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Thread: Local Air Show

  1. #1

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    Local Air Show

    I went to the local air show this weekend. I took many photos, but this one intrigued me, not so much the plane but the smoke trail it left. Did you know that the trail is made by passing a spray of oil into the exhaust system causing it to 'smoke' hence the trail. I wondered why the trail showed signs of brown, and that was the explanation I was given by a pilot. Please feel free to comment, but please keep in mind I was after the smoke more so than the plane. After looking at it, I had only wished I had captured the plane better as well.

    Local Air Show

  2. #2

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    Re: Local Air Show

    At our regatta last year we had a wingwalker plane which also emitted a lot of smoke which left a strong paraffin (kerosene) smell in the still air.

    Eventually the amount of smoke made photography difficult.

    Local Air Show

    As you say, it comes down to either having a clear shot of the plane and short smoke trail or the other way around. And cropping tighter isn't really an option with your photo.

  3. #3
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    Re: Local Air Show

    Glad I am not the only one...I had all sorts of trouble at the first Air Show I went to. Those planes are faster than you think, or I am slower than I think I am...or BOTH!

    Local Air Show

    Local Air Show

    Local Air Show

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Local Air Show

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderBob View Post
    Please feel free to comment, but please keep in mind I was after the smoke more so than the plane. After looking at it, I had only wished I had captured the plane better as well.
    I wouldn't worry Bob, that's a nice composition as it stands and as a spectator, you're never sure which way they're going to tumble next anyway.

    Have you tried applying any Local Contrast Enhancement (LCE) to that smoke? I think you could probably make it a bit more contrasty.

    I didn't process many smoky shots from a local show I went to in 2010, just this one, where the choice of shutter speed and presence of smoke adds to the feeling of speed.

    Cheers,

  5. #5

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    Re: Local Air Show

    Dave, first of thank you for your direction. I did apply only to the point of not producing a halo around the plane. What do you think, I like it better, but I could not go very far with it.

    Local Air Show

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    Re: Local Air Show

    While a wee bit off topic, here's a link to a photo on the RCAF website.
    ( http://www.airforceimagery.forces.gc...alog=casimages)

    In the image, you can see (with a bit of zooming) the two "smoke tanks" on the belly of the aircraft (either side of centre line and under the wing), the piping for the tanks running along the belly of the aircraft and the nozzles that spray the oil into the exhaust from the engine.

    Smoke injection is controlled by a "trigger" on the control stick and is turned on/off upon a radio prompt from the team lead.

    Nice shot BTW...

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    Re: Local Air Show

    thank you CP140, good information to go along. And a better explanation for myself as well as a great picture.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Local Air Show

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderBob View Post
    I did apply only to the point of not producing a halo around the plane. What do you think, I like it better, but I could not go very far with it
    That is better Bob,

    I rarely, if ever, get halos when applying LCE with USM because I use settings like 10-30% at 250px (and 0 threshold) - because the contrast enhancement is applied over such a large (read "huge") radius.

    What USM settings were you using?

  9. #9

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    Re: Local Air Show

    Have to look when home but I was way higher and I did move up the threshold

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Local Air Show

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderBob View Post
    Have to look when home but I was way higher and I did move up the threshold
    Sounds like you were sharpening, not LCE'ing

    Try 10-30%, 250px and 0 threshold.

    Cheers,

  11. #11

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    Re: Local Air Show

    Dave, you are absolutely right! I looked it up, I was suppose to leave here (work) an hour ago. Wow, sounds complicated. Been reading some of the other info on Luminous Landscape and Lone Star Digital as well. I want to learn this. I'm going to try some of these. I'll let you know what comes up. I'll work with your setting first.

    Again, thank you

  12. #12

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    Re: Local Air Show

    Dave, OK no halos, used your numbers 30%, 250 (max) and "0" threshold. I think I see a hue that was not there before in the swirl of the smoke toward the middle left, or is this my eyes or computer. I like what it has done but I have a long way to go

    Local Air Show

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    Re: Local Air Show

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderBob View Post
    thank you CP140, good information to go along. And a better explanation for myself as well as a great picture.
    You're very welcome... just wish I had taken the photo... my ejection seat certification expired a long time ago...

  14. #14

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    Re: Local Air Show

    OK, on this version I used curves. Using the donut to first lower the bright then raised the dark.

    Local Air Show

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    Re: Local Air Show

    Hi Bob,

    I did say "10-30%", and thirty looks too much, might want to reign that in a bit.

