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Introduction

Clearly, unnatural flying objects is one of our most popular subjects. Others are flowers, birds and pets, and fireworks.

At this session we explored pre processing exposure and depth of field issues. In post processing we used Lightroom 5.7, DXO Optics Pro 10, and Photoshop CC 2014 2.2.1 release. Everything could be done using Camera RAW and Photoshop or any other editing software. That is, everything but the spin filter used to make the propeller spin (CC 2014 edition) and smart objects (Photoshop ).

Last year the rotation filter was used. But the rotation filter required lots of smart objects, distortions and undistortions to create a realistic effect. Not even Ron wanted to try it. And Ron will try almost anything! While smart objects were used with the spin filter, they are not necessary.

The layered tiff example files are zipped to facilitate downloading. The files should open in recent versions of photoshop supporting smart objects. Though, obviously, the spin filter won't work. A second file with rasterized smart object layers was made for versions not supporting smart objects.

Smart objects are really appreciated now!.


This is a terrific scene with challenges. It's a good camera, ~ 3 years old, equivelant to a 7D. The challenge with a scene like this is exposure. The standard exposures hardly ever work. We need to capture all the information out of the highlights without over exposing them.

This is a "High Dynamic Range" image. With any one of the averaging meters, the highlights will be over exposed.

The best solution is to spot meter. Set the spot to meter to +2 EV. A scene on Canon cameras blow out somewhere between +2 to + 3 EV. The +2 EV limit is debated. Peter's experiece is that +4 EV is about right. Peter uses a Fujifilm X-T1. It could easily be that different vendors have different standards.

Experiment with your camera to find the best highlight exposure!

To capture details in the shadows shoot multiple images with various exposures. Then using layers with masks or using multiple HDR software packages will create a more interesting result.

The ziped layered Tiff image download here.

Photographer: Victor Harper

Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T2i; EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II (Eff: EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II); Shooting Mode : Shutter speed priority AE; 1/6 sec @ F/4.0; ISO: 2000; Exp Comp: +2/3; Metering Mode : Multi-segment, Evaluative; EV: 2.88; FL: 18.0 mm; Distance : 5.27 m | inf
Original Image
Lightroom and / or DXO Optics Pro adjusted
Edited in Photoshop

This is a tough picture to take under the best circumstances. The objective is to capture an image of the model airplane landing. The problems with this image are multiple. The shape of the aircraft is complex. The color of the aircraft is similar to the background with little contrast on any of the three channels. The background is in focus making edge detection difficult.

Better pre production choices would have helped. The picture was taken at f/9.0 at a 65 mm focal length. This lens at that focal length is probably capable of f/4 or f/5. Increasing the aperature would reduce the depth of field which would pleasingly blur the background also making the airplane extraction easier.

Another option is a faster lens. If most of the photography is in the 65mm range then Sigma and Tamron both have 17-50mm f/2.8 lenses in the $600 range. There are no travel zooms in the 18-200mm range that fast. There are 70-200mm f/2.8 solutions is in the $1,000 range. They are definitely worth considering if a lot of scenes are in this range. Another less expensive option are 50mm prime lenses in the f/1.2 - f1.8 range. At least half a dozen are available for less than $500.

The post production solution used Adobe Photoshop's "lens blur" filter. This filter uses an alpha channel to determine the blur amount. In this case we needed the aircraft and the shadow beneath the aircraft to be in focus. The gradient tool was used from the bottom edge (white) to the grass border (black). It is a simple matter to fill the aircraft selection with the same shade of grey as the shadow.

It is not so simple to cut out the aircraft. In this case, Topaz Lab's Remask 4 was used to cutout the aircraft.

The ziped layered Tiff image download here.

Photographer: Linda Eakle

Camera: NIKON D7100; 18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6; 1/2000 sec @ F/9.0; ISO: 640; Exp Comp: 0; Metering Mode : Multi-segment; FL: 65.0 mm
Original Image
Lightroom and / or DXO Optics Pro adjusted
Edited in Photoshop

Below are examples of images taken at f/2.8. They may encourage investigating faster lenses rather than the stock kit lens.

