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Thread: Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

  1. #1
    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

    I've been trying to get some decent shots from the local aviation museum for months, but it is something of a challenge. Large aircraft in a crowded indoor space, cluttered backgrounds, limited angles, and no elevated shooting positions. I borrowed a Canon G12 this weekend and tried holding it as high as possible on the end of a carbon-fiber monopod. Certainly not a stable platform, so in addition to the small aperture required for focus, a shorter exposure is required, leaving no choice but high ISO, and the noise that comes with it. Anyway, here are a couple of shots from the attempt. Still not what I want, but I do think I'm making some progress.

    C&C is always welcome, as well as suggestions for better shooting technique in this environment. Obviously, ladders and elaborate lighting rigs are not a possibility.

    #1: Lockheed SR-71A
    Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

    #2: Lockheed GTD-21B Reconnaisance Drone. This drone was designed to be launched from the SR-71, but after an accident during testing, it was modifed and launched from B-52s. Most of the performance details are still classified, but estimates put speed at Mach 4+, ceiling 90,000 ft, and range ~3000 miles.
    Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do
    Last edited by Snarkbyte; 20th June 2011 at 11:15 AM.

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    Re: Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

    Very decent shots given the conditions.

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    Re: Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

    I had the same problem at Castle Donington; everything crammed into a little space and junk piled under wings. My solution was to use a long focal length and focus on bits of aircraft but I didn't have a good quality one with me.

    However yours looks good, I especially like the bottom one.

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    Re: Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Very decent shots given the conditions.
    Thanks, Bobo. I'll keep trying

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    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Re: Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    I had the same problem at Castle Donington; everything crammed into a little space and junk piled under wings. My solution was to use a long focal length and focus on bits of aircraft but I didn't have a good quality one with me.

    However yours looks good, I especially like the bottom one.
    Thanks, Steve. One of the problems at this museum is the lack of any elevated shooting positions, and a long lens is just too heavy to hold overhead on the end of a monopod. The first photo was taken while holding the camera as high as I could get it (about 13 ft or so), and it was still just level with the nose of the aircraft. The drone is a lot smaller, so a higher angle was possible.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

    Hi Al,

    That's not the whole story is it?
    You've done something in PP to give a "lensbaby" look to them, (unnatural DoF separation between subject and background). They could be models even.

    I can understand why, for all the reasons you and Steve have stated, I rarely shoot in such places and when I do, I have done as Steve did.

    I would suggest getting the wings level in #1 and perhaps excluding the paraphanelia in lower left corner so sharp, it distracts from the Blackbird.

    #2 is quite good, my only suggestion might be to tone down the brightest surfaces in the background somewhat.

    Interesting shooting idea, I'd thought of doing that with my DSLR, but as you say, controlling a much heavier camera and lens might well end in tears

    Well done for trying something different,

    Cheers,

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    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Re: Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    You've done something in PP to give a "lensbaby" look to them, (unnatural DoF separation between subject and background). They could be models even.
    As you noticed, I blurred the background in PS to try to diminish the distraction of all the background clutter. Unfortunately, the sudden blurring does give the appearance of a "fake miniature" shot that's sometimes done with tilt/shift lenses. I don't like the effect, either, but trying to get a decent shot in this environment does lead to some hard choices, and I just haven't found a better solution to the background problem yet. Having said that, I will also admit to being a great admirer of beautiful airplanes, and this museum has a lot of them, so I intend to keep trying... and I keep my fingers crossed that one of the genuises here will share a brilliant idea that solves all my problems

    I would suggest getting the wings level in #1 and perhaps excluding the paraphanelia in lower left corner so sharp, it distracts from the Blackbird.
    Dang, you've got good eyes! I had to check the level with a guide in PS to be sure you were right about leveling the wings, and sure enough, the wing on the right is a bit higher. As for the foreground clutter on the left, I'm still looking for some way to eliminate this stuff by replacing it with something less distracting, but so far, I haven't found it. The search continues...

    #2 is quite good, my only suggestion might be to tone down the brightest surfaces in the background somewhat
    The additional depth of the background and higher shooting angle is a big help here. I'll take your advice about the bright spots in the bg. And thanks... criticism, even for the small points is always helpful and appreciated.

    Interesting shooting idea, I'd thought of doing that with my DSLR, but as you say, controlling a much heavier camera and lens might well end in tears
    I've tried the monopod trick with a 7D before, and none of the results were usable... it's just too heavy to hold steady even with IS, there's no articlated LCD, so I was shooting blind, and I get nervous holding the camera and lens up so high with so many 4-year olds running around with childish enthusiasm.

    Not to sound like I'm plugging anything here, but I must say I was impressed with the G12... given half a chance in decent conditions, that little camera makes surprisingly good images, and makes all the important shooting controls (exposure, aperture, ISO, EC, AE Lock) easily accessible. This weekend may have convinced me I should save up for a lightweight bridge camera like the G12 in the near future. The light weight and articulated LCD made these images possible, even if they're not quite what I'm aiming for just yet.

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    Re: Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

    Just had to post one more. I used the G12-on-a-stick technique for this shot, as well, and the trick does work better with small aircraft (for a higher angle), and a deeper background depth. This doesn't show as much of the "fake miniature" appearance, although the background has been blurred in the same way as the SR-71 photo. The plane is a Pereira Osprey 2, a 2-seat amphibious seaplane sold as a home-built kit in the 70s. Beautiful lines on this plane. As always, C&C is welcome.

    Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

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    Re: Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

    Quote Originally Posted by Snarkbyte View Post
    Just had to post one more. I used the G12-on-a-stick technique for this shot, as well, and the trick does work better with small aircraft (for a higher angle), and a deeper background depth. This doesn't show as much of the "fake miniature" appearance, although the background has been blurred in the same way as the SR-71 photo. The plane is a Pereira Osprey 2, a 2-seat amphibious seaplane sold as a home-built kit in the 70s. Beautiful lines on this plane. As always, C&C is welcome.

    Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do
    I am no pro but I still get the toy effect. You may want to try applying a layer mask and reducing the luminance of the background objects. I actually did it on the jeep behind the the car in this photo and then used a lens blur.http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3046/...808a0654_b.jpg I find that the miniature effect is softened if the colors are not as bright. Just my 2 cents. I like this I like this image the best of the 3.

  10. #10
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    Re: Aviation Museum Revisited: Perhaps only a P&S will do

    Thanks, Michael, I'll give it a try. I used a gradient mask for the blurred background layer, so I think I'll try some adjustment to the gradient as well. The toy effect isn't as pronounced here as it is in the SR-71 image, but I had a deeper background for the gradient to work with. Topaz Labs has a Lens Effects PS plug-in that may help, so I'll experiment a bit and see if I can improve the result. It's just occurred to me that some vignetting might also reduce the toy effect.... I'm not ordinarily a big fan of vignetting, but in this case, it may serve a practical purpose.

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