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C&C : Abandoned...

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by PJohnP, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    I had a short time between other tasks yesterday to stop by the CAF - formerly the Confederate Air Force, now through politically correct language, the Commemorative Air Force - and I shot a number of photos of the flight-worthy aircraft at the CAF Museum (properly called the American Airpower Heritage Museum) in Midland-Odessa, Texas. For more information on this group and their museum, see : http://www.commemorativeairforce.org/

    Now, aircraft have been an interest of mine since I was a (very) young child. I've visited the museum on numerous occasions as business has brought me through Midland-Odessa. On this visit, however, I walked back to the museum boneyard, where aircraft not suitable for rebuilding and repair are left in the hot west Texas sun.

    One aircraft frame in particular caught my attention in the boneyard, and I decided that I wanted to take a photograph reminscent of the WWII photos of the USAAF, in rich deep saturated colours, but not as brightly imaged as today's taste dictates. I wanted a shot almost entirely "out-of-the-camera", no cropping, and certainly no Photoshopping beyond adding the copyright and downsizing for the Cafe. I left myself the option of working with the white balance in NC almost as I might have saturated colours in the darkroom in times gone past.

    I shot this on a D100 with the redoubtable 12-24mm AFS lens and a circular polariser turned to the maximum degree of polarisation. It's a bit underexposed by choice to hold the whites of the insignia and for effect. The colours are deliberately shifted in WB using NC to bring up the rust and discolouration on the skin of the aircraft (which in fact the eye would see at the time of the photo, but was washed down a bit by the exposure) and the autumnally coloured ground cover.

    The shot was handheld.

    PS-CS was used to address resizing and adding the copyright. The shot is uncropped.

    I call this photograph Abandoned.


    Always shoot.

    John P.

    P.S. To reiterate a point from other threads at the Cafe, "C&C" means comment and critique, and these are solicited and welcomed. The small "check and x" icon by the title is intended to alert viewers of the thread that C&C is desired.

    P.P.S. For those people looking at the EXIF, yes, this was shot with ISO400 as I'd been shooting in a deep shadowed wheel well under a Shackleton moments before and simply forgot to reset ISO.
  2. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    I have no idea how one would critique this image in a negative manner.
    The impact of it is wonderful
    Color and clarity is great.
    Composition is teriffic.

    Thats just from I know what I like to see. No technicals from this novice.

    That is a print and hang.
  3. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Gale :


    And you're definitely no "novice", so the praise is especially welcomed.

    John P.
  4. SRA


    Jul 29, 2005
    Orem, Utah
    Thank you for the shot and especially the explaination.
  5. Great shot. I can't decide if the fall off of the polarizer (deep blue fading away) on the right distracts me or rather leads my eye up the aircraft and through the pic. I would like to see a rendition where the sky is more monocromatic and then compare them next to each other. I really like how you conceived the shot beforehand in all its detail and then got what you were after. Every now and again I am able to do that and it is the most rewarding part of photography.
  6. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Scott :

    Thanks for the kind comment.

    As for the explanation, I think it can "set the stage" for understanding what the photographer is attempting to achieve. I've felt similarly when you've explained some aspect of the photos you take of the dancers you teach and train.

    John P.
  7. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Matt :

    The polariser was pretty essential given the hard mid-day light I was shooting with. I'd love to shoot this image at sunset with a richer golden light, but that's not on the agenda for my week, unfortunately.

    When possible, I'll shoot with and without a polariser to cross compare the photos, but the conditions yesterday were such that I knew I'd wash out details with that stark west Texas light. Not an excuse at all - I knew going in that I'd get that "fadeaway" sky and accepted it.

    I don't know if you have ever seen any of the WWII USAAF (United States Army Air Force) colour photos, but they usually had very hard light, coupled with deep hues. They were typically "at rest" photos, as colour photography of air operations was still relatively rare. Much of this has to do with the colour photography of the era, which was less subtle than today's work, but it had a special part in my reading as a boy about WWII, and yesterday sparked some of those memories.