The point is, for most photographers these days the advantage of these faster lenses is the "brokah". The subtle blurring of the background helps the viewer focus on the subject. And while the f/2.8 zooms are expensive, don't forget the fixed lenses. B&H has nine (9) 50mm lenses listed for less than $500. Most of them are in the f/1.4 range; a speed we will never see in a zoom.

The fast lensers are also a help for available light photography though not as important with modern sensors.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: See below
Canon EOS 5D Mark III; EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM; ISO : 800; FL : 100.0 mm; 1/500 sec @ f/2.8
Canon EOS 40D; EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM; ISO : 400; FL : 51.0 mm; 1/10 sec @ f/2.8
Canon EOS 40D; EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM; ISO : 400; FL : 52.0 mm; 1/10 sec @ f/2.8
Canon EOS 5D Mark II; EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM; ISO : 1600; FL : 100.0 mm; 1/3200 sec @ f/2.8
Canon EOS 5D Mark II; EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM; ISO : 100; FL : 100.0 mm; 1/800 sec @ f/2.8
Canon EOS 5D Mark II; EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM; ISO : 800; FL : 100.0 mm; 1/2500 sec @ f/2.8
Canon EOS 7D; EF-S17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM; ISO : 400; FL : 55.0 mm; 1/640 sec @ f/3.2
Canon EOS 40D; EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM; ISO : 400; FL : 54.0 mm; 1/60 sec @ f/2.8
Canon EOS 7D; EF-S17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM; ISO : 125; FL : 55.0 mm; 1/400 sec @ f/2.8
Canon EOS 5D Mark III; EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM; ISO : 100; FL : 120.0 mm; 1/1600 sec @ f/2.8
Canon EOS 5D Mark III; EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM; ISO : 400; FL : 100.0 mm; 1/1000 sec @ f/2.8
Canon EOS 5D Mark III; EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM; ISO : 400; FL : 100.0 mm; 1/500 sec @ f/2.8
Canon EOS 7D Mark II; EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM; ISO : 1000; FL : 70.0 mm; 1/125 sec @ f/2.8
Canon EOS 7D Mark II; EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM; ISO : 160; FL : 70.0 mm; 1/125 sec @ f/2.8

This is an interesting picture with distracting elements.

The part Ron was capturing is the prop spin without complicated post processing. At 1/40 second he got most of the idling prop spin. A 1/30 second exposure may have captured the entire spin.

The distracting parts are the background. In the third frame below, Photoshop's lens blur filter was used once again. But the same effect could have been easily accomplished using a wider aperature.

Ron was about 70' from the aircraft. We know that because the exif said it was approximately 71.3. Ron was a f/10 which from the table below is over kill. He would have been marginably better at f/5.6. It would be interesting to see one of those fancy, $300 f/1.4 lens pictures.

In the table below, at a focus distance of 70', an f/1.4 lens would range from 58' to 93', just about right.

f/1.4: 58' -     93': 35'
f/2.8: 50' -   132': 83'
f/5.6: 37' -   924': 885'
f/8.0: 31' - 10^8': 10^9'

This is another case where one of those inexpensive 50mm f/1.4 lenses would have been helpful.

The ziped layered Tiff image download here.

Photographer: R.E. Marabito

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM; 1/40 sec @ F/10.0; ISO: 100; Exp Comp: +2/3; Metering Mode : Multi-segment; FL: 51.0 mm
Original Image
Lightroom and / or DXO Optics Pro adjusted
Edited in Photoshop

This is a sad picture. The photographer didn't understand the instruction "No Visible Means of Support". So to help avoid embarrassment, a little help was provided. In this case the offending post was removed and to make certain we understood it was a flying airplane, prop spin was added using the new spin blur filter.

The ziped layered Tiff image download here.

