Auto Show photos are boring so I shot the Houston Auto Show in the dark

Everyone's auto show photos look the same. Crowds, ropes, reflections, and a variety of unfavorable lighting conditions all make sure that there's no hiding the fact that these are cars in a convention center. Going to an auto show is a blast for the car-obsessed, but looking at pictures in an auto show is usually anything but. So when the Houston Auto Show asked if there were any special requests I had, I didn't hesitate: I wanted to lightpaint the cars on the show floor with LEDs, in the dark.

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I've shot a number of cars this way, and usually I have to go miles outside of the city to find someplace without street lights, traffic and light pollution. But these cars are already indoors, in a big room with lots of space. The idea was that if the people in charge could turn the lights off, I'd be spoiled for choice with long exposure opportunities! I'm pretty sure they thought I was crazy, but they made it happen anyway.

The doors closed to the public at 9:30PM, and by 10:00 the lights were off and I was ready to setup with my assistant Will, who is really great at waving around some LEDs. It wasn't quite as dark as I hoped (the big electronic displays were still illuminated and some cars were spotlit), but it was still dark enough to do 20 second exposures without any issues. The time flew by. It was very much an experiment, so there were hits and misses, and the huge changes in lighting and backgrounds meant that each setup offered a new challenge.

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra

Corvette Z06 Convertible

BMW i8

Jeep Renegade

Ram Rebel

Audi R8 V10 plus

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After about an hour in a half, our time was up and they needed to get the lights back on. I thought it would be sort of like Night At the Museum, but in reality, a major auto show never sleeps, there are always people working, cleaning from the previous day and preparing for the next. It was such a fun opportunity and the results are as exciting as I could have hoped for.

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