I take on a challenge: can I improve my photography in just three easy lessons? For my third test, I tackle ‘magic hour’ and Lighting with the help of the Hyundai Veloster[Not a valid template]
Part of me really likes the Hyundai Veloster. At $19,000 it’s cheap, cheerful, it has a certain chique-ness, and emphasises how far Hyundai has come from the plastic dross-boxes the company used to masquerade as ‘cars’. Another part of me dislikes the Hyundai Veloster, however. It’s not what you’d call nippy, the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine kicking 128bhp to the front wheels that are only really spurred on by a solid boot to the loud pedal and little if no sympathy for the six-speed automatic gearbox. The Veloster Turbo, due to arrive in the region towards the end of the year, may well solve that little problem, but I’m hoping Hyundai also sorts out the woolly steering before then too.
The Veloster though does have a big saving grace: the looks. There’s a such a wonderful sense of joi de vivre about the undulating body lines, low sweeping roofline and ‘fluidic sculpture’ of the bodywork (even if the tail-lip rear spoiler right across the rear window is an oddly impractical addition). Our Green Apple-coloured test model then makes an ideal subject for our Photo 101 series, in which I have been challenged to improve my photography skills in just three short lessons. So far I’ve studied the significance of Subject with the Volkswagen Passat Sport, and considered the intricacies of Landscape with the Renault Duster. Lesson three though is one I’m particularly nervous about: Lighting.
Those of you keen to see this particular blithering idiot struggle with strobe lights and flashes will be disappointed. The focus of today’s lesson is natural sunlight, specifically that late in the day as the sun is going down. With the strong daylight rays dissipated, the glare is significantly reduced and there’s a beautiful yellow/orange glow that photographers have loosely termed the ‘magic hour’. It’s a tricky natural element to work with though, since the light is always changing as the sun gets lower and lower in the sky, leaving a finite amount of time available to get the shots right. We have to move fast.
Joining me is crankandpiston photographer Arun, who for the purposes of comparison will be taking his own shots of the Hyundai Veloster. As ever, since we’re focusing on the basic skills involved with photography, the photos you see here have received only a bare minimum of editing. Arun’s set are this page, while mine are on the second.
Arun (who’s recently been on the bench with a scratched cornea) starts off while I wander around the car looking for notably strong angles. The light at magic hour throws some sensational silhouettes from the trees across the road, which helps break up the landscape a bit. Given our very green car and the very green landscape we’re working with, it’s possible – as I found out with the Duster – that the hatchback’s lines could easily melt into the green landscape, thus eroding the details of the Veloster altogether: a big no-no in automotive photography.