I know that it's dangerous to show photos on the same day that they're taken, so perhaps I'll regret this later. I don't think that it will happen this time, but the problem is that I never do and I'm often wrong.


People I

I'm thinking that this could be my best photo from the auto show, but I haven't yet done the work in photoshop to find out for sure.

People II

Those who saw me probably thought I was photographing the person on the left. I wasn't - I was photographing the person on the right.

People III

This car looked vastly worse in colour.

Headlamp I

Even though the D800 does a very good job with creating exactly the monochrome tones that I want, there's just something more satisfying about doing it properly. I know that only the results matter for the people who see the image, but the process itself is something that I enjoy and find value in. Black and white film – even the chromogenic stuff – has a certain integrity and dedication that the "oh, I wonder how this will look in monochrome with a Tri-X effects processing" fiddling about lacks.

But at the same time I have no patience for the "colour records how something looks, black and white photographs the soul" crowd. I have no desire to be a pretentious aesthete. Using film isn't a virtue, it's just a different way to do something.

One of the things that I've learned over the years is that something can be objectively better – a modern lens design, a newer-generation camera – without it being an improvement. Sometimes things just match up and create a synergy that leads to better creativity and, hopefully, art, even if the process isn't inherently visible in the results. This is why I own both the modern 50/1.4G and older 50/1.4D; matching the appropriate lens generation to my D800 and F5 creates cameras that I want to use, while crossing them leaves me feeling awkward and incorrect. The difference in the end result is negligible – or it would be, if I was ever willing to create something with such a mismatch, which I'm really not.

Headlamp II

The reason why I brought my massive F5 was because I saw other photos from a car show that were taken with black and white film. Before then it would never have occurred to me to deliberately ignore the vibrant paint-candy and focus on tones.

Something else that I came to appreciate from looking at other auto show photos is just what a difference having lit headlamps makes to a cars' appearance. It was something that I was looking for this year, and I'll try even harder for next time.

Headlamp III

These two final series, one of headlamps and the other of people, were taken with my Nikon F5 on XP2 film. But the fact that they're the last of my Auto Show images is something of a coincidence, as I actually had the film developed and scanned before I started posting the digital photos. I suppose I'm just used to having more time to reflect with film.

This photo was on the first filmstrip that I scanned, and was enough justification for bringing the second camera all on its own.



I'm not a 'car guy', and probably never will be – there's a very real chance that my G1 'learner's permit' will expire before I'll ever actually drive one. But I do know a car guy who absolutely blows me away with his knowledge and enthusiasm, and going to the auto show with him is what I look forward to all winter. Hearing him talk to the product reps and sales people, using a quick tech-heavy shorthand that I can't even begin to understand, gives me a glimpse of what I might sound like when I'm talking about cameras.

Next year I plan on doing some reading and research to know more about what I'm seeing, what's significant, and what the influences are. I never expect to be a car guy, but I know that I'm barely seeing the surface.

Pickup Trucks

I realize that I'm a philistine, but I find the hyper-aggressive macho bird-of-prey 'Raptor' stylings rather amusing on a four-door pickup truck.

(Updated: it turns out that this is one of the most unique and capable off-road production vehicles ever made.)



Nikon D800, powerful, fun, and practical, with the 105/2.8VR Macro lens.


Nikon F5, the sports car of its day, with the era-apropriate 50/1.4D.

Digital, Black and White

The top photo is digital colour, the bottom is black and white film. The middle is digital black and white, and the results leave me conflicted.

I love the tonality of B&W film, especially for high- or low-key photos. But starting with digital colour gives so much flexibility to create exactly the look that I want in the finished image that it's hard to justify using film. These three are all the same car – I'm 90% certain, at least – but the middle photo is what I want it to look like.

The implication is clear: it's time to invest in a set of contrast filters.



The venerable Mercedes G-class: because if you're already making a troop carrier, why not wrap it in gold?



I couldn't walk past an orange car without photographing it.


More from the 2013 auto show. For 2012 I seemed to concentrate on headlights, while this year I was more drawn to fenders. I'm not sure if that means anything.

I do enjoy having the Nikon D800. One of these photos was taken at iso3200, another at iso100, and the third was iso900. I can't tell which is which, even when I'm looking at larger files than the ones shown here.


I suppose the lighting makes the first one more grey than white, but I really like having three photos for a set. Two together need to be much stronger and more closely related, while three can be a looser group.


I heard someone remark that since this engine was mounted behind plexiglass that there was no point trying to photograph it. Fortunately he was talking to his friend, so I didn't have to take his advice.

I find the way the car companies switch between the words "motor" and "engine" fascinating. They're not quite interchangeable in their definitions, but there's an even bigger difference in their connotations.



It's impossible to avoid reflections at the car show, so this year I spent some time looking for interesting ones.

I Don't Believe You.

I wouldn't know a Maserati even if one came to a full stop before turning right on a red light;
As a pedestrian there's no way that a two-tonne, 250hp truck that burns 14L/100km was engineered for me;
And "it's for your protection" is what you say to someone when you can't think of a better excuse.

Auto Show Floor III

I had to change lenses to take this, but it was totally worth it.

(This building is also home to my very favourite "EXIT" sign.)


Auto Show Floor II

I can't imagine how much the white-on-white crowd must hate coffee.

Auto Show Floor I

Four quick photos from the floor of the 2013 Auto Show in Toronto. The last one – the rude one – was from the 'exotic' section.

I have broken the links to hundreds and hundreds of photos, which will take a long time to repair. The workaround is to replace "photo.matthewpiers" in the link URL with "matthewpiers.smugmug". Awkward, but only temporary.

This is happening because I have revamped matthewpiers dot com. More of what I write and photograph will be going there, so check it out as well.

Older Photos by Month