Photographing tow trucks

I mentioned recently about a past visit to Chattanooga, Tennessee while I was photographing tow trucks for Miller Industries and for inclusion in my book Tow Trucks in Action. One of my sessions was with Doug Yates of Doug Yates Towing.

My introduction to Doug was in conjunction with an introduction to his brother Eric who also is in the towing and recovery business in nearby Ringold, GA; Guy Yates Towing and Recovery.

I photographed what was at that time a new addition to this fleet, a Century rotator on a tri-axle Peterbilt chassis in a unique blue, orange, and yellow paint scheme. When it arrived for photos … it was immaculate, and then underwent further touchups for the photos.

Shot on Fuju Velvia (transparency film) with a Mamiya RZ67, I used the simple background to showcase the truck without distractions. The first image, a classic 3/4 image incorporated full depth of field due to the angle of the truck relative to the camera.

monster Century rotator heavy wrecker
Standard 3/4 angle of a tri-axle Century rotator on a Peterbilt chassis for Eric Yates of Guy Yates Towing in Ringgld, GA. Larry Shapiro photo

The location offered lots of room for me to move around, so I went up a hill to shoot a straight side view. By going to a higher position, I was able to isolate the truck and boom against the water for a very clean view to see all the details. I further isolated the truck and made it jump out at the viewer with a shallow depth of field. This was a very easy task to accomplish since the entire subject was the same distance away from the camera on a single plane.

monster heavy wrecker tow truck beauty shot
The elevated camera position and distance provided a great vantage to isolate the truck and boom from the background with a shallow depth of field. Larry Shapiro photo