Experimenting with Image Blending

ERJ 170 vapor MHTI am generally very much opposed to deceptive image manipulation and consider it “altering history”. On So Many Aircraft, photographs are considered a historical record, thus editing has to be limited to minimal corrections of the original photograph (straightening the horizon, fixing exposure, etc.). See this blog post on more information about the importance of accurate captioning of photographs.

That said, I recently decided to see if I could learn some more advanced editing techniques. Since I use the Adobe Creative Cloud tools, it was time take my skills with Adobe Photoshop CC to the next level. I actually fairly seldom use Photoshop, since I find that the kind of editing I need can all be done with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.

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Hawaiian Airlines now flies to Boston

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Together with some other spotters I witnessed the arrival and departure of Hawaiian Airlines’ new Honolulu-Boston-Honolulu route on 2019-04-05. The flight arrived 5:38 am, before sunrise, and pushed back from the gate at 8:09 am. In between, representatives of the airline gave us nice leis and some Hawaiian Airline swag.

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Aircraft in Serengeti

This time we bring you some interesting aircraft photographs taken by my sister, Dr. Pilvi Lassila. She is a veterinarian who frequently travels to exotic locations, and on her recent visit to Tanzania she managed to capture some images of aircraft operating at the Serengeti National Park.

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Regional Air -operated Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (5H-REG, c/n 208B0443) at the Kogatende Airstrip.

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Front & Back

Boeing 737-7H4 (N795SW, c/n 30606), Southwest Airlines; KMHT, 2018-04-04

Lately, I have taken more pictures from what could be considered unusual angles. Since my general interest has been aviation history (the preservation thereof) and scale models, I mostly take pictures of aircraft from very “traditional” angles. In this blog post I will discuss and show some images that could be labeled as “front and back”.

Front

Front views of aircraft offer some dramatic visuals, but can also be helpful for scale modelers as they can reveal details that are otherwise hard to get right (dihedral angle, positioning of the landing gear, etc.). Here are some recent pictures (except for one, all pictures in this post were taken this year).

Bombardier CRJ900 (N181PQ, c/n 15181), Delta/ExpressJet; KMHT, 2018-05-03

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Snow and aircraft photography

Bombardier CRJ200 (N248PS, c/n 7925) of American Airlines, operated by PSA Airlines, lands at KMHT on 2017-12-11.

Now that we (finally) have some snow in New England I thought I’d share some of my personal views and observations about the opportunities and challenges that snow presents to the aircraft photographer. Generally speaking, snow on the ground changes the lighting conditions as it reflects sunlight and often creates a wonderful environment of all-around diffuse light. Not only do we avoid sharp shadows (like on overcast days), but also the undersides of aircraft easily receive more light.

Southwest’s Boeing 737-7H4 (N205WN, c/n 34010) at KMHT on 2017-12-11.
Southwest’s Boeing 737-76N (N7846A, c/n 35218) at KMHT on 2017-05-12.

The picture of PSA’s CRJ200, above, is a good example of how the reflected light illuminates the undersides of a landing aircraft. Similarly, the landing Southwest 737s look quite different from one another: One was shot on an overcast spring day (with no snow), the other in bright sunlight but with snow underneath (note the reflection of the aircraft’s shadow in the snow, visible on the fuselage). On a snowy day, even when you have direct sunlight, you can often avoid sharp shadows that otherwise make photography in direct sunlight a challenge. Without snow, the diffuse lighting of the overcast day helps, but even with modest editing there is not as much light to illuminate the underside of the aircraft.

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The KMHT book is done!

book coverAs I recently reported, I have been working on a book titled “Aircraft at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport”. Now I am happy to report that the book is done and available to purchase! More information about the book is available here.

The 150-page book features almost 300 large color photographs (selected from about 7,000) depicting aircraft operating at, or visiting, the KMHT airport.

Progress with my book project

I have been working on a photo book about the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. No, let me rephrase that, it is a book about the aircraft operating at this airport, whether those are planes based there, just visiting, regular airline flights, etc. I have just ordered a “proof copy”, the first physical copy of the book, so things are definitely getting very real now. The final book has 150 pages and about 300 large color photographs.

Cover and sample pages

Interesting about this project has been figuring out how to actually produce what we used to call the “camera-ready” version of the book; in practice, this is a PDF file from which the physical book is printed. 150 pages with 300 or so photographs is not exactly easy to put together. At first, my thought was to use Adobe InDesign page layout software, but this would have meant a lot of manual labor, making sure all the pages have a uniform look, all pictures placed correctly, etc. And what would I have to do if I in the middle of this process decided that I didn’t like the chosen “look and feel” and wanted to make changes across all the pages? Very quickly I ditched the idea of using InDesign and started looking for more “automated” solutions. As a software engineer, this is in my nature, I suppose…

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Collings Aircraft Visit New England

"Witchcraft" fly-by at KMHT on 2016-09-20
“Witchcraft” fly-by at KMHT on 2016-09-20

Collings Foundation‘s “Wings of Freedom Tour” recently passed through a number of New England airports. The aircraft (B-17, B-24, B-25 and P-51) are always worth seeing. This time, their TP-51C “Betty Jane” had been replaced by the recently restored TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts”.

I saw the aircraft several times, at Beverly, MA (KBVY) on 2016-09-18, at Manchester, NH (KMHT) on 2016-09-20 and -21, and at Worcester, MA (KORH) on 2016-09-24. The Worcester stop featured additional aircraft; I was able to photograph their Corsair and Skyraider.

I also received the honor of being the Collings Foundation’s first “fan photographer of the week”. There will be a separate blog post about this.

TF-51D Mustang "Toulouse Nuts" being parked at KMHT on 2016-09-21
TF-51D Mustang “Toulouse Nuts” being parked at KMHT on 2016-09-21

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