diffusion to do car photos for advertising.

And, the impressive outdoor shots of cars are most often done under light overcast skies, often with a bit of ground level fill -- naturally occurring soft white reflections or something carted in for the purpose.

The Mazda is a really fine, restrained bit of design. All the right lines and none of the recent Japanese trend toward comic book futurism.

Funnily the US and European market car models that go by the same name differ in looks. And tech I suppose. I have a 2008 European Mazda 6 and a new 2013 model is being released right now and neither looks like that car.

[I don't know what you're looking at, but the U.S. and European Mazda 6 is the same design. --Mike]

....eulogized in the Times....

But not in The Times.

As the owner of a 2010 Mazda 3 sedan (the Sport model with the 2.5 and 6spd manual) I have to say that the new 6 looks really good. Of course anyone should take my opinion with a grain of salt because I think the current 3 is a great looking car too. I just don't "see" the big gaping mouth when I look at the front of it like some other people do.

Were you using a CP filter? I find it's a key piece of gear when going to the auto show.

[I should have, but no, I don't own one for this lens. --Mike]

The Mazda 6 looks sweet to me. A big step up from the 1980s GLS Sport that I drove for many years. I think you captured the essence of the car just fine. I've been watching Mazda's DNA evolve over the years, and I am intrigued by their current lineup. You are being a bit self-deprecating regarding your photo of the car. If tales a 12' X 8' softbox, and smaller ones, flats, flags, etc and access to a cyclorama painted white to really capture the essence of a nicely shaped automobile. A lot of images scene in advertisements are CGI renderings from CAD files.

The Mazda looks better than our 2004 Accord, though it has hints of Buick and a touch of carp nose in the photos. But at only 82,000 miles and all paid off, I'll have to wait until whatever they have in maybe 2016 or 17 to get excited. I do like that they've improved the mileage on this sedan (38 highway I read) and that they plan to bring in an even more efficient diesel version.

Is that the 2013 or 2014? They both seem to have been released at the same time, but it is the 2014 that is catching all the buzz.

[My bad. Fixed now. Thanks! --Mike]

Get lower, get closer. And no matter what, the lighting is still bad, but that ain't your fault.

Like movies, I rarely pass judgement on any car before seeing and driving it myself. Mike, two days ago you told me Mazdas are underpowered. Do you think the new 6 will be underpowered if we actually get the new diesel powerplant? This car has certainly piqued my interest.

[I think it's certainly likely to be, but I'll be good and reserve judgment. Following your lead. --Mike]

Some cars are just like that. I didn't think the new Ferrari 458 Italia was attractive until I saw it in the flesh, where it was clear it's a stunner.

On another note more photographic, you've inadvertantly overlooked some very important news today, which is that Adobe has new versions of ACR and Lightroom 4.4 out in "release candidate" form that most notably provides much improved raw conversion support for for Fuji X-Trans sensor cameras, including the new Fujifilm X100S and X20 cameras, which, BTW, have yet to see any mention of here at TOP, even though they received considerable attention at CES.

This is fantastic news for Fuji X-Trans users; the link is here:

Lastly, Mike, where is your continued editoral coverage of the new, and getting much closer to perfect, DMDs? You waxed so poetically about them for years, but now that you've got the Nikon D800, DMD commentary has been rather thin on the ground of late.

Perhaps the answer is they may only be a few weeks away! The X100S and X20 ship soon. ;-)

A bit of Buick in the design is not such a bad thing. A few of the recent Buicks have been decently styled. Mazda has been the most consistent of the Japanese companies. They're so lucky they lost whosis to Renault. He made interesting show cars that didn't work as production models (see Mazda 5 flanks for evidence.) I'm hoping the Mazda6 sells better. It should with those looks. The CX5 is apparently doing well, so there is hope for Mazda.

Thanks for the November tip, I'll be buying that. For anyone that is into music, Kyle Gann has an interesting webpage. If you think an octave is made up of twelve equally spaced semitones try his page on "Alternate Tunings". Ross Duffin's book and articles are good too.

Thanks for the link to "November". I never paid attention to minimalist music before. In the first minute I was suspecting it was just a gimmick, but then I found myself drawn into it.
But then I would occasionally miss one or two trains at the Kendall "T" stop while playing with the musical sculpture :)

I agree with Steve: lower, closer, and if I may say, wider. My car show work became printable, in my (humble amateur) opinion, when I went from 28mm to 20mm. (Note that I shoot outdoor enthusiast shows, not indoor new vehicle promotion shows.)

"I don't know what you're looking at, but the U.S. and European Mazda 6 is the same design. --Mike"

Sorry, you are probably right. The first pictures of the European model I have seen made it look different, but today I saw it at a car retailer and they do really look like that.

(However, US and EU models by the same name often do look different.)

The Mazda 6 does indeed look much better in person than in pictures. But the real problem is that it's not the Mazda Shinari on which it is, in part, based:


Now that's a beautiful car. The 6 looks a little like they put it in a vise and compressed it front to back. Still, it's a very pretty car in person.

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