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Monday, June 11, 2007

Regis Lefebure - Motor Drive Required

In the 200 mph world of professional motorsports, a photographer needs to be able to get ahead just to keep up with the action. Regis Lefebure relies on experience and the right gear to get the shots.



I used Seth's advice when processing this image and others similar to it, and whacked the color temperature slider to 6500 K and the saturation to +20, turning the images of somewhat ordinary color into something special. And because I had exposed for the highlights on the tree trunks, I “grabbed” the ADT Audi by using a combination of Selection tools and lightened it using Curves, in 16-bit, of course, as the car is in the shadows of the trees. It's likely the Shadow/Highlight tool of Photoshop CS would accomplish a similar effect, but I prefer having the shadow areas remain dark while brightening the car.

As a busy photographer, I need to spend as little time as possible on each individual image in order to speed up the workflow. My keys to streamlined workflow can be found in the beefed-up File Browser of Photoshop CS and in automated actions. The inclusion of Adobe Camera Raw in the vastly improved File Browser allows me to now run automated batch-processing of RAW files without ever leaving the browser.

The image of the Audi R8s racing nose to tail was one of nearly 200 images made that day under a cloudless sky. All the images were batch-processed automatically in one fell swoop. Once the files are processed, I have the option of presenting to my client within minutes by simply creating a web gallery. I also burn to a CD and hand (FedEx) that to the client for viewing and final selection purposes. Once final selections are made by the client, I tweak the selects in 16-bit for optimum quality and flexibility before converting them to 8-bit TIFFs as final files that are delivered.

Light My Fire

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most famous automobile races in the world. A daunting test of speed and endurance for racing drivers and their machines, the event can take its toll on a photographer's stamina and equipment.

Every June, the race is held on the weekend closest to the summer solstice, with late sunsets and many hours of long, low light. It's a photographer's dream, or nightmare, depending on one's point of view and whether there are clear or stormy skies. The grandstands across from and above the pit boxes are often photographed at twilight and night, but most photographers fill the frame with these massive structures. I choose to shoot them wide and include much of the dramatic twilight sky, giving a grand scale to the event. The red taillights and burst of flame from an exhaust become afterthoughts to the image.

A huge advantage of shooting in the RAW mode is the ability to set or alter the color balance. It's quite easy to apply the look of tungsten-balanced film to dusk or dawn images, rendering the sky a richer blue while removing the over-warm tones of the artificial light.

Endgame

The opportunities for creative control with digital capture, as well as processing, viewing, delivery and archiving, have made a huge difference to me and my work. The speed and versatility of digital imaging—and its quality—are key attributes to achieving success in the current business climate. Those who continue to ignore the elephant in the room by avoiding the move to digital will find the walls of the photography pit they inhabit grow higher by the day, hour and minute. There's no time like the present to straddle the saddle and ride the digital thoroughbred.

To see more of Regis Lefebure's photography, visit regislefebure.com.

 



 

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