The Winning Shot
"Here's the breakdown on this year's shoot: Canon 20D set to 200 ISO in aperture priority with a circular polarizer. I used mostly my 17-85mm IS [image stabilizer-ed.] lens, but also my 70-300mm IS. I also used my tripod, a ladder, and two friends holding reflectors. The location is the site of the Barrett-Jackson auction and Goodguys SW Nationals. It is known as West World of North Scottsdale. It has large, open areas with no lines, and not too many obstructions. My model's name is Amanda Pille, an ASU freshman studying pre-law. I shot about 300 pictures, and it was tough narrowing it down to just 10."
-Keith Kanak, winner

Camera: Canon 20D
Car owner: Art Soucek
Model: Amanda Pille
Location: West World, Scottsdale, AZ
Engine: stock 455
Cylinder heads: stock
Camshaft: stock
Intake: stock
Induction: stock Q-jet
Transmission: Turbo 400
Rearend: stock
Suspension: stock
Years of ownership: 26

The name of this year's winner, Keith Kanak, might sound familiar to readers. That's because he was a finalist in last year's photo contest, and was also the winner of our 2005 contest. Our decision to award first place to Keith was an easy one: Years of practice and following our advice have resulted in a set of awesome photographs of Art Soucek's stock '70 Olds 442 convertible. Since last year's contest, Keith decided to step up his game in anticipation for this year. "I set out to do whatever I had to in order to improve, so I took two semesters of photography classes at my local community college," Keith says. "I have also purchased the gear that should give me the ability to do many things. Good camera lenses and accessories-all Canon-are as expensive as good car parts! It is my goal to secure a freelance position with one of the top car magazines, PHR being my first choice, as automotive photography is my passion."

Camera: Nikon D40x
Car owner: Ryan Fultz
Location: local soccer field parking lot
Engine: 383 SBC
Cylinder heads: AFR 195
Camshaft: COMP Cams
Intake: Edelbrock Performer RPM Air Gap
Induction: Holley 830 carb
Transmission: Tremec TKO five-speed
Rearend: GM 12-bolt w/Auburn posi, 4.10 gears
Suspension: Hotchkis (springs, sway bars, control arms)
Brakes: Baer, Hydraboost from Hydratech
Peak power: 355 hp (chassis dyno)
Years of ownership: 17
Total invested: $28,000

After being runner-up in last year's photo contest, Ryan Fultz almost hung it up for this year, but decided to make another appearance after we called him out in our contest announcement story (August 2007). Here's what Ryan wrote: "After last year's entry and all the work that went into shooting at multiple locations, I wasn't going to enter again ... that is, until you ran my photo in this year's 'Tips For Better Photos,' and baited me by saying you hoped to see more from me in '07. So I ended up ditching the Finepix S5000, and stepping up to the Nikon D40x. Thanks. That one sentence cost me almost $1,000. After stepping up to an SLR, I now understand what a circular polarizer can do for a shot. I could never see what it was doing with a point-and-shoot."

Camera: Kodak P850
Car owner: Tim Coon
Location: Mt. Vernon, IA
Engine: 383 SBC
Cylinder heads: AFR 195
Camshaft: hydraulic roller, .539/.558-inch lift, 234/242 @ .050
Intake: ACCEL DFI single-plane
Induction: ACCEL Gen VII DFI
Transmission: 700-R4 w/Yank 3,600-stall
Rearend: Ford 9-inch, 4.11 gears
Suspension: '86 Corvette, front; home-built four-link w/coilovers, rear
Best 1/4-mile e.t.: 13.21/103
Years of ownership: 25

It's a shame this is a photography contest and not a car-building contest, because Tim Coon would win hands down. From the time a 14-year-old Tim resurrected the old hulk in his dad's barn (and doing doughnuts with his friends in a field) to the present, Tim has built virtually everything on his '60 Impala. Among the highlights are cutting up the frame, transplanting a C4 Corvette front suspension, fabricating his own coilover four-link rear, learning to perform major bodywork, sewing his own upholstery, building the small-block Chevy, installing and tuning the ACCEL DFI fuel injection, painting the chassis (but not the exterior-too big for his garage), reassembling the car (using a '60 station wagon parts car as a template), then beating on it at the drag strip. Oh, and did we mention that Tim's photos are freakin' awesome? When you work on the same car for 25 years (Tim's now 39), you really fall in love with the lines of the car, and Tim has captured the '60 Chevy perfectly with his point-and-shoot Kodak.

Best Of The Rest

Camera: Canon 30D
Car owner: Hugh Howel
Location: Ridge Ferry Park, Rome, GA
Engine: .030-over 455, 9.4:1 compression
Cylinder heads: mildly ported stock #C5, 2.11/1.77-inch valves
Camshaft: Crane H-288-2, 226/234 @ .050
Intake: Edelbrock Performer (PN 2156)
Induction: Rochester Q-jet
Transmission: Turbo 400, 2,500-stall
Rearend: GM 8.5-inch 10-bolt with Auburn posi, 3.08 gears
Suspension: stock w/urethane bushings
Brakes: stock front, SSBC rear
Years of ownership: 19
Total invested: $24,500

Second-generation Firebirds make excellent project cars because they have great styling, they're legit musclecars (being made prior to 1973), and you can still get one relatively cheap. Hugh Howel picked his up for $650 back in 1988, and has been addicted to Firebirds ever since. (He has five of them.) Although he claims to be an avid photographer, Hugh opted to let Amy Madden take his contest shots. They came out great, and here are the best of the lot.

Camera: Kodak C633
Car owner: Tom McConnell
Location: new home subdivision
Engine: 396 BBC
Cylinder heads: Edelbrock Performer RPM
Camshaft: COMP Extreme Energy 284, .574/.578-inch lift, 240/246 @ .050
Intake: Edelbrock Performer RPM
Induction: Barry Grant 750 Speed Demon
Ignition: MSD
Transmission: Muncie M-21 four-speed
Rearend: GM 12-bolt, 3.73 gears w/Eaton posi
Suspension: stock
Brakes: Wilwood
Years of ownership: 5
Total invested: $27,000

Tom McConnell discovered one of the automotive photographer's most closely guarded secrets-shooting in a new home development. The perfect time to go is just after the roads are paved, but before home construction begins. And if you go on the weekend, security won't even hassle you. Tom's had his dream car for five years, and is working on a larger 454.

Camera: Kodak Easy Share DX7630
Car owner: Leticia Sotelo
Location: local shopping center
Engine: 400ci Pontiac
Cylinder heads: stock cast iron
Camshaft: stock
Intake: Edelbrock Performer RPM
Induction: Holley 750-cfm double-pumper
Transmission: Turbo 400
Rearend: GM 12-bolt, 3.90 gears
Suspension: stock
Best 1/4-mile e.t.: 13.58
Years of ownership: 14
Total invested: $8,500

Pontiac fans remember the '70 T-37 Tempest as being the ultimate "sleeper." It had all the GTO's running gear without the gingerbread or fancy paint. Leticia Sotelo's dad had one, and she was so impressed at an early age that she would steal it and go joy riding. And her first car? A '68 LeMans. That was replaced by the '69 GTO seen here, which she painstakingly restored with her husband (and photographer) Enrique. Leticia says her GTO was meant to be driven: "I drive my car everywhere, to get groceries, appointments, weekends, shows, and cruises." She's even taken it to the drag strip, running a best of 13.58 in the quarter-mile.