I recently had the opportunity to photograph the San Francisco Academy of Art University’s private classic car collection. The connection between a classic car collection and an art school might not make sense at first, but this is the private collection of the family behind the university, not to mention the fact that the Academy also has a car design program. All makes sense now right?
The entire collection was recently moved to the massive former Mercedes showcase at 950 Van Ness Ave. The multi-story building is stuffed to the gills with beautiful, perfectly-restored antique machines. This building is a place to house the cars rather than a museum proper.
Like a kid in a candy store, I drooled over the masterpieces of engineering as I carefully maneuvered my tripod between narrow clearances of million dollar gems, getting hundreds of close-ups of every detail. Unfortunately (for photography’s sake) the warehouse is lit with direct florescent tube lights which produce impossible-to-hide reflections all over the finish of the flawless paint jobs, not to mention horrible color temperature for shooting chrome parts. I usually like to “buff out” the light reflections in Photoshop, but I just don’t have the dozens of hours required to do it right now.
Photo Gallery: The Academy of Art’s Private Car Collection
These are a few closeup shots through a Canon 85mm f/1.2L. This baby is one of Canon’s masterpieces of glass, or the “Bokeh King” as I like to call him.