Thanks everyone. I still have the bodywork to wrestle with, but otherwise it should be pretty straightforward.
...Did all, or at least most of the Bonneville Racers have a Belly Pan?...
And ...what do you do to your pictures?
Bellypans are not simple or cheap to fabricate so most dry lakes participants who ran modified street machines avoided them. Once you lightened your car by gutting it and removing the fenders and put as much power under the hood as your budget, social connections, and practical use of the car would alow, it came time to attack your two biggest enemies: frontal area and parisitic drag. For frontal area you chopped the top as much as you dared (lakes cars became known for their radical - and often quite impractical - chop jobs). This left parisitic drag, the resistance caused by the turbulence which results when the layer of air flowing over the bodywork becomes disturbed. The worst of all is the layer between the ground and all the garbage which forms the undercarriage of the car. Installing a bellypan cleans all of that up, but you must fabricate a very large area of new bodywork to do it. This represents quite a bit of work both in the 1:1 world and in scale.
Regarding the photos, first off Thanx!!! I'm glad you like them. Here's a quick step by step. This might seem like a lot of work but it's really quite simple and I've done it so often I can knock one out in a minute or two. It's a technique that was used quite often in the old hot rod mags, generally with a white or light colored background.
Here's the original picture. I shot it using my worklights on my bench against a black card with the body held in position by a thrid hand. I work under three 60 watt incandescent spot lights. The lights are ordinary household bulbs. As you can see I keep a very messy workbench! It's a miracle I ever get anything done...
Next, using Adobe Photoshop, I select various areas that will require a solid black background. In this case you can see the flare from the spot lamp and the part where the front of the car extends beyond the black card, All this will be filled with solid black color.
Here are the areas that have been initially filled. The result is the body of the car "floating" against solid black. Among other things I have eliminated the third hand from the image.
Next I select the entire rest of the image, being sure to overlap into the black area I have already created. The selected area is show here as the red shaded zone. After I select it I fill it with solid black.
Next I select a pleasing rectangular area which is filled mainly by the image of the car (indicated here by the red outline) and crop the image, eliminating the rest of the picture.
Below is the result. I often will adjust the brightness and contrast slightly at this point but that's about all the processing I do anymore. One thing I do that's very important, is to adjust the white balance of my camera for the photo environment I'm working in (in this case under the tungsten lighting on my workbench). This ensures a relatively true color in the image.
The original image was 3488 pixels x 2616 pixels with a resolution of 240 pixels per inch. I resize the width of the cropped image to 1024 pixels, which is a common computer monitor image width. I set Photoshop to automatically resize the height to maintain the proportions. Then I "Save For Web" in Photoshop which creates a compressed 72 pixel resolution JPG image. When I upload the image to my Photobucket account it is set to resize the image to 800 pixel width, again a common image width found on older computer monitors and quite often the default image size on popular forums.
I hope this explains what I do and that you all have enjoyed my little photography digression...
Thanx for lookin',