Documentary Photography Travel Photography

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.


Space Shuttle DiscoverySpace Shuttle DiscoverySpace Shuttle DiscoverySpace Shuttle DiscoverySpace Shuttle DiscoverySpace Shuttle DiscoverySpace Shuttle DiscoverySpace Shuttle Discovery

Planes Vehicles


I admit that I am a lazy git when it comes to processing images.  If I didn’t feel somehow less of a photographer if I shot in jpeg I think I would process faster but then again, I would still end up tweaking and be in the same boat with thousands of unprocessed images.  One of these days someone will pay me to do this full-time and I can sit at home and process, then again, I have been paid and I’m still lazy about processing until I get in the mood to sit and fiddle in Lightroom for a few hours.  I used to be able to bang out an image in a matter of minutes but now with the tools I am using to enhance what the camera is producing I am much slower as I tweak out my workflow.

This is the Space Shuttle Discovery which is the second shuttle I have shot.  I guess I am lucky in that I have shot two in my life and they were both 10 minutes away from Induced Chaos HQ.  Using the Panasonic 7-14 on the OMD allowed me to shoot this at a relatively slow shutter speed with decent depth-of-field in low light.  Tweaked out in Nik Tools then processed some additional processing in Photoshop to remove noise and here is the end result.

OMD-EM5, 10mm, ISO 1600, f/4.0, 1/60
Black and White Landscapes Travel-Tourism Vehicles

American Discovery

There was no way I could have done this image in color.  The noise was too much considering the ISO I shot it at.  This is the hanger that the Space Shuttle Discovery is housed in at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum and we had just come in off the airfield from taking pictures of the planes.  I looked up and saw the flag and the engines of the Discovery and said why not!  I had my 118 degree wide-angle lens on and fired away.  It lost a little punch when I converted it to jpg but its still very nice.  I liked how even at a shallow aperture it still gives it a sense of depth and how big the hanger is.

I have been putting borders on some of my images and recently and this is the first one I have watermarked.  I think it just adds something to the images.

American Discovery
Olympus OMD-EM5, 7mm, ISO 3200, f/4.0, 1/60