Step By Step
Josh Sherwood of Missoula, Montana, is a prime example of why you need to be thorough with your Readers Rides submissions. He included a killer action shot showing the front three quarters of the vehicle, but neglected to fill out the Your 4x4 in This Magazine spec sheet. The result? A shelved photo that wouldnt have run if not for this story.
Your first line of defense in not getting thrown into the trash is to have a good photo. While were picking on Kenny Barmard of Fayetteville, North Carolina (he did send some better digital photos on diskette), were getting more and more grainy digital photos printed on regular computer paper. If youre going to send digital photos, print them on high-quality photographic paper, or save them as a high-res (at least 300 dpi and 4 inches wide) TIFF, EPS, or JPEG file (dont forget the proper file extension) and e-mail them or put them on a diskette or CD.
Choose your background carefully. David Williams of Chattanooga has a killer Suburban on 44s and he filled out his spec sheet correctly, but whats with the Ford pickup crawling out of the grille? This photo also serves as a good example of how not to frame a vehicle. By taking a few steps to the left and crouching down on one knee the photographer could have gotten the whole vehicle in frame, as well as more of the front end. The Ford in the background also would have been minimized by that other angle.
Ronnie Beasley of Alabaster, Alabama, sent in this night shot. While you may see night shots appear in Whoops! from time to time, theres not enough contrast, detail, or color for them to make it into Readers Rides. Most of this Toyota is lost in the murk, not to mention the flash flares on the chrome grilleguard. A better shot would have been to wait until day, then use a backdrop that didnt have shutters and windows.
Most know by now that we dont like to see a bunch of man-made crap in the background, but what about the foreground? Arthur Romano III sent in this snap of his 78 GMC. Things that should have been avoided: the lattice fence and plant in the foreground, a chain link fence in the distance, and you can see the tire, wheel, and rocker panel of the vehicle parked behind the GMC. Were also not terribly fond of side-profile shots.
Roger Early of Walla Walla, Washington, had everything but good lighting in this attempt at getting his 50 Powerwagon in the magazine. When photographing dark vehicles on light backgrounds such as snow, the camera is often fooled into thinking theres more light than there actually is. If you dont have a camera that lets you compensate for low light, your best bet is to simply wait for the sun to come out and make sure youre shooting the side of the vehicle on which the sun is shining.
Some people really like bolt-on widgets. Theres nothing wrong with that, but were more likely to not print a photo of a rig for this magazine thats outfitted like D.J. Fleurys of Escanabe, Michigan. The fact that this rig has a healthy 351W and rides on 35s may have been its saving grace, but theres just too many hot spots. D.J. did choose a good backdrop and snapped the photo from the front three quarter perspective, but moving slightly to the side or crouching down could have gotten rid of those nasty flares from the sun.
So close, and yet so far. Brien McMahon had a humorous spec sheet, shot the photo from a good angle, framed the vehicle well, and made sure there was sunlight hitting both the front and side of the vehicle. However, theres more crap than we can deal with behind his 79 Scout II, not to mention the shadow of the photographer and the fence he was standing in front of.
For your truck to be considered for Readers' Rides or a feature in the magazine, you'll need to follow the instructions printed on this form. For a Readers' Rides submission, enlarge this and then print it out and send it to the address listed.
In this line of work we get called a lot of creative names for a lot of reasons. Most of the really choice ones, however, stem from why we didnt run a Readers Rides photo someone sent in or why we didnt shoot a full blown feature on a given vehicle. So, were here to try and help your chances of getting your junk in this, the worlds greatest magazine.
We sometimes get literally hundreds of Readers Rides submissions in one week. We open each envelope and first check out the photo. If the photo is good enough to be published, we then check to make sure the Your 4x4 in This Magazine spec sheet, which youll find in the Drivelines section of each issue, is filled out. If you dont want to cut up your issue, you can simply copy the form on another piece of paper and fill out the info. The point is, we need each of those questions answered and we need it in that format. As always, preference is given to humorous tech sheets. Also, we really hate it when people list none under the Worst Modification Youve Made section. If we wanted perfection wed look in the mirror.
The way we usually choose our feature vehicles is by seeing them wheel. Sure, we also dig rigs that look cool or have trick components, but if they dont wheel well, then theres no point in showing them to the world. When possible, we try to steer clear of scam jobs and rigs laden with sponsor stickers. Sometimes, but not always, the owners of these vehicles have gotten the parts from manufacturers for nothing by promising them exposure in magazines. That may fly with some other publications, but we try to maintain some semblance of integrity. Also, bolt-on chrome grab handles, moonvisors, tacky graphics, and neon lights are going to do nothing but make us look the other way unless theyre on a rig that completely floors us with its off-road prowess.