Nitro Nite is the finale for the Cruising Grand season. Cruising Grand is a weekly event that attracts classic car owners from across Southern California who come to share their amazing cars and to meet their fellow petrol heads.
Nitro Nite has an entirely different feel than any other Cruising Grand Friday night. Nitro Nite sees vintage dragsters being pushed down Grand Avenue with their acohol fueled engines in high decibel glory.
Capturing Cruising Grand has been a project of mine for the past few years but I've never had any images of Nitro Nite. First of all, its hard to get a good view. Crowds line Grand Avenue two to three deep. So getting there early to grab a decent spot is key. Once you're in place there aren't many opportunities to move around.
I was really tempted to take my Fuji X100s for its low light advantages. I can shoot at ISO 3200 on the X100s with little or no noise. But digital is not where my project is. I have been shooting most of my best images on film. So, Nitro Nite needed to be on Ilford HP5+. The Leica M2, recently CLA'd was my choice with the 50mm Summicron. Lighting was tricky. Check out the lighting conditions on the embedded video later in the post shot with my iPhone 5s. It goes to show how good film can be in low light if handled properly. I shot most frames wide open at f/2 with either a 1/15 or 1/30 of a second shutter speed. ISO with HP5+ was at 1600. I processed the film in development at 3200 using the Massive Dev Chart recommend times, i.e., Ilfosol 3 for 24:30 minutes. I cut down on the agitation to try and reduce grain.
Here are my images and short video to give you a sense of the sounds from the short night. Some images may show some blur due to movement with longer shutter speeds but for me, that just adds to the beauty of film.
As always, thanks for reading.