|Quoting Flexo (Thread starter):
I was wondering what the successful guys' strategy is to correctly identify aircraft in it.
Good question! I believe the best way to learn something is to be tasked with teaching it. So my first recommendation would be to think about how you would run your own version of "Identify This".
When I was competing in aircraft recognition, I tasked myself and my teammates with creating very elaborate (multiple-choice) tests very regularly. My general workflow in creating a test was this:
- Gather photos of three or four very similar aircraft (ie: Baron, Seneca, Twin Comanche, SIAI-Marchetti S.210, etc)
- Try to find photos showing the same angle
of said aircraft
- Crop as needed, but make sure a distinguishing feature is visible
- Spread the sets out, combining them with other sets, in a 60-photo test
The competitors will see the same group of multiple-choice answers occur four times throughout the test, and each photo will look devilishly similar. The discussion after the test is the truly educational part...you get to discuss why shot #37 is answer B and why it's not answers A, C, or D.
Here are some things to remember while playing "Identify This":
Google Image Search is your friend
- Using only the aircraft manufacturer, designation, and name, you can search for photos of the PZL-Mielec M-15 Belphegor in many different ways....and each can produce very different search results:
- PZL M-15
- PZL Belphegor
- M-15 Belphegor
- Belphegor photos
- M-15 photos
- Belphegor aircraft
- M-15 aircraft
- Belphegor gallery
- M-15 jet
- Mielec M-15
- PZL-Mielec Belphegor
A particularly sharp “Identify This” player will be aware of variations in language, and will utilize them in his/her search
- Spelling varies. The PZL M-15 is known as the “Belphegor” to most of the world, but it is known as the “Belfegor” to PZL
- Cyrillic letters are different, and searching for photos of an “Antonov AH
-225” will result in different hits than you would find by searching for an “Antonov AN
- Pairing an aircraft designation with “avion” or “flugzeug” will result in different hits than simply using “aircraft”.
- Adding the search term “closeup” sometimes results in interesting photos
- Narrowing your search to large or extra-large size photos will reveal new cropping possibilities
Consider the viewing angle
- Most photos are shot from eye level. A shot containing lots of sky is probably pointed upward, suggesting a larger/taller aircraft.
- Shadows also provide clues to the size of the aircraft
- A photo might show a view that is only possible with a component of the aircraft (ie: wing, engine) removed. This is why I’m so looking forward to my next trip to Denver...there’s an airplane salvage yard about an hour from the city. I’ll be taking my camera.
Consider the crop
- In an “Identify This” contest, there are often one or more very distinguishing features just a few pixels outside of the crop
- Photos of aircraft with very distinguishing features (ie: odd intakes, distinctive landing gear, etc) will likely show details that are overshadowed by those distinguishing features
- For example, when you look at the
Piperjet, your eyes go straight to the engine up on the tail. But how many flap track fairings does that airplane have? If the shot showed only the wing and main gear of the aircraft, could you identify it?
Consider 2H4’s style
- Airliners generally bore me to no end
- I love GA
- I live an hour and a half from Oshkosh
- Odd-looking aircraft produced in very low (or even singular) numbers fascinate me
- If a shot seems too easy, an evil shot is probably on the way, and vice-versa
- I am not at all above accepting bribes in the form of lenses, Macbooks, and high-performance Ducati parts
The quality of the photograph is (usually) proportional to the rarity of the aircraft
- A crisp, clear shot is most likely showing an aircraft that is relatively easy to find
- A very grainy, blurred, and/or black & white shot is most likely showing an aircraft that is difficult or impossible to find
- The Dornier 728 shot was sent to me by a Tech/Ops lurker. He graciously volunteered to go get the shots specifically for use in “Identify This”, and then shot a bunch with his cellphone.
- Because so few shots of the mystical Hongdu N5A agricultural aircraft exist, low-quality, pixilated shots had to be used in the last round of “Identify This”
There is one huge secret I’ve used in almost every “Identify This” thus far, but I’m not quite ready to divulge it just yet. Only Lowrider knows, and that's only because I mentioned it to him in person. He’s one of only two a.netters I’ve ever met in real life.
I'm really glad everyone's enjoying the game. Personally, I really enjoy watching the discussion and education that comes from each shot.
[Edited 2008-10-03 14:19:50]