It had been a long day. This is where I spent my Wed shooting like a crazy man, challenging my photographic skills, sweating profusely and loving every moment of it. At the end of the day, I wanted a image of my workplace but a simple, single click wouldn’t do. I mean, I had been doing HDR, flash fill VR panos for the past ten hours so why not keep the pain going. So dragged the ladder out into the sun, climbed to the top and did a 16Fish, 5 image HDR, 3 image wide, hand held pano. I mean what the hay…never tried that before.
As my folks learned this past weekend at Photoshop for Shooters, a good realistic HDR starts at the point of capture. It’s all about light, quantity and quality. The reason when I went with a 16Fish pano was because a single click from my vantage point cut off the left wing of the left Mustang and the right wing of the right Mustang. I wanted those wings so I needed to shoot three images across. Why doesn’t it look like a Fisheye shot? The horizon line is running dead center of the frame. And with the addition two image on either side of the main image, some of the bowing at the edges is avoided.
The finishing was pretty straight forward. The HDR was done with Photomatix Pro. The pano was assembled in Photoshop using Photomerge to assemble the three Tifs from Photomatix Pro. A little Nik Tonal Contrast, Darken/Lighten Center and Vivezza to brighten the back two planes and flag and all done. It was actually a whole lot easier to do then I first imagined. But then that’s true for a lot of things in photography. As long as you start with the basics and execute them correctly, it all seems to fall into place.
Photo captured by D3x, 16Fish on Lexar UDMA digital film
We had some great light the last minutes of the shoot so we put KT to work. This is the great lady at Stallion 51 who made the afternoon possible for us. I very sweet lady who was all too happy to get in WWII WAC clothing and pose for us with the T-6. This is straight shot from the camera. As simple as can be, my kinda shooting.
When I made this click, I was telling the group I was thinking B&W, making a click that is very similar of those shot in the ’40s of WACs doing their pride in their work. And it just brings my point back into the spot light. If KT hadn’t had faith that letting a photographic come to their planes (a first for them), we wouldn’t have been there. Without her putting on this great period clothing and posing, we wouldn’t have this brief window back in time. It’s the people that make this aviation, photography and world special. Can’t thank KT & Willie enough for bringing this point home for me today.
Photos captured by D3x, 24-120VR on Lexar UDMA digital film
We headed to Stallion 51 for our sunset shoot where the folks at Stallion 51 rolled out the red carpet for us, literally! KT & Willie couldn’t have done more us, rolling out a L-39, P-51D & T-6 on the tarmac for us to photograph. Left in the hangar were three other P-51Ds like this one that we could work to our hearts content. The safari participants went nuts, totally getting into this aviation photography thing. (I kinda like my quick flash work on this one, not bad for a lonely wildlife guy.)
We had models on the wings, in the cockpit, kissing the prop, doing classic ’40s pinup posses on the aircraft, it was a ton of fun. Then when the light went down folks went in to watch McNally work the flashes which left the planes all by themselves. Many were out there beside me shooting, some who never thought a plane an interesting subject but now admitted in person and by email (already) that they are hooked. It couldn’t have been a better finish to the great day! (This is a simple 1click HDR.)
Photos captured by D3x, 70-200VR2 / 24-120VR on Lexar UDMA digital film