Space Shuttle Discovery

Space Shuttle Discovery

Took at trip to the Udvar-Hazy Center which is apart of the Smithsonian. Went for a specific shot in mind but I figured when I was there why not photograph the Discovery.

This is a bit of a departure from my normal work. I went and shot this documentary style. Giving different angles and views of the same subject. I hope it conveys the sheer size of the shuttle. You just don’t realize how big it is until you see it in person. It takes up almost an entire hanger at the museum.

I used my Nikon D810 and my Sigma 24-105 and a Nikon 16-35 to get these images. Used ISO 1600 and the aperture was set to 4.0 on all these shots. I had no choice but to shoot wide open due to lighting in the place. Speaking of the lighting it confused the hell out of the camera for metering and white balance. I used spot and multi metering for all these. White balance was a pain in post because of the color shifts from lights around the shuttle.

I knew when I took these images it was going to be documentary style so I could crop as needed. I made sure my shot discipline anticipated the cropping that was going to happen in post. When shooting something like this if you don’t plan for a crop you are going to have some really funky photos.

Editing wise was a straightforward. I loaded my camera profiles which I can’t stress enough using on all your cameras. It gives you a reliable base to work form. I did my cropping and white balance to shift the hue from the yellow and blues of the lighting to get it back to shuttle white. I used gradients to get focus on the areas I wanted.

It was then off to Photoshop for curves adjustments for tonality and contrast. Once I had that these images needed a lot of local work to balance things out. I then would take the image into Camera Raw Filter and run another white balance on the final image to correct color shift from adding the tone curve. Even still I would have to use a desaturation brush to get some of the yellows tamed because it just hue shifted that much. I could not just run the hue/saturation adjustment because the shuttle does have yellow in it.

Final bit was to add some sharpening to the images. While there is some noise adding a bit of sharpening increased acuity and allowed for a better overall image.


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One thought on “Space Shuttle Discovery

  1. Space Shuttle Discovery. I enjoyed so much. I would have liked to seen it in person. To just think this Space Shuttle, in this museum, was the same that went and explored outer space and back. An adventure most of us will never do.

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