Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to observe it close up. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics of photography to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

The Dark Horse Region

The Dark Horse Region
A View into the center of the Milky Way

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

B-29 FIFI - A Portrait of a Legend

The B-29 bomber of World War II fame proved itself an iconic airplane both in design and function. It became the most expensive design project during the war exceeding even the development of the Atomic Bomb in cost. Almost 4,000 of them were built and two of them, the Enola Gay and Bocks Car dropped two atomic bombs on Japan ending the war.

When one of the few flying examples of the B-29, FIFI, came to Bowling Green, I had to take advantage of the opportunity to capture this beautiful airplane. What I wanted to do was photograph it at dusk using several speedlights along with some light painting, however, when I inquired about doing such a thing, the crew balked and it fell through. I was left with trying to capture the nostalgic nature of FIFI under less than ideal conditions. As a result, the images I took were made with the intent of creating black and white images. Black and white lends itself well to capturing dramatic skies when the lighting conditions are marginal. Converting to B&W allows one to take advantage of contrast which will offset the negative factors assiciated with middle of the day lighting. Another difficulty were the other people who had come to see the B-29. It was difficult to shoot around them and in some cases it became necessary to clone them out of the image in post processing, not always an easy task.

Fortunately, in spite of the tough conditions, the sky cooperated and I was presented with a blend of whispy clouds and blue skies, both of which contributed to exciting black and white conversions.

The idea behind the images was to recreate that 1940's look. The conversion process included using Nik software Silver Effects which allows for various black and white effects including simulating the use of different kinds of black and white papers. This advantage creates exciting possibilities. Most of the images that were converted used the Ilford Delta 100 Pro paper simulation. I also applied a sepia tone effect on a few of the images, along with high contrast and high structure giving the images a powerful, crisp look.

Capturing a portrait of a legend like the B-29 transported me if only for a few moments back in time to another era when because of the circumstances of the time, great planes were created which were destined to become some of the most beautifully functional machines ever created.

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