Adventures of Traveling Cars by Kim Leuenberger

This guest post is a little different than the ones that we have been posting here at Photography Life. It is not coming from an established pro photographer. It is from an aspiring photographer, Kim Leuenberger, who works hard on bringing something unique to the world of photography, something we do not get to see every day in the never-ending sea of imagery on the Internet. I think a lot of our readers can relate to her and might find her work inspiring. I really liked her concept of Traveling Cars and asked Kim to share a little tip on how she post-processes her car photos.

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My pondering and wondering

My name is Kim Leuenberger, I’m 21 and I’m a big dreamer! My imagination is so wide and over productive, so I have to find ways to let things go off of my head (so I don’t explode). I’m very close to nature, and I spend most of my time alone, which can be quite heavy at times. I love to get my feelings out through art. As a kid I used to have my own “throw-away” Kodak, and we would develop it and put it in a small album. My parents would tell me how to improve, and it went on like this for years, until The family got a digital camera. After the purchase I could practice as much as i wanted.

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For my 19th birthday, I got my first personal DSLR and that’s when I started really photographing. I started creating and photographing as an artist, and not just to take a point and shoot photos of things like I used to. I would go for hours and days in City like Basel or Bern and take my friends out for photoshoots, it was a lot of fun.

But like a lot of people out there, I decided to go to school for something other than photography. In 2011 I was sitting on a bench at the university, my camera always in my bag. I couldn’t concentrate and all I could think about is going out and take pictures. I was doodling on my school notes, and even if loved Chemistry, I knew that it wasn’t my calling. I think that’s when I decided to enter London University of The Arts, which I will be attending from September. I always wanted to study in an university, plus studying the thing i love the most in the world – photography – would just be perfect.

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Traveling Cars (14)

In 2012 I decided to go to Dublin, there the thing got bigger. After seeing what I had in my portfolio, some of my teachers offered me to do an exhibition of my work (especially The Traveling Cars Adventures). But I left in April to work in Tunisia for the Club Med as a tennis teacher. The work was intense, and I had almost no time to take pictures, I was feeling very down… As soon as I got back home, I felt empty. But then in June I forced myself to go back on the field and I took some of the best pictures of my life.

I love to have friends with me to take my car pictures, it’s always more fun, and I look a little bit less ridiculous (only a bit). As I take the pictures low on the ground, I often have to lie down to make the focus perfect. Sometimes people would walk by and find me funny. At that point I would show them the pictures I just took, and that’s how I ended up selling some of the photos to them. Talking about making money from something they thought was funny :) Soon after I started getting inquiries for purchases of my work…

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Traveling Cars (4)

Traveling Cars (3)

I believe that everything is interesting. From my point of view, we must share feelings with our pictures, they must tell a story. It can happen that creativity and inspiration disappear, but we always need to fight to find them back.

Nothing can stop us and we should always push our boundaries.

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Traveling Cars (7)

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Traveling Cars (1)

What I have in my bag

I use a Canon 5d mark III at the moment. I have two lenses – the 24-105mm and the Sigma 50mm f/1.4. My 50mm is my soul mate and 99% of my shots are taken with it. I use a triopo tripod that’s very light, compact and solid. I also use a wireless remote to trigger the shutter. I recently bought a 6 in 1 light reflector that is very practical for shooting in the sun and still have some lights on my cars or models. I am not big fan of using flash. I bought a porteen gear bag on Etsy for my camera and lenses. It is specifically designed for the 5D and is perfect for me.

I’m a big fan of analogues, too. When I travel in a city, I tend to take an old analogue (I’ve got 5 or 6, always as gifts) along with a b&w filter in it. I also have quite a collection of Lomography and always have them with me. I think they take the funniest pictures ever.

Post Processing

My pictures are mostly post processed in Lightroom and I only add a little color to my photos. Light effects, blurs, are all already done with my camera and my fantastic 50mm!! I’m not a pro at retouching in Photoshop.

1. First, open your picture on Lightroom. Sorry mine is in french ;)
Vintage Post Process (1)

2. Then, you want to go to this mode where you can choose the tint of your light and darker tones. Try to save your best presets to win some time. I like to set my light tones in a green-yellowish color and the darks in blue-red ones, but it’s really up to you, try to play with it, push the saturation, the tint. It’s always fun! It works really well for sunsets too!

Vintage Post Process (2)
3. Then when you’re happy with your tones, you can work the brightness, contrast, saturation of your image. I love lightroom 4 because it’s so easy to work with for the light, white tones and black and darker ones. I like my pictures soft, but c still contrasting a bit. So that’s what I came up with this time:

Vintage Post Process (3)

4. There is also the tint of every color that’s interesting to work on. Maybe you want the blue to pop up a bit more, so go and push the blue, blue green saturation a bit:
Vintage Post Process (4)

5. Then, for the finish, I use the brush. For example, I want that the scooter pops a bit more up, so I’ll add clarity and contrast on it, maybe saturation.
Vintage Post Process (5)

6. After that, my picture is ready to be exported :D
Vintage Post Process (6)

I hope you enjoyed this guest post by Kim Leuenberger. If you would like to see more of her work, check out her 500px page.


  1. 1) Faz
    July 18, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Kim Leuenberger – superb super work. Very interesting concept :-)

    • 1.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Thank you so much :)

  2. July 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    KIm – this post was just flat out fun and I loved it! Thanks for sharing this with us!

    • 2.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:14 am

      I’m glad you liked it! I think Lola did an excellent job, it wasn’t easy for her to cope with my extremely tight schedule and my late replies haha.

