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:
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.