Photographer: JD Luttmer

Camera: Canon EOS 50D; 1/250 sec @ F/13.0; ISO: 400; FL: 28.0 mm
Original Image
Lightroom and / or DXO Optics Pro adjusted
Edited in Photoshop

The images below were taken at the Alliance Air Show on October 26, 2014.

The interesting part is the EXIF information. Modern cameras record a lot of information in the file. Getting the information out is the challenge. A freeware tool is available called "ExifTool". One of the tags that pop out is an EV calculation. That might be handy. Another tag is distance information. It isn't widely available because it isn't particularly accurate. Some lenses will give an upper and lower bound as well as a distance estimate. The lens below gives just an upper and lower bound. Some lenses probably gove no estimate at all.

The ziped layered Tiff image download here.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM (Eff: EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM); Shooting Mode : Shutter speed priority AE; 1/4000 sec @ F/4.0; ISO: 250; Exp Comp: -1/3; Metering Mode : Multi-segment, Evaluative; EV: 14.50; FL: 200.0 mm; Distance : 81.91 m | 435.53 m
Original Image
Lightroom and / or DXO Optics Pro adjusted
Edited in Photoshop

 

The ziped layered Tiff image download here.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM (Eff: EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM); Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM; Shooting Mode : Shutter speed priority AE; 1/4000 sec @ F/6.3; ISO: 500; Exp Comp: -1/3; Metering Mode : Multi-segment, Evaluative; EV: 14.63; FL: 490.0 mm; Distance : 81.91 m | 435.53 m
Original Image
Lightroom and / or DXO Optics Pro adjusted
Edited in Photoshop

 

The ziped layered Tiff image download here.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM (Eff: EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM); Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM; Shooting Mode : Shutter speed priority AE; 1/4000 sec @ F/5.6; ISO: 1250; Exp Comp: -1/3; Metering Mode : Multi-segment, Evaluative; EV: 13.00; FL: 300.0 mm; Distance : 81.91 m | 435.53 m
Original Image
Lightroom and / or DXO Optics Pro adjusted
Edited in Photoshop

 

The ziped layered Tiff image download here.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM (Eff: EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM); Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM; Shooting Mode : Shutter speed priority AE; 1/4000 sec @ F/5.6; ISO: 500; Exp Comp: -1/3; Metering Mode : Multi-segment, Evaluative; EV: 14.38; FL: 394.0 mm; Distance : 81.91 m | 435.53 m
Original Image
Lightroom and / or DXO Optics Pro adjusted
Edited in Photoshop

 

The ziped layered Tiff image download here.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM (Eff: EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM); Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM; Shooting Mode : Shutter speed priority AE; 1/4000 sec @ F/5.6; ISO: 400; Exp Comp: -1/3; Metering Mode : Multi-segment, Evaluative; EV: 14.75; FL: 406.0 mm; Distance : 81.91 m | 435.53 m
Original Image
Lightroom and / or DXO Optics Pro adjusted
Edited in Photoshop

 

The ziped layered Tiff image download here.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM (Eff: EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM); Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM; Shooting Mode : Shutter speed priority AE; 1/4000 sec @ F/4.0; ISO: 200; Exp Comp: -1/3; Metering Mode : Multi-segment, Evaluative; EV: 14.75; FL: 212.0 mm; Distance : 81.91 m | 172.78 m
Original Image
Lightroom and / or DXO Optics Pro adjusted
Edited in Photoshop

 

The ziped layered Tiff image download here.

Photographer: Guy Huntley

Camera: Canon EOS 7D; EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM (Eff: EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM); Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM; Shooting Mode : Shutter speed priority AE; 1/400 sec @ F/4.5; ISO: 100; Exp Comp: -1/3; Metering Mode : Multi-segment, Evaluative; EV: 12.75; FL: 400.0 mm; Distance : 81.91 m | 435.53 m
Original Image
Lightroom and / or DXO Optics Pro adjusted
Edited in Photoshop