The Ghost Driver in the Taco Taxi

USA - New York - The ghost driver in the Taco TaxiThis got to be the coolest yellow cab in New York City. Found on 7th avenue on Manhattan. A 1950 Studebaker.

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In New York City on Manhattan I found this totally cool 1950 Studebaker yellow cab parked by the curb. I took 5 handheld shots, with my new Nikkor 24-70mm lens. We were in a big rush, because we had to go back to the hotel to check out, so that we could get to the airport. I did not have the time to consider the scene well enough, because we were half running. And I happened to include a couple of people, that did really work in the photo. And the van on the left hand side was double parked and didn’t move either.

I have been going back to the photo several times trying to process it, but not getting anything interesting. But then suddenly it came to me more by chance than anything else. I’m working on a post, in which I discuss good and bad processing and how to fix some problems with halos. I needed an extreme HDR and pushed the Surreal preset in Photomatix. Photomatix works this way: When you open Photomatix, it uses the same settings you had last time. And by chance I once again dumped my Taco taxi into Photomatix and BAM! That was how my yellow cab should look like. I did dial the extreme a liiiitle bit back, to take the edge of it, but the effect is still very very strong. This is the original 0-exposure:

The Ghost Driver in the Taco Taxi - original

As you can see, quite a dramatic change. The speed effect I added, because the rest of the photo really doesn’t work too well. The people on the right and the van on the left shouldn’t have been included – so I had try something. I tried blurring the background using gaussian blur, but that didn’t come out very well, and then I tried the Radial Blur with a zoom effect, and that did the trick.

Tacotaxi - radial blur 1

Tacotaxi - radial blur 2

Tacotaxi - radial blur 3

This blurred image I mixed with the original photo, in such a way, that the car remained unblurred, while the rest is blurred.

Notice how the people disappears and how the van suddenly works as a part of the composition. That’s neat.

You can find my HDR tutorial here, including a coupon code that gives 15% discount on buying Photomatix.

New York Grand Central in Golden Light

New York Grand Central In Golden Light

Grand Central in New York – a must for photographers coming to New York. I didn’t have much time in New York, but I’m glad that I got the opportunity to see the Grand Central. It’s totally awesome.

About the processing

It’s a 9 shot HDR ranging from -5 to +3 with 1 EV step between each shot. My problem was, that the window in the middle has very strong sunlight coming in. So strong, that it spills over the walls and really ruins the photo. Even though I manage to capture all of the darkest and brigtest parts. In the processing in Photomatix, it turned out to be a gray and very ugly wall around the window in the middle, ruined by the sunlight. Even if the window it self is perfect. Finally I got the idea to use a ‘sunlight’ filter in one of my Photoshop plugins, to turn white grayish light golden and also reflect the golden color on the floor. That worked!