Vought F4U Corsair on the USS Midway
I just got back from 5 days in San Diego. It was for my company's annual user conference, but I went up a couple days early to take photos. So far, this is my favorite shot from a very productive trip photography-wise. If you're into history or engineering and you've never been on an aircraft carrier, you really owe it to yourself to visit one. From the sheer size, to the engineering prowess on display, to learning about carrier operations, to imagining life on board a ship-city, aircraft carriers are just endlessly fascinating. I could spend days on one. Anyway, this is a Vought F4U Corsair in the hanger deck (the giant warehouse beneath the carrier's runway) of the USS Midway. The Corsair had an impressively long service history across the world, but was employed by the US primarily in World War II and the Korean War.
From a photography standpoint, I was really going for an aged photo look to go along with the vintage aircraft. In the original photo, everything from the sign in front of the plane to the back wall was fairly in-focus. I shot it at f/4, but the ultra-wide focal lens combined with the distances involved resulted in a pretty deep depth of field. I felt like that made the background a little distracting. So I used the "quick select" tool (an amazing tool that I'll have to devote a posting to in the future) in Photoshop to select the airplane, the sign, and the cordoning rope. Then I inverted the selection so that the background was selected and I ran the lens blur filter on the background to throw it out of focus. That made it look a bit like a diorama, which could be cool in small doses. I had to play with the amount of blur in order to strike a balance between reducing the distraction of the background and not making it look like an HO-scale model.
Next, I brought the photo into Color Effects Pro and ran three filters on it. First, I used the Tonal Contrast filter to bring out details and balance the exposure a bit better between shadows and highlights. Then I used the Film Efex - Vintage filter to warm the color tone (giving a bit of a golden hue to the light), desaturate the colors, add some film grain, and add a vignette to further de-emphasize the background. All of that lent an old, faded photograph look to the image. The last filter was the Glamour Glow filter, which is typically used for portraits, but I used it here to soften the look a little bit. Some final sharpening and there you have it.
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