Every year for the Seafair air show, the Boeing Museum of Flight holds their Jet Blast Bash, inviting fans of aircraft of all types to watch the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels preflight demonstration and takeoff. They provide a few more static aircraft displays than normal on their grounds, along with kiosks and activities aimed at kids and hosting a local Corvette car show. Although you don’t get a view of the actual air show demonstration that takes place in the box over Lake Washington, it’s a great alternative to the endless crowds at Genessee Park if you care more about the airplanes than the hydroplanes.
The girlfriend and I go every year but this year was the first with my Fujifilm X-T2. Static and ground displays were shot with 16-55mm ƒ/2.8, for all shots of the Blue Angels I used the 50-140mm ƒ/2.8 lens with and without a 2x teleconverter to overcome distance and the fences. I was able to get a few shots of the jets filling the frame during takeoff and overhead passes but mostly I was out of range. Definitely an occasion where the 100-400mm with 1.4x or 2x teleconverter would have been ideal. Add to it the fact that the area is fenced in to prevent intrusion onto an active taxiway. I attempted to overcome the latter by using my monopod as a boom pole, sending my camera skyward and using a wired cable release to get over the fence. The remote cable was a little too short for the job and i didn’t have my wireless system with me. I should have used the remote app on my iPhone, but I didn’t want to interfere with my girlfriend’s enjoyment of the sights and sounds.
Next year, we’ll probably watch from Ruby Chow park, to put ourselves directly under the path of the jets as they take off and land.
As for post processing, like usual I used Iridient X Transformer, via Automator script, during transfer of the Fujifilm RAF files to my iMac. I edited them on the desktop then processed them in Adobe Lightroom on iPad Pro using Smart Previews. The processing cues were automatically synced back to Lightroom on my iMac through Creative Cloud. Unlike with my landscapes, I used a low contrast, medium saturation pass atop the Velvia emulsion to create a sort of bleached look. All passes were applied universally and helped to isolate the glossy, navy blue aircraft against the clear, blue skies in the photos. The desire was to reduce all of the harshness caused by direct sunlight and shadows, maintain definition between the paint of the sunlit aircraft and the sky as I increased the exposure, and to reveal the contours and definition of the fuselages without being harsh. The goal was to do this without making it look garish, like a bad “HDR” done with sliders. At first glance, it may look like I simply cranked up the shadows slider but, if you look carefully, you’ll see it was far more involved than that since doing so would’ve reduced definition and render significant haloing in the deep blue skies.
At a later date, I may reprocess select photos of aircraft on the ground to isolate the aircraft from the background using a light desaturation pass and increased contrast.
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