Using the moon as your sole light source: Tobias Hutzler’s nighttime car photos

Most of the photos you see here, taken in April by Tobias Hutzler, were illuminated by a single light source: a full moon. (The others are a mix of daylight and moonlight.) Tobias shot these photos over a two-week stint in the California desert and set himself the challenge of working in camera. How did he do it, and what inspired him to undertake this project? Here, he explains it in his own words…

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Photo by Tobias Hutzler.

Photo by Tobias Hutzler.

Photo by Tobias Hutzler.

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“The technical approach to these photographs is very basic: ultra-long exposures—the most basic approach to photography. I focused on the energy of motion, the speed, the feeling of transportation, the contrast between the stillness of the landscape and the energy of the engines. The challenge was to create all that in camera without relying on artificial postproduction and image manipulation.

We shot in the middle of the desert, in an open vast space, like a huge studio. I felt like a writer must feel looking at an empty sheet of white paper, ready to be filled. We scheduled the shoot according to the lunar calendar, having the moonlight as the only light source. We set up our production base camp in the middle of the white desert and stayed there for two weeks, learning to read the natural light and how it reacts with the surface of a car.

We had a very limited crew and gear, and it was our objective to only use minimal equipment. We were working with ultra-long exposures throughout the entire night, setups with multiple cameras—which meant not much sleep for two weeks in temperatures from 120 to 30 degrees. We also created different light tools. Like a painter would use a brush, we used light, painting with light in the vast landscape… It always inspires me to go beyond my imagination.”

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Photo by Tobias Hutzler.

Photo by Tobias Hutzler.

Photo by Tobias Hutzler.

Photo by Tobias Hutzler.

The moon, a muse. Photo Tobias Hutzler.

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See more of Tobias’ automotive photography at http://www.stocklandmartel.com/talent/tobias-hutzler/photography/category/automotive#0.

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One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] Tobias worked with design director Dave Speranza, and it truly turned out to be an ideal matchup of photographer, concept, and creative director. He and Speranza agreed that the cover photo and the opener would be shot using only moonlight as a light source, a concept that Tobias had explored extensively in personal projects (including this one). […]

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