'Wheels up' seems to be the appropriate title for this latest set and for the mentality of Hallmark as we hit the three-weeks-till-portfolios-due mark. People are finalizing plans for after school, and shooting, editing or printing every day. When I was told by former students that they 'lived' at the school, I have to admit I didn't think they really meant it like this.

These two pictures took two full days to shoot, composite, and edit down. After the results I got from shooting the small-sized cars, I realized that there are lots of really cool models out there. This 4th fighter group P-51 Mustang model, courtesy of Len at p51mustangmodels.com is so realistic its crazy.

I had originally wanted to build a set to show off this plane in the hangar for a still life, but finding a suitable replacement for hangar doors and concrete floors led me to source images from an actual hangar and create a composite instead.

It took a lot of trial and error with scaling, faking depth of field using blur, and creating studio lighting to mimic the conditions the plane was actually shot under, but eventually it all came together. A vintage look completed this picture, something I don't normally do but it seemed to fit well with the feel of the whole image.

While about 8 hours of composite work and tweaking went into the hangar shot, the flying shot up top was much simpler. Matching the feel of a huge light source is as easy as putting a softbox over everything. I threw in a bare bulb camera right to give it a little edge, like sunlight coming through the clouds for just a second. I'm not sure I really got the propeller quite right yet, but I love the yellow circle from the cuffs.

While I'm not quite sure I want to shoot miniatures all the time, it's a nice substitute until I can get my foot in the door to shoot the real thing.


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