Photo Destination: New York International Auto Show

If you’re looking for something fun to do that provides a unique photo opportunity, the New York International Auto Show in New York City is definitely worth a visit. This year’s auto show is March 29 – April 7, 2013.

Nancy & Matt in an Old Subaru
Nancy & Matt in an Old Subaru

We went last year and had a great time, and the best part is that cameras and video equipment are allowed. Like most events, I suggest getting there early before the crowds. Touring the whole show takes a long time, and seeing everything in one day may not be possible, so plan carefully what you want to see.  Start with the things that interest you most because you’ll find yourself getting distracted by all the interesting things to see (lovely female models) and may not make it to the area you wanted to see the most.

Mini Display, Feels like London
Mini Display, Feels like London

The New York International Auto Show is the most attended show in North America, and auto manufacturers often announce new products here. Some interesting vehicles being revealed at the 2013 show are the Audi A3, Cadillac CTS, Chevy Camera SS, Mercedes Benz CLA 45 AMG, Toyota Highlander, and a 1200 horsepower Shelby Mustang plus others.

The show is held in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which is a huge glass building. It has four floors and covers 6 blocks between 34th and 40th Street on 11th Avenue. If you attend, be prepared for a lot of walking, and if you buy food at the show, high food prices.

Bugatti Veyron
Bugatti Veyron

Even though some refer to it as a “car” show, there are lot more than cars on display, over 1000 vehicles total. One whole floor is dedicated to trucks, with everything from off road type pick ups and SUVs to cargo vans that a delivery company would use. Another floor features motorcycles, and others have everything from million dollar exotic super cars like the Bugatti Veyron to “mom and pop” cars that a family would drive. There are also lots of booths with vendors promoting products that aren’t automotive related.

Matt Checking Out the Modern Warfare 3 Jeep
Matt Checking Out the Modern Warfare 3 Jeep

Because cameras are allowed, photo opportunities abound, but with over a million people attending the show during its 10 day run, getting people-free photos of the cars can be a challenge. Some of the displays, especially the exotic and concept cars, have ropes around them, and people tend to line up around the ropes. Usually, if you wait a minute or two, you’ll make your way towards the front of the display and have a good shot of the car, but because people come and go so quickly, you need to shoot quickly before someone comes into your camera view.

Matt Practicing his Driving Skills
Matt Practicing his Driving Skills

Last year I brought a Canon S95 point and shoot last year, and it worked great.  An expensive camera isn’t needed, but something wide a wide angle lens is best since you’ll be relatively close to the vehicles. The show features all kinds lights, from the main lights in the convention center to the ones being used in the displays of the cars themselves, so I shoot on auto white balance, which is pretty accurate most of the time. I shot RAW and can adjust the white balance if needed in post.

Most of the displays are bright and super high ISOs are not needed, but a flash really makes the color pop. The display lights can create a lot of specular highlights and shadows, and the flash helps balance everything out. If your camera allows for it, I’d shoot in aperture priority mode so you can control depth of field.

If anyone is going to the show, let me know, and maybe we can meet up and say hi.