Photographing tow trucks

While on assignment in Tennessee, I was introduced to Yates Towing and Recovery. The company is owned by one of two brothers, both of which own their own towing and recovery companies. At the time, they had Century rotator heavy wreckers on tri-axle Peterbilt chassis, and both companies were in totally different color schemes. Since I was in the area photographing tow trucks I was referred to these companies by the folks at Miller Industries, who manufactured the units.

The pride of the fleet that I photographed was black and loaded with chrome. We shot the unit along a local lake. At the time, I was shooting Fuji Velvia with my Mamiya RZ67 … it was prior to the introduction of digital imaging. Shooting a black truck (very dark) on a bright sunny day with lots of blue sky requires a bit of concentration because of the wide dynamic range in the scene. Now since this was film, I had a broad range that the film could capture, even though it was transparency film and not negatives. So, I metered for the truck and stopped down half a stop so I didn’t blow out the highlights in the scene.

Century rotator on a Peterbilt chassis
Century rotator on a Peterbilt chassis from Yates Towing and Recovery. Larry Shapiro photo
Century rotator on a Peterbilt chassis
The boom is at full extension and rotated 90 degrees. Larry Shapiro photo

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