Friday, December 12, 2014

Big Willie's Garage

Last month, I had the pleasure of spending some time at a local shop to take photos for a magazine feature. This was a great opportunity for me to shoot something I was passionate about for publication, so I couldn't pass it up. Originally planned as a "run-and-gun' editorial style shoot using natural lighting, I just couldn't resist bringing some studio lights along to help make the cars sparkle and add some drama to the shots.  My buddy Scott Folsom is a pro with years of lighting experience, and after a little begging and a cup of coffee, I talked him into helping out on the shoot. Hope Carlton was my contact at the magazine, and was also there to assist with styling and making sure we got everything we needed for the article.

We started the shoot around James's beautifully restored and customized classic Dodge Challenger.  This car looked great from almost every angle, and was a jewel against the open garage door of the shop. Once we got the obligatory car shot out of the way, we took pics of the crew and shop owners Willie and Kaylie Davis. We moved around the shop, taking pics of cars and machinery. The old-fashioned antique lathe was especially interesting, tho not very photogenic.  I think metal work is a lost art, and anyone who appreciates it and can apply it to customizing cars is a role model in my book.

"Big Willie" Davis and crew do some amazing work, customizing and restoring a huge variety of hot rods and muscle. The shop guys were all very pleasant, eager to share stories of their customized cars and help out any way they could.  I'm a car guy, so this shoot was a blast. James, Justin, Donovan and Willie all were great and very accommodating, showing us a lot of the interesting gear the shop has to offer. Doing at least some fabricating for most of their big builds, they can weld, build or even lathe almost anything you could ever desire for a car.

A big thank you to everyone at Big Willie's Garage and Grand Valley Magazine for this opportunity and a special thanks to Scott for the assist. The entire shoot was a great experience, and I'm really looking forward to doing more like this in the near future!

Several of the finished photos are published in a 7 page feature on Big Willie's Garage in the December issue of Grand Valley Magazine (Page 130). 

Check out all 21 high-res shots from the shoot HERE.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New prints now available for purchase!

I've added a new section to my People and Portraits portion of the website: Prints.  You can now purchase prints of my favorite composite portraits! Landscapes and automotive prints are also available from their individual sections.

Travis Ingram Photography: Composite Portrait Prints

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fall Cemetery Shots

Last week I crashed someone else's shoot. I don't make it a habit, but my fiancĂ© Heidi was doing a photoshoot with the talented young Emily May Adams, so I tagged along just for fun.  Our location was Orchard Mesa Municipal Cemetery on a beautifully sunny fall day. Emily was taking levitation photos and some fun cemetery pics for her portfolio, so I was just there to get a few random shots and help out. I don't think I was much help, but it was fun.  The weather was great, but the harsh sun made the lighting less than ideal for some of the shots I wanted.  Luckily there were plenty of spots in the shade, and the leaves provided a wonderful bit of color for backgrounds.  This shoot was mostly just for fun, and since I had no real agenda, I had lost of random pics to play with.  I even got a few of my G35 at the cemetery gates! I still have a few shots I'd love to spend some time editing, but I'm not sure when I'll get to them.  It's been a busy week.  This weekend, I have a shoot for a local publication that will take a big chunk of my weekend.  Check out some of my favorite shots below!

 One of my favorites from the shoot, I and a lot of fun photoshopping this!

Here is a quick before and after comparison of the raw photo compared to my final touched up image.

Sunset at the cemetery gates.

Completely unplanned, but this is probably one of my favorite car photos to date!

Some random shots I liked.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Infiniti G35 Underpass - Before and After

I spent some time yesterday being inspired by automotive photographers I loved and wanted to go take a new clean shot my my G35.  Since the car was freshly detailed and I haven't taken any real photos of the car since adding the Outcast Garage front lip, the pic was way overdue. I love tunnel and overpass shots, and luckily, found this little location not too far from home.  The weather was gloomy and not too cooperative, but held out long enough for me to get a few decent shots.

The before and after below may be a little deceiving.  The "before" shots actually consisted of about 8 shots.  I didn't have any lights with me, so I used a large reflector to highlight parts of the car, then put the shots together in photoshop.  I've done a similar set-up and technique before doing shots of my 1996 Mazda Miata in the garage, and I'm pretty happy with the results.  I have at least one or two more shots from this shoot I want to edit from different angles. Once I get a few more mods done to the car, I will probably do a full "Feature" shoot.

Click here to see the high-res of the final edit.

