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How Can I Improve This Photo?  
User currently offlineN844AA From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1352 posts, RR: 1
Posted (12 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4480 times:

Hi all. I want to start this post by thanking everyone for their presence here. I've been lurking in the photography forum for the last couple weeks, and the advice, tips and guidance I've picked up along the way have helped me considerably. I know I've got boatloads left to learn, but a lot of you are real experts at your craft -- thanks for sharing your expertise.

I recently bought my first decent digital camera, a Sony DSC-F717, and I've been out to the Austin airport several times trying my hand at airliner photography. Here's what I feel like is one of the better pictures I've produced so far:

MyAviation.net photo:
Click here for bigger photo!
Photo © N844AA

Here are the problems I see with it:

*Generally poor light conditions: I took this shortly before sundown, and I think it really shows. I have the poor light of a sun low in the sky without any of the aesthetic qualities. My skill is not yet such that I can effective compensate for these conditions. I suspect the first thing I can do to improve this photo would be to take it earlier in the day.

*Drab background: No clouds, no gradient, no points of reference. What's worse is that the sky is pretty much ... gray. And this is an improvement on what it was before I modified the color.

*Fairly common subject: Suffice it is say Southwest 737's are common visitors at Austin-Bergstrom. The only things noteworthy about this subject are that it's a 732, which aren't seen too much outside of Texas anymore, and it was dirtier than an Air France plane. But given the oft-photographed nature of my subject, I don't think my technical proficiency is sufficient for it to be up to a.net standards.

*Centering: A little low in the frame? I really can't tell. I think it might be though.

*Deeply shadowed underbelly: Since I can usually only spot after I get off work, this has been endemic to almost all of the pictures I've taken. If anyone has any general tips that I can try to reduce this (aside from spotting at noon -- believe me, I will when I can) I'd sure love to hear them.

*Halo around the plane: I think I might have overdone it with the USM. I didn't notice this when I was post-processing the plane last night.

Here's my processing workflow: Import > Crop > Neatimage > Adjust Levels, Colors, etc. > Resize > USM. I would say this example pretty much represents the current peak of my photoshop proficiency.

Thanks so much for reading through this. I appreciate your advice, your tips for correcting the problems I've seen, and identifying the ones I haven't.

New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
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