    LCE does tend increase saturation, sometimes I bring saturation down afterwards if it looks too bright.

    I still think there's more to be had - and less (highlights) to be lost.

    Can you DropBox or Mediafire the RAW file to me?
    I'll have a go (in a day or so) and tell you what I did.

    Cheers,

  16. #16
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Local Air Show

    Hi Bob,

    This didn't end up going quite where I expected - and I'm not sure it's any better than your latest, my first try looked quite similar, so I did it again a different way.

    Local Air Show

    What did I do?
    In ACR;
    WB Cloudy (6500, +10) because this makes the smoke and sky more like I remember them being when I've shot similar
    Exp +0.50
    Recovery 0
    Fill Light 0
    Blacks 0
    Brightness +50
    Contrast +25
    Clarity, Vibrance, Saturation all 0
    Sharpening all 0
    Noise Reduction; Luminance all 0, Colour 25, Det 50
    Lens profile correction for Canon EF 100-400mm
    Open Image in Photoshop CS5
    Duplicate Layer
    Switch to lower layer, hide top layer
    Levels Dialog: Raise Black to 70, Grey to 0.9, white 255
    Tried LCE, but it didn't improve things
    Switch to top layer
    Erase top layer carefully over smoke allowing the contrasty smoke to show through
    Hide lower layer occasionally to check where I was going
    Flatten Image
    Crop
    Resize to 1000px tall
    Sharpen 110%, 0.3px, 2 threshold
    Levels dialog Raise Black point to 10
    Crop again in vertical orientation;

    Local Air Show

    I'll be interested to compare in LyteBox too.

    Cheers,

  17. #17

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    Re: Local Air Show

    Thank you Dave,

    It really looks like yours came out somewhere between my 3rd and 4th. I like the final crop much better. Your smoke looks more real than both of mine, and I think that is what this picture is about. As my last one #4 has a bright area in the lower portion and #3 well that speaks for itself as that is why I went for 4. Your sky is also much better, again, mine seemed to have gotten to saturated.

    All in all, I'm going to look over your method very seriously and take note. I thank you sir. I will use this as a reference point for some more that I'm doing.

    Bob

  18. #18
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Local Air Show

    Hi Bob,

    You're welcome, I learned from it too

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderBob View Post
    It really looks like yours came out somewhere between my 3rd and 4th. I like the final crop much better. Your smoke looks more real than both of mine, and I think that is what this picture is about. As my last one #4 has a bright area in the lower portion and #3 well that speaks for itself as that is why I went for 4. Your sky is also much better, again, mine seemed to have gotten to saturated.
    I was expecting to use LCE, but in the end, simple contrast enhancement, via the levels dialog, gave the best result.
    Of course the problem was, you couldn't hope to do that to the whole image, so it had to be done on a separate layer.

    I'm not skilled enough at CS5 to blend layers and too lazy to learn (until one day I have to), so my usual method is just to erase the unwanted bits and let the layer below peek through.

    Here's a screen grab of that; 'flow' was set at about 30%, so full 'breakthrough' of image below will only be achieved after four passes over the same place - I didn't do that and I had to feather towards the edges, or the much deeper blue sky of the contrast enhanced layer showed through and gave a nasty man-made halo.

    Local Air Show

    You can sort of tell by the boldness of the checker-board where I have erased more than where it is fainter.

    If you're going to have another go, having the plane on a third layer, so you can sharpen that alone, would be wise, I couldn't get it as sharp as I'd have liked without making the blue sky go noisy.

    Cheers,

  19. #19

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    Re: Local Air Show

    OK, Tried another smoke trail, this time I tried some of my new founded tricks from Dave. I think I'm getting closer, but my eyes have been looking at it too long now I need some comments.

    Local Air Show

  20. #20
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Local Air Show

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderBob View Post
    OK, Tried another smoke trail, this time I tried some of my new founded tricks from Dave. I think I'm getting closer, but my eyes have been looking at it too long now I need some comments.
    Hi Bob,

    I was hoping someone else would comment.

    They haven't (yet), I won't leave this hanging ...

    Looks better on the smoke, but the plane isn't as sharp as it might be - not sure if that was a capture issue or just a lack of sharpening due to the complexity of smoke processing.

    A tighter crop, losing a bit from bottom and left edges looks better I think, but only if you can get the plane sharper in PP.

    HTH,

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