DPP Home Profiles Richard Izui - Motor Drive

Friday, June 15, 2007

Richard Izui - Motor Drive

With a camera and a "tour bus," Richard Izui takes aim at fast subjects in a deliberate manner

Experience Is The Best Teacher

With all the time Izui has spent shooting cars over the last 25 years, he has learned what works and what doesn't. Although he relies heavily on the computer to make remarkable composites and special effects, the key to making a car look beautiful, he says, doesn't come from good retouching. It's all in the lighting.

“I lit cars very crudely when I started,” Izui says, “and somehow I got some pretty decent shots out of it. I did absolutely everything wrong. The best way to light a car is with the cleanest, largest source of light you can get. It may be a 40x20-foot box light, or it could be a huge hanging flat. The background is important, too; my ideal background is a three-walled cyclorama. You'll wrap the back three edges of the car with a nice clean wall and then on top of that you'll have the hanging flat or multiple box lights, or even two box lights and a flat. That's probably the best way to go.

“We've done some crazy things,” he adds. “I bought some portable battery-powered fluorescent tubes and mounted them to dollies. I'll have assistants walk all the way around the car just creating highlights as they're walking and I time-expose. I take those streaks of light and I combine them with the box-lit shots. That gives me some really interesting results, but it takes a long time to do.”

Even with the upgrade headaches and logistical challenges, Izui says that he'd never trade his digital capabilities to go back to 8x10 film. He's having too much fun seeing his subjects through newly digital eyes.

“It's a whole different world,” Izui says. “It's gone way beyond my earlier 20 years of traditional photography to a whole different occupation for me. It's transformed what I do tremendously.”

Izui's Equipment

Hasselblad H2 camera
Imacon 22-megapixel digital back. It can shoot in single, four-shot or 16-shot modes. We shoot mainly single or four-shot.
Phase One H 20 as a backup. Occasionally, we'll use it on the back of my Sinar with a sliding back that will allow you to tile three images together to come up with an immensely large image. We've even tiled six images together by using the vertical movement of the Sinar back.
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II for grabbing elements for the larger shots.
Apple laptops (17-inch and 12-inch) are used on shoots to receive and edit the images.
Apple Power Mac G5 Dual-Core 2.5 GHz with 4.5 GB of RAM. The images have been getting so large lately that you need all of the power and memory you can get.
Photoshop and LightWave are the two main programs I use.

To see more of Richard Izui's photography, visit www.izui.com.



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