The Corsair

As I talked a little bit about the versatility of the Corsair back in WWII in Monday’s post, it seemed appropriate today to continue with that train of thought by showing some examples of the plane from its aerial fighting form to ground bombing. Believe it or not this happens to be the same Corsair. It’s an F4U-4 Corsair owned by Doug Mathews of Classic Fighters. I have been fortunate enough to be able to photograph it over the past several years and in that time capture the changes made to the plane.

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As it is apparent the plane has gone through several squadron markings as it has slowly transformed into a more historically accurate period plane. The last image up here was taken at Oshkosh 2011 when Doug and his mighty F4U were on display as he was going for heritage with his P-51D Mustang “Rebel.” The wings and fuselage were decked out with missiles, drop tank and a 500lbs bomb, all replica’s but effectively looking like something from the period that this bird saw action. The current paint scheme is in honor of Thomas Hudner, Medal of Honor recipient for attempting to save Ensign Jesse L Brown.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Reprocessing an old Image Part II

Maybe it’s because I’m reading books on Corsair’s at the moment or perhaps I really did a poor job with this plane when I first photographed it but this is the second image of this Corsair that I used as an example on post processing. I don’t really mind because I love the plane and after reading more about it’s service history, I love it even more. The first time I brought up the subject of reprocessing an old image it was about one of my favorite images that I liked but I didn’t do a good enough job in post. You can see the difference here in this previous post. Well as I was working on some routine Gallery maintenance this past weekend I stumbled onto this photograph. This was taken back in June of 2009 at my first aviation event. As you can see below, things were a bit different then.

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The funny thing about this image, besides how I processed it, was the drop tank. I distinctly remember everyone hating the drop tank when we were photographing the plane. It wasn’t symmetrical, why was there only one, why is he flying with it on? These were the questions everyone was saying. Well having read more about the plane and it’s history, specifically between late 1943-44, the F4U-1D’s and later models started using 1000lbs bombs as they slowly got integrated into becoming a fighter-bomber. It’s actually a really cool history of how they became a multipurpose plane in a very short time, but more on that in another blog post.

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Both of these images were finished on different computers and with very different profiled monitors. The top image was processed as a nef file in Capture NX2 and then Photoshop CS4. The bottom one is a nef in Adobe Camera Raw and then CS6. As it is apparent they are very different. Granted at the time the top looked better because of the profile, but as I have learned profiles change as the viewing platform improves. So the question remains is it wise to reprocess an old image? Well here is the answer I have come up with so far. This photograph shows a Corsair with a drop tank. Usually these aircraft don’t fly with drop tanks, reproduction bombs or missiles, or anything exterior that has the chance of falling off. It’s potentially dangerous and causes drag on the aircraft. Not to mention those esthetic details cost a lot of money to include. For me having an image in my files that shows this stage of what the plane used to be flown as is really cool history. The bottom line is, if the subject matter is part of the story that you need told then yes it is worthwhile to go over it again, provided you go from the original file and not what you previously have done. This doesn’t mean going back over every image just because of a new technique, just the ones that are needed or desired.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Is it Wise to Reprocess an Old Image?

It’s nothing to say that as time goes on better techniques arise for processing our images. The question i raise is when should those techniques be used for processing older images? I’ve heard answers both ways on this. Some say it is better to leave the image processed the first time because that image is most represented by what was actually happening at the moment of capture and reflects on how the photographer was feeling. On the other side some say that taking the original and processing it again now with better techniques and better knowledge makes a better photograph, mostly because we focus on what the image is, not what we want to be there. I bring this up because I ran into this very scenario with my own images.

[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/RARUD1050.swf, 585, 435[/swf]

The image above I took back in September 2009 at the Reno Air Races, not very long ago. This is one of favorite aviation images because it looks like a portrait of the plane and pilot as it is going by at 200mph. It just says a lot. Well at the time i thought that this image was perfect. Over time i started to like it less and less. Everything from the color, to the mood, to the feeling it has. It just wasn’t what i remembered it to be when i took the image. Now something to keep in mind, when I originally processed this image i was using an M65 Dell Notebook, Eye one Color display for profiling, Capture Nx2, and photoshop. That was my system for processing all my RAW images back then. Then being just 2 years ago. Now as my knowledge has increased and my tools have gotten better I have chosen to reprocess the image from the original RAW file.

[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/RARUD0619.swf, 585, 435[/swf]

Two days ago I reprocessed the original RAW image this time it was on two 21UX Cintiqs, Dell 3500 Tower, Color Monkey Photo display profiled, and in ACR. You can see the difference, it’s obvious. This is not due to a product being bad that i previously used! This is due to a better knowledge base of processing RAW images and a better work flow to make those changes. One of the most crucial things that is important to remember is the color display profile. These profiles can literally make or break an image. If you have a bad profile and you process an image and send it to a photo editor or anyone that has a displayed profile it will fall apart. The profile i used to use wasn’t good. It wasn’t bad at the time there are just better profiles now. Profiling displays continuously change improving on preexisting formulas. Now my displays show a more accurate color space and the visual difference on those old images is amazing. The last big difference i wanted to point out was the first image i didn’t remove the color cast, the new one i did. The difference is staggering. The clouds look white and the plane looks blue again. That small change in processing the image can make all the difference.