Before compositing and editing
Final edit

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween Self-Portrait for 2014

I love Halloween.  It's my absolute favorite holiday.  I've always been a huge fan of horror and all things creepy, so its become a tradition the last few years to create a horror themed photo of Heidi and myself to celebrate Halloween.  2012 started this fun little exercise with us as Zombies.  I think we were watching a little too much "Walking Dead" at the time!  2013 brought on a "30 Days of Night" style Vampire photo.  This year, we went a little farther back into the archives of horror cinema for inspiration. Our concept was to show a modern horror version of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.  I think the Zombie portrait is still my favorite overall, but the new one is definitely fun!

Classic Horror Movie Little Red Riding Hood 2014

"30 Days of Night" style Vampires 2013

Zombies! 2012

I'm not going to go through a step-by-step, but I will briefly touch on the process.  This was a quick and dirty pic, and I took a few short cuts I normally wouldn't take with set-up. After we had the theme nailed down, I set up my studio lights and took a few quick shots of Heidi and myself for the characters.  (These were very quick!) Once I found one of us I was happy with, I isolated them and found a suitable Fall background to stick them on from a trip to Nashville a few years ago.

Dropping the figures onto the background was the easy part.  Now I had to blend them all together and make a scene!  Originally, I wanted to do a Hemlock Grove style transformation, but, I was having trouble showing the process of transformation in a still frame and keep it semi-recognizeable as a self-portrait.  After a little trial and error, we decided a classic horror movie werewolf would be great instead.  Some dodge and burn, some airbrushing and overlays, a couple of simple filters and ta-daa, I was a werewolf! These are always so much fun to do!  I might start charging for these.... hmmmm.

The pieces I used in the composite and color version of the 2014 photo is below.

Little Red Riding Hood

 The Big Bad Werewolf

Fall Background I took in TN

Finished color version

Saturday, October 4, 2014

MRLS Trip - Part 3: The Long Trip Home

I've decided I'm going to separate the blog from the trip into 3 basic parts to make it easier to write and organize.  Part 1 will be the trip to Monterey, part 2 will be the actual Miatas at MRLS event coverage and part 3 will be the trip home.  Part 3 was very eventful! 

Low-res pics from the drive are on this page below. I'll slowly be editing and adding my favorites to the website as time permits.  High-res car shots and MRLS photos I've edited so far are in my Automotive GalleryHigh-res landscapes I've edited so far from the trip are in my Landscape Gallery  I took over 700 photos over the course of the trip, so it may take me a little longer than I'd like to go through them all. 

MRLS Trip Part 3- The trip back to Colorado

So at this point, I'm sure anyone reading this is wondering why the trip home needs it's own section?  What's the big deal?  Usually after shows or event weekends I stumble home, exhausted, making the trip as short and sweet as possible so I can get to relaxing as soon as I can.  This trip was different.  This trip ... I had a camera.

I wasn't thrilled about leaving the Miatas at MRLS event a day earlier than the rest of the crew, but I needed to be back in town a day sooner.  Since I knew I was going to be traveling alone, I was going to make the most of it.  The greatest thing about doing a road trip by yourself is that you can drive for as long as you'd like, and start and stop on whatever schedule you'd like to.  When I headed out from MRLS, the weather was beautiful, I had the Miata, and I had a plan.  

Unfortunately, my plan didn't start so well. I started off the trip by having to drive back to the Hotel to grab my bag before jumping on the highway. Which would have been fairly simple except for the fact I took a wrong turn and took the long way back. No worries tho, I grabbed my bag, cleaned up a bit and headed out. Once on the highway, I took a glance around the car and noticed that I left my adapter and phone charger in the hotel room.  Great. So, I had to turn around and go BACK TO THE HOTEL.  I was very annoyed, and very anxious to get on the road.  My original plan was to drive south down the coast on the PCH and then cut over in-land and spend the night in Barstow.  Now I was running over an hour behind schedule, and I wasn't even on the highway yet. I was seriously considering ditching my plans for the PCH and using the much faster in-land roads.

After some inner debating I decided I had to take the Pacific Coast Highway.  This might be the only chance I get to take a car this cool down the coast in weather this nice.  It was an opportunity I just couldn't let pass me by.

had been warned that the PCH is notorious for slow drivers and tourists and all manner of road construction.  This would make this a loooooong day of driving.  However, I was more concerned with my desire to stop and photograph EVERYTHING than the traffic.  For the first few miles, I did great, ignoring the views and keeping myself going at a steady pace, but that didn't last for long.  Before I knew it, I was stopping every 15 minutes to take pics of the breath-taking coast line.  "Oh look at that rock!" "There goes a big-ass bridge!" "Oh wow, that's a cool view!"... and on and on it went for what seemed like hours.  

