Up Up and Away

With Spring arriving in NZ, we have a group of very special birds that take to the air.
Now I'm not refereeing to our fine feathered friends but our lovingly restored war bird planes.

This weekend the war birds society based at Ardmore, NZ opened it's doors for general ground viewing and to knock the dust of the old girls as they undergo servicing and cleaning ready to grace our skies this summer.

It provided me with a nice change as I have been running around sports fields for the past few months and I always find it relaxing spending time walking around some of the best preserved and fully working World War 2 planes in the southern hemisphere.

The weather on Sunday morning was terrible to start with but by 10:00am the sky had started to clear with the sun working hard to break through the moody clouds. Therefore a polarize was a must.

I decided to take my tripod this time, along with both my 28-300mm L Lens, and my Sigma 17-50mm Lens.

First up the Mustang.
This shot was taken in colour to begin with then I converted it to B/W once in Photoshop.  The composition is not to bad and I tried to get reflections from the rain puddles close by. In the end I cropped it tightly and closed the image down.

F11, 1/180, IS0100, 28mm, -1 stop
I like the angle as you are lead towards the moody sky in the background. Which I'm sure this old girl is yearning for. I'm happy to report the Mustang did go up but no flybys across the airfield for me to work with.

My Second image is of the Spitfire. Certainly a classic icon and one I always enjoy photographing. This shot was taken as the plane returned from a scenic run around Auckland.

Again the composition is pretty much how I captured it including the tight crop. The only real post editing I did was the slight vignette and dropping the highlights from the clouds. Otherwise as you see it.
F6, 1/90, ISO200, 300mm B/W Custom WB=Cloudy (digital vignette)

My last photo is a combination of 2 images blended together. I did bracket 3 shots but felt the highlight (+1) , was to strong and blew out a lot of the shiny metallic areas. This is the engine of the P40 kitty hawk which is undergoing service ready for the summer season. I really like the composition of this shot, every time I look at it I reveal another part of it's amazing mechanics.

I used Photoshop to merge the Midtone and Shadow images. Then used a curve with a mask to adjust the shadows slightly. This I then followed with a contrast layer and then duplicated the midtone layer setting the blend type to Darken with a layer opacity of 40%.
Next a few brush strokes around specific areas to bring out some additional detail (sharpen 10% brush opacity) and Finally a gradient map with a circular mask to blend out from the centre so as to dull the colours towards the outer edge.
A quick crop and done
F5.6, 1/5, ISO100, 40mm (-1,0,+1 ) Tripod
So great to get back out on to the airfield and seeing these lovely examples being well looked after.