  3. 3) Nishant Rana
    July 18, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    It’s interesting, it’s educative, it’s fun. I love your work Kim. Thanks for sharing the story with us.

    • 3.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:15 am

      I’m really glad that you do! And thank you for the support, that means a lot :)

  4. 4) John Adams
    July 19, 2013 at 6:48 am

    The best decisions in life are usually the ones we make with our heart. Your decision to pursue your love of photography definitely sounds like the right choice for you, Kim. You have a wonderful attitude and are able to express it well in your pictures and in your words. Thanks for sharing a very refreshing and enjoyable article. Thanks also to Lola for introducing us to a special person like you.

    • 4.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:17 am

      I completely agree. I had a moment of doubt 2 weeks ago, just before starting my summer course, but it completely vanished after the first day of class. I’m receiving good feedbacks and that’s really motivating!!!

  5. 5) Alice A Newton
    July 19, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Kim – just flat out love it!!! Go for your dreams and you will reach the stars.

    • 5.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Thanks Alice! Let’s hope you’re right!

  6. 6) Richard D.
    July 19, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Nice concept, and great pictures, Kim!

    By the way, Switzerland was the very first European country I ever travelled to. My sister was going to school in Bescancon, France in 1986. I met her in Geneva, and we travelled about in the Alps. I absolutely love mountains, especially the Matterhorn, where I’ve been to Zermatt 4 times, now. Been to Europe many times and lived/worked in Den Haag for 4 years. Unfortunately, I have few digital pictures of my European adventures….mainly film….so I’ll have to go back with my DSLR to shoot many more!

    Again, very nice images. You have a lot of talent!

    • 6.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Hi Richard!

      Thanks so much for the lovely comment.

      Switzerland is a lovely country indeed, but I’m now newly based in London, where possibilities are infinite!

      I’m shooting with film a lot during my travels. It gives an other perspective.
      I use my dsl only for my artistic work, the creative one. But film is awesome!

  7. 7) John Adams
    July 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    PS. I just looked at your pictures for the third time. You could do another whole series of interesting pictures documenting the process you used to maneuver some of these cars into their precarious locations. It must require a great deal of planning, preparation and teamwork. The results are truly stunning.

    • 7.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:23 am

      I won’t do that, because I’m dealing with copycats at the moment (I’ve been posting those kind of pictures on instagram since a long time now, people started copying without giving credit, which I find sad). The cars are a shoebox size, so it’s not very difficult to place them, it’s more difficult to place myself! If you’re around in London sometimes, I’ll show you the trick ;)

      • 7.1.1) John Adams
        July 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm

        They can copy your pictures but they can’t copy your talent or your enthusiasm. Keep us posted now and then about how you are doing. You’re a delightful person who deserves all the best in life.

  8. 8) Rachel Sawyer
    July 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Oh, I love Kim’s work. So happy to see her featured here!

    Kim, you are an inspiration and I adore your photos. They capture a magical feeling – keep making that magic, my friend.

    – r

    • 8.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

      Ha Rachel! I’m so glad to read you here and that you enjoyed the article!!! Thanks so much amiga!

  9. 9) Aniket
    July 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Beautiful photography… awesome work ! its interesting how you create such great art with so simple stuff.. very inspiring… keep it up !

    • 9.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Thanks a lot!

  10. 10) Elderin
    July 20, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Wonderful. Love your images. Great shots and cool idea. Hope your imagination will lead to more interesting pictures like these. Keep it up.

    • 10.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:28 am


      Thank you for the support!
      We’ll see what the future will bring!

  11. 11) Giuseppe Lo Monaco
    July 20, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I do like this simple way to be creative

    • 11.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Thanks ;)

  12. 12) Naftoli
    July 20, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    awesome pictures and creativity! however u forgot to mention what u use to enable u to take such close up macro shots with ur 50mm, im assuming extension tubes?

    • 12.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:30 am

      I didn’t forget. It’s not macro actually, the cars aren’t so tiny, they have a shoebox size :)
      Only my 50mm!

      • 12.1.1) Naftoli
        July 22, 2013 at 8:19 pm

        oh cool i thought they were like matchbox size. great shots!

  13. 13) Arne List
    July 21, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I guess these are classic tin models, in a scale about 1:12. Otherwise, you’d need a macro lens. Very good idea, indeed.

    • 13.1) Kim
      July 22, 2013 at 11:30 am

      You’re right, that’s what it is ;) Glad you enjoy it!

  14. 14) may
    July 23, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Thank you for your inspiration and beautiful images, Kim!

  15. 15) Carl TightShooster
    July 25, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Lovley Images!!!!

  16. July 26, 2013 at 1:33 am

    Gorgeous pictures !!! These are so amazing photographs , I LOVE IT

  17. 17) Pulkit
    July 31, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Fantastic article and beautiful pictures. I had a question about the cars though. Which brand is this? The cars seem nicely detailed and of a good size too. :)

  18. 18) Niraj Kataruka
    October 3, 2013 at 10:31 am

    its so inspiring…bought my first dslr just few days back and felt so upbeat seeing your photographs and reading your story…thanks

  19. 19) Karla
    November 20, 2013 at 11:14 am


    I was just looking for some tips on travel photography and was so happy to read your article. So inspiring! Thanks for the inspiration and tips!! I am traveling to London with 7 other family members in a few weeks and we are all so excited to take pics of your city. I found you on Instagram….I am Rosecity_girl. Love all your pics! As a new photographer, I thank you! You make me believe…

  20. 20) Andrew
    July 10, 2014 at 7:43 am

    You have stuffed your blog with a meaningful information and hope you will carry on doing so.

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