Pegaso automobiles

The Centre for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona inaugurated an exhibition on the iconic cars Pegasus. The curator, the artist Francesc Torres, had contacted me about making to the catalog.

Pegaso Z-102 Spider Rabassada (1953)

Like Josep Ramoneda says in the exhibition catalog: “…. It was probably also this power of fascination of the car that attracted Francesc Torres and made him convince us – the CCCB- of the interest to rebuild this rare burst of beauty in the sinister political and cultural universe during Franco’s rule. “


It was a very interesting challenge because Francesc did not want the photographic treatment of the cars to be like an advertising image, instead he wanted each car to be treated as a work of art, almost like a living sculpture. They needed three or four photos of each car, one long shot, always from the same perspective and three detailed pictures that gave us some clues about the car’s anatomy.

Pegaso Z-102 Spider Pedralbes (1954)

The operational problems were many. On one hand, only authorized staff could touch the cars, clean them and position them for each shot. On the other hand, we could not take pictures outside of the premises of the museum. Neither could we have access to the showroom to take pictures since the carpenters and electricians worked to place pallets and lighting in the room that was needed for the exposition. As can be seen in the picture above … The session had to be performed in a typical rental tent for weddings and other events!

We had to put black interior curtains that covered the ceiling and the walls, to that way be able to control the reflections from the cars.
On the wooden floor of the tent we placed a white vinyl floor, seamless, 6 meters wide and 12 meters long, to have a single continuous surface where the cars could slide. On the wall in the back a very thin gray fabric was placed, stiffened and stuck on a wooden frame that was 3 meters by 6 meters.

How to illuminate these cars?

All the bodies of the cars shone very much and the finishes were very different, but what really conditioned the work and how to illuminate the cars was the need to photograph 4 cars per day, each of them with one long shot and three more additional detailed photos.

  Pegaso Z-103 Berlineta Touring (1956)

For the long shot image we decided to use a large light box by Bowens that had the same size as the car and we placed it very close to the frame. All cars were to have the same position to the camera´s perspective and this way an uniform illumination was achieved. We used two Wafer 200 light boxes– of 1.40 x 2.00 mts. By putting them together horizontal, one next to the other, and position them in the structure of a Wafer Bank … They turned into a light box of 1.40 x 4.00 mts. !

I thought about putting a canopy in front of the light boxes – a diffusing surface – of 6.00 x 6.00 mts – to generate softer borders and gradients of the direct reflections of light on the body of the car, but the height of the tent did not allow it. To model the details I had two Wafer Strip 140 windows and another Wafer 200, which together with the Wafer Bank allowed me to shape the reflections effectively and fast. More than the subtlety in the treatment of the light, it was about trying to find a set of functional illumination.


The reflections from the light sources would have a defined edge, hence once chosen the point of view from which we would make the photo of each detail, we had to move the Wafer Strip until the reflections were good and putted the attention on the forms of each car.

  Pegaso Z-102 Spyder Touring (1953)

Sometimes the details were not in the shape of the vehicle but in some detail of manufacturing such as the more than 1000 rivets that Giorgio Giorda had placed on the body of the cars that made the prototype Rabassada, the first official race car form Pegasus.

  Prototype Spider Rabassada, exact replica

The choice of a white floor helped to make so many photos per day, because its color and the glossy shine reflected the light bouncing from Wafer Bank in the floor and reduced the overall contrast of the shot. In turn I used large black cloth on the white ground to mark up til where I wanted the reflections to be seen in the car.

Finally, … Now we only needed to take the cars away again and dismantle the improvised studio in the tent!

  Lighting diagram

Pegaso automobiles.pdf

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It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.

Visual acuity

Do we, photographers, have visual acuity? If we understand visual acuity as the capability of our vision to perceive, detect or identify spatial objects with good light conditions, we should have it. A distance from the constant object, if you see a small letter clearly, you have more visual acuity than another person that does not see it. Well, this is not enough condition to be a photographer, but it is necessary, although I know about cases of blind photographers

I went to the ophthalmologist to do the annual revision and I came up on the beautiful – and at the same time weird – Phoropther. Some time ago I had found a series of photos that I liked a lot about this subject and decided to do my own version. Later I realized that almost all versions of this device were very similar, its design is spectacular and all of us to see it the same way.

