If I had a hero shot I wanted it was a photo of the SR-71. I have shot it before but I never really bothered much with it until one day I saw this photo by Trey Ratcliff. It was then I had a holy hell that’s cool moment.
This SR-71 is at the Udvar-Hazy Center which is apart of the Smithsonian. It’s pretty much the first thing that smacks you in the face as you walk into the hangers that encompass the facility. When I went there this time I specifically wanted to get my hero shot of this plane. That isn’t the big deal but I almost screwed it up and didn’t get it and a return trip is likely not in the cards.
I had puttered around photographing other things. I figured I would get the shot on the way out since you have to pass it. The facility closes at 5 and I was in a far corner. I figured I head back at 4:45 and get my shot and head home. The problem was I kept getting distracted by other cool things and by the time I got to the spot to take my photo I barely had any time.
I tried to use a new tripod thing I bought off a kickstarter that you can wrap around stuff. Having never really used it I wasn’t that familiar with it. So I was rushing and trying to get the thing setup and wasn’t having much luck. It didn’t help I was using a Nikon D810 with a Sigma 24-105 which isn’t the lightest combo on this planet.
I finally gave up and just jammed the camera between the railing and handles. Set the shutter delay for 2 seconds and stared death daggers at anyone that came near the railing and dared to touch it. I managed to grab a few shots and walked out a few minutes after 5.
If you have seen this image, yes it’s heavily edited. I did the usual camera profile and gradients then moved it into Photoshop. I then created a new layer and opened Aurora 2017 and just picked a preset that dumped details. I then moved back to my original layer and then did my curves adjustment and did local work dodging and burning. I then went back and masked in the HDR stuff I wanted to keep, mainly the SR-71. Wasn’t done yet. Created a new layer and opened Intensify CK and then picked a preset for details. I masked that in specifically on the SR-71 again. Then it was a matter of some final adjustments and done.