Al Swanson  

B-17 by Al Swanson

July 2021 - B-17

July 2021 - Al Swanson


About the Image(s)

A couple of years ago I attended an air show at the local airport. It was a very inclusive show with planes from World War II to the current time. One of the aerial displays was a B-17 which gave a very impressive flyby demonstration. I captured the original image over the heads of nearby spectators. I initially took this image into Photoshop to crop out the extraneous information and remove distractions. Then I used levels to increase the brightness of the airplane. I moved the image into studio and cleared the image before applying two filters to improve the background. I sharpened the airplane to bring out the markings more clearly finally I put it back into Photoshop to again apply levels and brighten the overall appearance. Tech Data: Canon 5D, 1/3200 second, F 13, ISO 800.

10 comments posted

Jerry Biddlecom   Jerry Biddlecom
Nice rescue from the original. The colors of the plane and the background match nicely. The bomber is probably too close to the bottom edge, leaving the top portion of the image not doing much for the overall composition. While the angle of view is spot on and dramatic, there is always the problem, when taking shots of piston driven aircraft, of balancing high shutter speed (to keep the plane looking sharp) with the additional matter of freezing the motion of the propellers. A difficult solution might be to experiment with radial blur in Photoshop. I always try to hit the exact moment when the props are at right angles to me, or edge on, so that the motion of the propellers is not an issue. As it is, it looks like the plane is coming in for an emergency landing with all engines out. Still, a beautiful look at a WWll legendary workhorse.   Posted: 07/01/2021 07:03:44
Al Swanson   Al Swanson
Yes, the problem of the frozen propellers did concern me, however, I really wanted to capture the details of the airplane in motion so I made that sacrifice. Thanks for the suggestion on action blur. I will play with that. I know I could have eliminated the heads of the crowd and better positioned the airplane, however, as I saw the position I wanted to make it appear that the airplane was climbing out of takeoff on a mission. In the back of my mind I imagined the foggy, cloudy atmosphere of British landing strips used during World War II and thought this background more fairly depicted that environment.   Posted: 07/10/2021 09:33:11

Mike Patterson   Mike Patterson
I admire all the work you did to process this image. I agree with Jerry about the frozen propellers -- wish there was at least a slight blur to denote motion and action. Otherwise, it looks like a model airplane, rather than an authentic B-17. The background you chose also troubles me. It doesn't seem to fit the motif you are creating to depict a famous WWII bomber. Maybe a background with blue skies and clouds might have been a better choice to showcase this plane.   Posted: 07/01/2021 09:01:08

Marti Buckely   Marti Buckely
I agree with both the bottom edge and the propeller. The rule is to shoot at 1/250th to get the blur in the prop.
Perhaps try again with more at the bottom and using Content Aware to remove the people. Then proceed with Studio. Overall it is a very nice "antique" rendition of a wonderful airplane.   Posted: 07/01/2021 18:46:01

Bev Caine   Bev Caine
(Groups 48 & 80)
I like what you did with the plane but agree with the above suggestions re working on he background. Great effort and nic memory.   Posted: 07/04/2021 20:17:26

Stuart Caine   Stuart Caine
(Group 42)
I agree with most of the comments. With the background you have uses, and the props not moving, it look like a model plane you placed on this background. I used the photoshop "sky" program and selected a Sky. Even though The propellers aren't moving, it looks like a real plane flying. Beside the background you used, you did a great job   Posted: 07/06/2021 17:13:09
Comment Image
Marti Buckely   Marti Buckely
That Sky Replacement is a great feature in PS. I like both versions. I rather thought Al's version was more antiquated - like the aircraft.   Posted: 07/06/2021 17:37:28

Joseph J Zaia   Joseph J Zaia
Al, you have an excellent image here and you have done an excellent job. I have no problem with the background, but from all the comments, you may consider improving on what you have done. I believe that Ps. has a way of showing motion in the propellers. Also, you can easily remove the top of heads and create more room at the bottom.   Posted: 07/09/2021 19:11:33

Peggy Reeder   Peggy Reeder
I like your background also. I see the value of making it more life-like by using a real sky, but I think your background creates a vintage mood and is more like a painting than a photograph. I know the lack of motion in the props is an issue, but probably difficult to correct in post processing. I would like to see a little more room at the bottom though. Nice job.   Posted: 07/15/2021 14:09:28

Kaylyn Franks   Kaylyn Franks
It sounds like you spent a lot of time creating the image you envisioned. The background does imply it is an antique. The angle in which you captured the plane is very pleasing. The colors of the background compliment the colors of the plane. I do wish there was more space at the bottom. And agree with the others on the propellers.   Posted: 07/20/2021 17:03:39


Please log in to post a comment