I stopped and took photos on practically every pull off I could find, and it seemed like I always met some interesting person who wanted to know the story behind the Miata I was driving.  I met a cool Guy from Atlanta, an older couple taking a break from MRLS, and even a nice couple from Germany, who also happened to be Miata owners.  

Finally I hit a space of very light traffic, and remembered the OTHER reason why the PCH is such a great road to drive.  It's just plain fun.  Ignore the stunning views and keep your eyes on the road, and if you are lucky enough to break free of traffic, you see it.  This beautiful ribbon of asphalt draped over some of the most gorgeous scenery in the country.  The Miata responded instantly, feeling so much more alive than it had for the entire trip.  The supercharger made short work of the hills, sticking to the corners like a true driver's car while Big Sur and the surrounding forests fell into a dull blur.  I wasn't going very fast, but then again, I didn't have to. The elevation changes and sharp cut-backs keep you on your toes, and I was enjoying myself so much, I didn't notice the huge grin on my face until I glanced in the rear view mirror and laughed at myself.  This drive was just icing on the cake of one of the greatest road trips I've had in years.

All good things must end, and it was inevitable that I would hit traffic, The little old couple in the Prius in front of me had no intention of speeding up past 35 mph. EVER. I was disappointed, but still enjoying the entire experience. 

After driving for a bit longer, I started noticing a huge crowd of cars and people gathering on the coast side of the road.  People of all walks of life, locals, tourists, young and old were standing pointing and taking pictures.... of.... something.  I didn't see anything worth stopping for from the driver's seat, so i kept going.  Eventually, after miles and miles of this, I couldn't resist my curiosity and stopped to take a look. I finally saw what everyone was pointing and looking at. Whales.  Pods and pods of whales were migrating up the coast.  Knowing now that I should have stopped earlier, I broke out the camera and tried to at least document the gigantic creatures.  Now, I've never photographed a whale before.... heck, I've never even seen a whale in the wild before!  It was tricky business trying to time the shots to get a tail or a jump or a spray in my view finder.  The distance wasn't helping.... I should have stopped earlier where they were closer to the road.  Oh well, live and learn.  Needless to say, I wasn't very good at whale photography.

Except for the occasional "OooooooH!" when a whale would leap up out of the water, the crowd was totally silent.  I sat on the edge of this cliff, with total strangers, watching the spectacle as long as I could. Now I was really behind schedule and I needed to drive.  Back on the road, I decided no more stops. The sun was setting as I passed Hearst Castle.  As much as I wanted to take pictures of the cliff-side fortress, it was getting dark.  I resisted and urge and headed East towards Bakersfield, where I decided to spend the night. 

I was on the road before 9am the next morning, and even with the stops I had planned, I should have made it back to Colorado before 10PM. There were two spots specifically that I wanted to hit: The Boneyard at the Mojave Air and Space Center and The abandoned Rock-A-Hoola theme park.  Besides a tiny bit of rain, the trip was very uneventful up until I got to the Mojave Air & Space Port.  The first stop was a major disappointment.  I drove around for a bit looking for my mythical destination, before pulling over and doing some internet research.  Apparently, the Boneyard is officially closed to the public.  I couldn't even find a good spot to get outside photos of it.  Not knowing where to turn, and knowing I needed to stay on schedule, I stopped at the Air & Space Port's entrance to take pics of an F-4 Phantom fighter and another passenger jet that were on display.  Atleast the stop wasn't a total loss.

The Rock-A-Hoola park, or Lake Dolores Water Park as it's more commonly know, is an abandoned theme park in the middle of the Mojave desert on the edge of California.  I've known about it for years, and it was shear luck that brought it into my path on this trip.  It's just off the interstate, and very easily accessible as long as you don't mind parking on the road and hiking or driving off-road.  I obviously wasn't driving off-road in someone else's Miata, so I parked near the parking lot entrance and walked the few hundred yards to the park entrance. I love urban decay and exploration.  I'm not sure why, but I find it all very fascinating.  Standing at the entrance to the park was just  freaking cool.  It was everything I had hoped it would be.  The dilapidated, graffiti covered buildings were surrounded by dead palm trees and over grown bushes, perfectly framed by dark, moody clouds from bad weather rolling in. Eerie is a very good way to describe how I felt.  Uncomfortable would be another good word to use. I stopped myself from going too far in.  As much as I wanted to explore deeper into the park, I was unarmed, out of site of the Miata and in the middle of nowhere.  I decided a bit of discretion was better than being caught in bad weather or robbed by squatters.  I would love to do this trip again, and take a closer look at the park and all its decayed glory.