The Burns Archives

I remembered the famous photo report that Andreas Feininger made about the photo reporter from Life, Dennis Stock, in 1951 and some self-portraits with similar aesthetic. All these photographs make a reference to the relationship between the optical and the photographic and have a high formal weight.

 © Andreas Feininger

   © Andreas Feininger

The Phoropther has as much formal strength as the Leica and the magnifying glass in the previous photos, which makes it difficult to escape from the typical frontal photography. Aware of this I took the photo and here I explain how it was made.

  El Flaco

As always, I had the invaluable assistance of my friend El Flaco, who is always willing to help in carrying out my photos, as he did incountless times before, as well for the posts of this blog. I also could count on the collaboration from Visionlab, the company where I usually make my optical revisions.

In the first set of lights I placed a translucent umbrella below the camera and the fantastic OctoDome mini from Photofex above. Between them, I put a multipurpose aluminum frame that I made over 20 years ago and that still accompanies me. Before I used the frame to carry two Nikon cameras hanging from my neck with a single belt, but now I use it to put the camera in the axis of the light without the need for an arm and a counterweight for the flash.

Diy bracket

Diy bracket

After some first pictures I saw that the reflexions from the knobs of the Phoropther did not turn out as good as expected and therefor I decided to reverse the set. In the end the best lightning for the apparatus turned out being when the umbrella was placed above the camera. The two flashes I used were Yongnuo 560 with the batteries PB820 from Godox.

El Flaco

Last, I removed the aluminum plate that was on the wall with Photoshop since it distracted some. I also matched the tones of both lights and gave the set a warm dominant.

  Lighting Diagram

Visual acuity.pdf

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It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.

Strobist kit 3

For some time now, accessories like the ones normally used for professional high-end flashes are manufactured and available for Storbist. Profoto, Bowens, Elinchrom and Broncolor – to mention a few brands – have in their catalogs a variety of accessories for modifying the light. Everything from diffusers, cones, ring flashes to reflectors for honeycombs, as well as light boxes, Fresnel lenses etc.

Some of these accessories are available for the use of portable flash and the efficiency is very good. Those that work best are the ones that concentrate the light, since the type of lighting they generate is hard. As we know, hard light is achieved with a small light source. To achieve a diffuse and soft lighting , the size of the light source should be big. If you have the possibility to use large size diffusers with the flashes, it will be necessary to have more than one flash to achieve a good diffusion, as we will se in my next post.

Strobist Snoot

Three flash adapter

Some brands have modifiers similar to those of professional range and other brands make more simple accessories that are easier to transport because of its ingenious design based on Velcro™.

Gadget Brando

The accessories from Gadget Brando or Interft Strobies work very well for medium shot portraits, as well as the range from Holn Photo or Lumiquest.
Holn Photo

Lumi Quest

One of my favorite accessories is the light box from Photofex, the OctoDome mini. I made almost all the portraits of the series “Friends” with this accessory. Its interior diffuser distributes the light very evenly and gives a good diffusion of the light in close-up portraits. It is also very easy to set up and transport.
Photoflex Octodome mini

I also like working with the Lightsphere Collapsible from Gary Fong. I normally use it very close to the camera. Directly directed towards the model, the size of the light source increases somewhat and it softens the glow. What I like about this accessory is to bounce the light in the ceiling without the hemisphere, as the contour of the fixture fills the shadows very well, as did the flashes that had two xenon lamps in the same flash, flashes like Nikon Speedlight SB16 or the Metz from the series 45 or 60 CL.

Nikon Speedlight SB16
Metz 45 CL4

This flash, like some Metz and others, allowed bouncing the main light in the ceiling or a sidewall and with a second fill flash decrease the contrast in the face. Today’s flashes do not have this second flash, and the accessory by Gary Fong solves this problem very well.

Lightsphere Collapsible by Gary Fong

Many times we might want to use correction filters like the ones by Rosco, Arri, Lee, etc. These filters will give a color cast to the light of the flash and they are very useful in certain situations which I will talk about in other posts.
Rosco Color Correction filter CTO

There are different brands that solve the problem of how to support the gelatin in front of the light source. Almost all of them rely on a Velcro™ strip fastening the gelatin holder.

Gel Holder

Strobist kit 3.pdf

All rights reserved. © Isarrualde Photography
It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.