Many of these pictures are reruns but I thought I’d post them in honor of Pearl Harbor Day. The aircraft carrier in the top image is the USS Lexington (CV-16) which was in service from 1943 through 1991 and now sits as a (very cool) museum in Corpus Christi, TX. This image is a 3-exposure HDR. I’m getting some odd pixelization on export from Lightroom which I can’t figure out but the point of posting this is not for the image’s sake itself anyway.
My grandfather joined the Navy during WWII (sometime after Pearl Harbor due to his age) and went through training to become a Navy pilot. I am very fortunate to have a 90-minute recording of him recounting his Navy experiences. My favorite quote: “I graduated from flight school on August 14th, 1945. The Japanese heard I was coming and surrendered the next day.” This is the most recent snapshot I have of him.
Hope you enjoy the rest of these photos from various air shows I’ve attended.
As mentioned several times before, military jets seriously impress me. The amount of thrust generated by the engines above allows this jet to do amazing things. I took a shot of these F-18 nozzles at the Wings Over South Texas air show a few months ago. I’ve peeked at this photo here and there and finally decided to share it.
The final image comes from just playing around with Topaz Adjust, Photomatix, Lightroom, and Photoshop. The rough process: tonemapped a single hand-held exposure in Photomatix and brought it into Photoshop. I ran it through Noiseware to clean up the sky then masked the rest of the original tonemapped image back in. Played around in Topaz Adjust to taste and ran the sky through Noiseware again. Adjusted levels, curves, and used a black and white adjustment layer to fix up a bit of the clouds that Topaz had overdone color-wise. Sharpened the final image then used this tip from Nicole Young to fix a bunch of chromatic aberation.
I love my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens. It’s simply awesome. The only problem with it is that it smells like cigarette smoke in a big way — can’t leave it in the bag or the whole bag stinks. Oh well, I bought it used, it’s in great shape, and I got a great deal on it.
Lcdr Frank Weisser is the lead solo pilot in the Blue Angels team and is shown above flying in the show at Kingsville NAS in Kingsville, TX.
I captured Lcdr Weisser zooming by with a focal length of 185mm using a shutter speed of 1/1000, aperture of f5.6 @ ISO 100. I assume (but honestly don’t remember) that I used the lens’ IS panning mode. Turned out pretty nice. In fact, the image is amazingly sharp when cropped to view only the cockpit.
Certainly would have been cool to have some blurred clouds in the background to show some of the motion but there’s something nice about the simple blue sky too.
I happen to be one of those types who loves the military. I’ve never been in the services myself but many family members have. I’ve got nothing but respect for those who serve and it bugs me when people diss them.
I also happen to love (fast) military aircraft. I don’t geek out about them in the sense that I get to know everything about them — they just impress me to no end and my jaw drops when I see them perform. When I remind myself that the performance I’m watching (the Blue Angels for example) consists of jets performing maneuvers at one-third to one-half their maximum speed, I’m even more impressed. What I wouldn’t give to witness a high-speed pass at full speed! I remember the days when Bergstrom Air Force Base was still open in Austin. Several times a day pairs of (old) F4s would fly over our house. I loved how the whole house would rumble when they flew by.
The picture above was taken at Kingsville Naval Air Station (Kingsville, TX) and shows a host of T-45 Goshawk training aircraft used by the modern-day Navy to train pilots. When I saw these my first thought was of my grandfather, who did his Naval flight training in Kingsville and Corpus during WWII (he would have loved to fly these). My grandfather graduated from flight school on August 14, 1945 and says “When the Japanese heard I was coming they surrendered immediately”. These T-45s also bring to mind all the current pilots who are preparing to be the next wave of defenders of our freedom. I respect them.
The image above was created from three exposures which were then fused (not tonemapped) in photomatix. The single, center exposure wasn’t too bad but fusing brought back the blown-out sky and added subtle detail in the cockpit and landing gear. Did very basic curves and sharpening after that.
For the past several years I’ve taken my family to watch the Blue Angels perform in Corpus Christi. This year my family was out of town during the performance but nonetheless I made the trek to Kingsville Naval Air Station to watch them this year. I carried two lenses: a 70-200mm to capture some of the aerial performances and a 10-20mm wide angle which I used for 80% of the ground shots.
I took only a few pictures of the Blue Angels performance this year (I really like to *watch* and didn’t want to be overly distracted always trying to get the best shots). However, I took plenty of shots of the static displays on the ground. I bracketed many (shooting handheld) in hopes of generating some HDR images from the show. On side note, I did try the panning IS mode on my 70-200mm lens and it did an amazing job capturing jets screaming past.
The image above was generated from three handheld exposures and shows the underside of a B-1 bomber with it’s bomb doors open — and a couple young girls doing some modeling. It was quite a processing challenge (for my skill level anyway) due to the movement in the crowd. In a night shot I’ve found masking in crowds to be far simpler because the darkness of the shot generally gives you a lot of leeway. With a day shot like this I found it very difficult because when you mask in a moving subject from a particular exposure you often bring in bits of background (previously hidden by the moving subject in the tonemapped image) which severely differ from the tonemapped image. Adding to my difficulty was the smoke in the background sky from the Tora, Tora, Tora performance. As I worked to fix the background after masking this smoke created challenges in cloning in some sky…a great exercise for improving my skillset.
Here’s the rough outline of my processing on this image: Tonemapping in Photomatix and lots of masking to get the people looking OK. On a duplicate layer I played with exposure and contrast to adjust the sky to my general liking then I masked it in where I could — I wasn’t able to mask in everything around the people because of them being in a different position. To get around this I used the clone stamp to add sky where needed (had to do this a bit on the ground as well). I used Topaz Adjust to modify another duplicate layer and masked portions of that in. Exposure/Levels/Curves followed that. Finally, I tried a new sharpening flow which I picked up from @TipSquirrel today. It involved using “Stamp Visible”, converting the new layer to a smart object, then using unsharp mask with that layer set to luminosity blending. Probably unnecessary for this image but I wanted to learn something new.
I’m pretty happy with the image — my first handheld HDR (though it isn’t too hard to get decent exposures in broad daylight) and certainly the most challenge I’ve faced relative to the need to mask moving subjects. Do you like it…?