As soon as I got back to the car, the skies opened up with rain.  By the time I hit the Nevada border I couldn't see through the storm.  Traffic was crawling at 30-40 mph, and I started noticing wreck after wreck as cars lost control and spun into the rocks or guard rail.  By the time the rain started to let up, the Mojave desert looked like a giant lake.  The weather got slightly better as I passed vegas.  The Las Vegas speedway tempted me to make one more stop as I noticed Lamborghini Aventadors racing around the inner track.  As tempting as this shot was, the weather had slowed me down by hours and I talked myself into driving.  My plan was still to be home this evening.  

Just North of Vegas, the weather got even worse.  Again, I was slowed to less than 40 mph, as traffic got slower and slower, eventually coming to a complete stop.  I sat in line for almost an hour before the weather started to let up.  While I was waiting, I noticed other drivers turning around in the median and going back South.  Still others were out of their cars and walking out past me to see what was causing the dead stop.  When I finally got tired of waiting and jumped out, I noticed I was at the top of a hill, just outside mile marker 88.  At the bottom of the hill was a small exit.... and a giant torrent of water where the interstate was supposed to be.  I turned on AM radio, trying to find an explanation and get as much info as I could about the road closing.  Emergency vehicles were constantly driving past as helicopters and news crews circled the area like vultures. According to the radio, the road was gone.  Washed away by a flash flood.  Ahead of that was another area damaged by flooding and just across the border in Utah, there was a rockslide closing still another part of the interstate.  I had heard enough.  I turned around in the gravel median, and headed South to a truck stop to wait out the emergency.  

I beat the rush, and stocked up on water and snacks, just in case I was stuck sleeping in the car over night.  Curious, I started asking other travelers for news, and was told the interstate going back to Vegas was temporarily closed as well.  When I walked back out to the car, police had closed the on-ramps, effectively trapping me at the truck stop for the time being.  I kept myself entertained making phone calls to my fiancĂ© and trying to find out any news I can on the road closures.  The parking lot and surrounding areas quickly filled up bumper to bumper as people exited the interstate.  I waited for about 3 hours, watching the big trucks, knowing their CB radios would probably give them news about road openings before I would hear about them.  As luck would have it, as soon as I saw a few trucks exit, going South, I found an officer in the parking lot giving some helpful info.  He said North was closed indefinitely, but that southbound lanes were now open going back to Vegas.  As luck would have it, the FM crew that I had left behind in California had almost caught up to me because of the weather.  They had missed the storm and the massive traffic and actually got rooms for the night in vegas.  After a few phone calls, I was relieved to hear from one of FM's owners, Teri, who offered to let me crash with them for the night.  Absolutely exhausted, I headed to vegas as fast as I could, knowing there would be an army of fellow refugees behind me.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat, and giving a quick explanation to Rick and Bill as to how they had managed to catch up with me because of the weather and road closures, I had to get some rest.  Our room was actually very nice, and very comfortable.  I slept like a baby.

The next morning we all met for breakfast to discuss our route.  The interstate North of Vegas was still closed, but they were funneling people off the interstate, and onto a smaller highway, to by-pass the damaged road.  I was in good spirits.  With full stomach and a good night's rest under my belt, I was back with friends for the rest of the journey.  The drive home was a mess of traffic jams and long waits.  The detours were flooded with people, as we passed at least 20 miles of bumper to bumper traffic on the back roads.  The cars handled everything in stride, and the weather was perfect.  Muddy roads and puddles were all that hinted of the disaster the night before.  Once we hit Utah, traffic thinned, and the trip became great fun again.  The canyons and mountains of Utah provided the perfect back drop for the final leg of our journey.  After a quick stop to say goodbye, we parted ways to head home.  

It was an exhausting journey, but it will be one that I will never forget.  A very special THANK YOU to all my friends at Flyin' Miata.  This entire trip would not have been possible without you!  This was an amazing adventure, and I can't thank you enough for the opportunity.  I'm hoping next year will be even more fun!

I LOVE the PCH!  

 Tunnel blasting in a supercharged Miata is amazing!
 The beautiful scenery just kept coming!

 Whales!  This was great fun to watch!  I really wish I had a better zoom lens!

 The weather was very ominous.... 
 The Mojave Desert was a giant lake!
 Nancy photo op at the Mojave Air & Space Port.

 When the bad weather hit, I was doing about 30mph on the interstate.
 Stuck in traffic within site of the flooding.

 We were going to be here a long time...
 Back with friends and ready to hit the road!
 Whoosh and the FM trailer is not a bad view!

 Canyon blasting in Utah with Rick.

 Nancy looks right at home next to the G35.  Too bad I had to give her back!