    And you're completely correct - landing a photo much as we visualise it is one of more pleasing moments in photography. Now if I could just manage to get more of them !

    John P.
    Actually I really liked the polarized effect. What I was suggesting was that perhaps you could deepen the blue on the right to match the intensity of the polorized color on the left. I understand the desire not to postprocess with a heavy hand but this one might warrent a try. The colors in this photograph are superb. I have seen those USAF photos you speak of and you hit the mark with this one. As for golden light, we all love it, but you made it work without it so kudos to you.
  9. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Matt :

    Well, I'll have to think about how to deepen that blue. I haven't done very much of that kind of PS work.

    And thanks for the positive reinforcement on the photo. It's greatly appreciated.

    John P.
  10. Ok so I did a quick photoshop job on it. Not very good but it should serve the purpose for now. I hope you don't mind. I will pull the image from my site in a day or two.

    My take on it
    the original

    Looking at them side by side I like both images. The darker sky makes my version a bit moody, but your version does lead the eye into the frame......Hmmmmmmm. Well it was fun to play with.
  11. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Matt :


    Could you explain what you did ? This old dog might want to learn a new trick...

    Thanks for taking the time to show me this.

    John P.
  12. Sure. I used the brush tool in photoshop. Once you select the tool go down the the forground color in the tool bar and click on it. The next thing I did was to click the on the photo near the tail of the aircraft where the sky was darkest. This set the color that the brush would then paint. I then set the brush to a about 50 or 60 percent opacity and brushed in the color. There are most likely better ways to do this but it worked for me. I did find that I had to brush it in all in one go. If I stopped and restarted anywhere I overlapped ended double painted and very dark. I think you can use the smart wand and select the whole sky, choose your color point and do it all in one click. I have not tryed it this way. Oh yeah one more thing. Make a layer from copy and work on that so you can back up easy if you make a mistake. I am no photoshop expert but I am sure if you posted this in the retouching forum someone could show you an easy way to do this.
  13. I like it. Seems to have a whole bunch of stuff "going on" but I like it. Everything seems to fit just right. I bet this would look gorgeous in print...
  14. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Jim :

    < laughing quietly >

    Yeah, one of these days I need to start actually printing stuff in earnest. I have a stack o' photos I should give some consideration to printing on quality paper, instead of grinding out some quick stuff on my office colour printer.

    And thanks for the kind words.

    John P.
  15. I think it is a great shot.

    I realise it is uncropped, but with the original you posted I find the wing of the plane at the furthest right of the image a little distracting. If it were me, I would just crop that out, or even right up to the end of the wing of the main subject aircraft.
  16. I don't understand why I'm not getting John's pic to show up, the edited ones are showing up but not his??? hmmmmmm

    Edit: ZoneAlarm issue with Photoshare - add that to the list of things to fix today!! *LOL*

    John, I really like the mood this photo invokes.... aging metal in the hot desert sun, cold nights, served its time, done its duty, abandoned, gutted ... a graveyard for airplanes seems such a lonely place. The WA really works well on this shot. The desert colours contrast the sky nicely. Very well done.
  17. Vienna Pics

    Vienna Pics

    Nov 14, 2005

    They are both nice photos - like the second a little better - strong constrast - nice red in the brush along side the plane. The plane breaks the strong sky blue and the 'natural' earth tones in the brush.
  18. BigPixel

    BigPixel Guest

    Original shot is stunning in all regards; compositrion, color, mood and intent. The only possible critique I'd make would be to perhaps clone out the other tail section on the left. Other than that, Nat'l Geo stuff here.
  19. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Steve :

    Thanks for the kind remark.

    I've been considering several people's suggestions on crops, and I'll give them a try to see if it improves the image. While I was trying to shoot "out-of-the-camera", this is still useful for me in developing my composition skills.

    John P.
  20. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Sandi :

    Thanks. It's gratifying to know that my desired concept and mood for the image came through to others.

    John P.
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