I leave it to you whether it is better to reprocess an old image or not. Keep in mind once you start reprocessing old images you’re going to notice that a lot of images in your gallery might be better off redoing. It’s time consuming and can be painful but if it means a better product for buyers it might just be worth it. The answer resides totally in the image itself and whether you believe it is the best image it can be or could it be better?

Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 70-300 Vr, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

The Air Show

Tomorrow is the start of Photoshop World. Before I get started sharing some of what goes on at this marvelous and overwhelming event, i wanted to bring to you some of the aircraft that was at the Florida International Air Show. Everything you see was up flying both days, giving some fantastic performances.

[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/AVFIASF0073.swf, 585, 435[/swf]

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[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/AVFIASF1365.swf, 585, 435[/swf]

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[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/AVFIASF1515.swf, 585, 435[/swf]

[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/AVFIASF1518.swf, 585, 435[/swf]

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[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/AVFIASF0999.swf, 585, 435[/swf]

Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 VRI, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Early bird catches the worm

O the early morning static shooting, it’s so much fun and exhausting. It’s the good kind though. Nothing like waking up before sunrise, walking out onto the runway and seeing the great looking planes begging to be photographed. The Corsair F4-U has been a favorite of everyone. It just has that great look to it. It’s the bend in the wings that i like. No other plane here has that u shape in them. Of course that’s partly cuz they would be folded up on the aircraft carriers. The light hit the side and began to sparkle. Shooting in low light, with a shutter speed of 1/30s made it a fun shoot.

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As the shooting with the Corsair winded down, some of us headed towards the jets at the end of the runway, where we found this Super Hornet F18. It was lit up even more spectacular than the Corsair. The really cool thing was the wing tips were folded up which added a bit more drama and pattern to the plane. One of the tips is right over the canopy. A few more clicks then it was time to go, short session with that one but worth every second. Can’t wait to see what else will come out today.

[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/RARSC1768.swf, 585, 435 [/swf]

Images captured with D3, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200 VR 2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Reaching the high heavens

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The races are over for me, words i really don’t like saying. They ended on Sunday but i  had so much fun that i thought i would continue to share my excitement by blogging more planes this week. I’m going to take a little break from the Blue Angel shots that i said i was going to post and blog about Saturday’s fun. Don’t worry more shots of those awesome blue jets will surface later. I had the rare opportunity Saturday to go to an area that not many people get to go to, on top of the home pylon, where the vantage is seeing the planes as they come right at you.  We are actually looking down at the planes as they are coming at us. Now i say we because Scott Diussa and Mark Johnston were the guys that got me out there, along of course with all those at Nikon making it possible for us to be there. I’ll take this moment to thank all those involved with the races making it possible for the rest of us to come be apart of them, including my folks, they are by far one of the coolest events that I’ve had the privilege of going too. Now i wasn’t trying to be patriotic but one of the first images that popped out was the flag. It was windy and blowing just beautifully.

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Going out to the races i had one thought in my mind, to get one shot that i can consider to being a wow shot. The home pylon gave me that shot. Now i love the P40’s and i wish i had gotten a great shot of them like Scott did, but i’m not complaining cuz i got the F4U-4 Corsair shot. It was coming around the pylon just barely entered the shoot coming at us. This was the only click i got of it during that lap that was in focus but it makes up for the rest. I showed it to Scott after the lap ended, who loves Corsair’s and he was instantly in love with it. I don’t blame him they are a very cool romantic aircraft. Of course when i went back to the media center and was looking at it, i couldn’t decide whether or not a certain cloud was distracting, so i was kinda running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to decide and the guys were being very nice and putting up with my nonsense. I finally decided to take it out, just was too much of a linear white line that i didn’t like being drawn too. Phew glad that was over with, on to other things.

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The unlimited which are the planes we are currently seeing, are broken into 3 classes, bronze, silver and gold. Well each class is really cool but these are my favorite. On top of the pylon we are looking straight onto the course. Well i knew that the planes go by fast when at the other pylons but fast is totally different once on top of the pylon. This P40 is about to go past the pylon and you can see how much the stands and spectators blur when it does. Needless to say it’s even harder getting a sharp shot that close. It’s like here it comes….there it went.

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We were up there for 3 races: sport, unlimited and T6. I like the T6’s, they have a great look to them and are relatively similar in speed so that they stack up a lot of the time. If memory serves it was around 10:30 when the T6’s went up and was also the point of this nice heavy cloud bank. One giant greyish mass that actually made very nice flat light but killed the sky. Except for that one spot you can see in the Corsair.

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The T6’s as i said have a great shape to them, they fill horizontal frames just beautifully. I particularly liked this blue one. It stood out to me.

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This one i also liked. Even though it is just white and has no real color to it, the decals and sponsor marks, give it a great look that i just love. It popped very nicely from the background which made it a great subject.

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As i said they stack up nicely with each other. Scott out shot me with this one he got his stack up T6 shot that is just killer. At the end of the T6’s we had to get down, the C17 was going up and we weren’t aloud up there during jets. It was truly an amazing experience that i won’t forget. I got many nice shots but i didn’t get every shot that i wanted which is great, it means i have more to work on later. Two of the most important things I’ve learned this past week were save the buffer for the best opportunity and plane shots look better bigger. Thanks again Scott and Mark. My apologies to anyone whose eyes, ears and brains hurt after reading this post, i am definitely way too tired to be typing.

Images captured with D3, 24-70 for the flag, 70-300AF-Svr planes, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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