Ford GPW Jeep #208102's L-134 EngineStudio Shoots & Military Show Finds

A small update this month, I take a look at how I shot the studio-looking photos of the Jeep without it being in an actual studio! Then I showcase some finds at a local militaria show including another TM manual, a WW2 Jeep toy, and some wartime jeep photos!

I posted this photo a little bit ago showcasing the Jeep in a studio-looking environment… but the truth is, it’s actually sitting in my driveway at 8pm at night! So, how did I get this? More in a few!

Regarding the Jeep itself, nothing much has been changed or done. The restoration is finished until I can get started on the body tub. Till then, I’ve been enjoying the Jeep. While she lives in the garage, I take her out for a spin at least once a week putting a few miles on her and getting all the fluids moving. Due to that, I end up driving my Jeep more than most people I know do, even though she lives in the garage! I eventually want to start replacing repro items with originals (when cost-effective). And there still are some projects I need to do, like fixing the issues with the radiator (it has some pin-hole leaks and there’s a slight overheating issue at times). But as for now, she’s a fine working machine!

And I realized a few weeks ago that her paint job will only get scratched, dinged, and faded as time passes, even though I try to repaint and fix any scuffs. But I figured that I needed to get some really high-end shots of the Jeep for the record of where it is now, post-restoration. Once I fix the original body tub and put it on, I’ll do this again.
Anyway, as a photographer, I wanted to get that seamless white studio look… without taking it to the studio. In fact, I wanted to shoot the shots in my driveway (the garage is too cramped). This is the result. There is no white background, it’s all digitally done. But how?

So let’s go through how I did it. Here’s a raw show of my Jeep sitting in my driveway. Doesn’t look anything like a seamless white backdrop right? It’s about 8pm at night. But, as you can see, the lighting on the Jeep looks nice and even with only a few harsh reflections (like on the top bows). This was done with three Norman LH500 lights with a Norman 808 powerpack. Instead of a softbox (I was lazy), I used reflective umbrellas. The key to getting the white backdrop to look ‘real’ is to have that diffused soft light on the Jeep itself. Three lights with reflector umbrellas accomplish this.

Next, I brought the image into Photoshop, where I erased the background. I have it green just to show how it’s removed. Already, it starts to have an appearance of being in a studio. But I haven’t changed any lighting on the Jeep itself. Cutting the Jeep out was the most time-consuming part of things.

Then, I turned the background white and added a slight inner glow to the Jeep. This simulates the white light reflected off what would be a white background back at the Jeep. I removed that inner glow from the areas that would be in shadow, such as the button of the wheels, and any other parts that touch shadows. From there, I used a black brush and drew the shadows back in, using the original photo on the driveway as a reference. You have to think about how the light will bounce around if it was in a seamless white studio. I then added an extra bit of shadow directly under the wheels since that will have the harshest shadow of the whole Jeep since it contacts the ground. The final result looks like it was shot in a studio!

And here’s a look at all four sides of the Jeep with this method, scaled together as best as possible. It’s a great photo record of the Jeep!

I made sure to document a few more things, such as the engine bay.

The interior.

Different angles of the engine.

Details such as the fender-mounted blackout light. I didn’t bother turning this into a studio background-looking shot as the windshield is heavily blurred from the shallow depth of field.

Looking back at the engine bay. One thing to watch out for is the reflections of the light. With the lusterless OD Green, it’s not too bad in most areas. But the satin black and Ford Engine Gray are big reflectors. I have more detailed shots and overall documentation from this shoot that I still need to get to which I will share in future updates.

Moving on! Earlier in April, the West Coast Historical Military Collectors Show, the largest military show west of the Mississippi! I typically come away with some great finds, but this year I came back with a ton of awesome stuff. Among that were some Jeep-related items, including this rather used TM 9-803 from February 22, 1944.

I figured this would be a good time to show the difference between a post-war 1947 TM 9-803 and a wartime 1944 one. Right away, you can spot the differences to the cover. The main text is larger on the post-war one (to the left). It also says just February 1944 vs the wartime one says 22 February 1944.

But the main way to tell is to open to the first page. Here you can see some dramatic differences. This time, the post-war one is on the right. Notice, on the post-war manual, at the very bottom it has Washington: 1947. That’s the easiest way to tell if the TM is post-war.

On the wartime one, it has the repeated 22 February 1944 date, and also which manual this one supersedes.

Also, the wartime manual, top, is smaller than the post-war one.

Inside the wartime TM, I found this original post-war voltage regulator replacement instructional guide. Most people will find these tiny voltage regulators on their Jeeps post-war if they were converted to 12 volts, such as mine. I have one of these very ones. It talks about how to replace the wartime voltage regulator for one of these ones.

Here’s the other side. It’s a nice piece of history to have.

And inside.

And it appears to be dated January, 1959.

Moving on, another item I got, for a steal, was this wartime Jeep tool. Made of all wood, it’s pretty complete.

While the axles are metal, everything else is wood due to the shortage of steel/metals during the war.

Researching ebay, I was able to find that it was made by Wood Commodities Corp. It goes for between $100-$175 on ebay! Wow!

The only damage is the front ‘bumper’ ends have broken off. But it’s in better condition than some of these wooden toys that are on ebay. A nice find for the collection!

Finally, while I didn’t spend too much time hunting through piles of wartime photos, I did glance through some stacks and picked up any shots that had Jeeps in them, including these five. I got a really neat sixth one with an Army Air Force Jeep (not pictured here) as well. Let’s go through each shot…

Several of these Jeep shots came from the same person. He appears to be in the 8th Armored Division. Not quite sure on the other markings, but possible Jeep #2? The Jeep behind it, called ‘Pittsfield’, appears to be an HQ (Headquarters) Jeep #6.

Here’s another shot of a 8th Armored Division Jeep. This one could be HQ as well. Looks to be a GPW Jeep. The caption on the back is:
“12/19/42 – Close up eating lunch & inspecting the Ford Peep.”
And yes, it says Peep, not Jeep.

I assume this is the same Jeep as before, which in this case it would be Headquarters, Jeep #13. Caption reads:
“12/19/42 – Cpl Rohrs & his Carbine”
The name is hard to decipher. It’s a GPW for sure. Note the upsidedown star on the upper hood/cowling.

Here’s HQ #17 from the same group. The caption reads only:
“Rice & Rohrs”
Again, the star is upside down on the upper hood.

Judging by the fact this Jeep also has a name in the same spot as the first image with ‘Pittsfield’, I assume this one is also 8th Armored Division. Note the canvas half doors installed on this Jeep.

Finally, I paid a bit more than I should have for this shot, which showcases two Jeeps in the 12th Air Force based at Palawan Air Field in the Philippines. The closest Jeep has the classic AAF upside-down bumperettes. What’s interesting to note is the strange device sitting just in front and on the side of the driver above the step. Not quite sure that that is.
The other Jeep, without a canvas top, is a ‘Follow Me’ Jeep. Finally, a Dodge WC51 is at the end. They are parked outside the base operations.

All of this made me dig up my favorite Jeep photo I acquired at a flea market a few years ago from a photographer in the 12th Air Force in Italy with these young lads not wanting to see these ladies leave. This is an earlier Jeep, without combat rims. Not the square fuel sump. I was able to use some new technology to clear up and enlarge the photo.

So that’s it for this update! It’s a short one, but hopefully a fun one. Next week is the big @Wheels, Tracks, and Wings 2023 event at the Planes of Fame Air Museum where we will have at least 12-15 Jeeps (including mine) among MANY other military vehicles. It’s going to be an incredible event, which I’ll be covering in the next update!

Till then…