We made a trip across the Cascades in October to see what sort of colors there were in the trees. Choosing when to go is tricky because the timing of the color in the mountains isn’t the same as it is near us. Things were very pretty as we headed across Steven’s Pass. One the run down to Leavenworth, the road is tucked up against the banks of the Wenatchee River. There are a few places on the otherwise narrow road where you can pull off. The colors were pretty intense in parts providing a focus for the eye of the viewer of the photos.
When I was very young, BOAC still existed but it was soon merged in to British Airways. I remember model kits being for BOAC jets and I have seen some preserved aircraft in BOAC colors. As part of British Airways’ 100th year celebrations, they have painted up four airframes in legacy colors. The first to appear was a 747-400 in the BOAC scheme. I saw a bunch of shots of it online and was keen to see it for myself. It appeared on the schedule for an evening arrival at SeaTac so I made sure to be down there.
They were making a southerly flow that day and the evening is not a good time for that approach path as there are few locations to get good shots. However, I was “lucky” in that it was a crummy day for weather. The water tower location would normally have been horribly backlit but, since there was no sun, it might just do. I did get the shots and, by virtue of shooting quite heavily overexposed and then pulling back in post, I was able to get something I was reasonably pleased with.
I did really want the sun though and, not two weeks later, the jet was back on the SeaTac run. Again the evening arrival but this time it was sunny and the flow was northerly. This provides some opportunities for getting the iconic SeaTac arrival shot with Mt Rainier in the background. I was certainly not alone as she came down the approach nicely illuminated by the evening light. Thank goodness for time changes and being done with work by then!
Updates to Lightroom come along relatively regularly and they tend to include new features along with fixes and performance tweaks. The latest update, Lightroom 8.2, includes a new addition called Detail Enhancer. This is a feature that is designed to provide some better small-scale detail as part of the raw conversion process. It creates a new DNG file based on a more complex calculation of the demosaicing of the sensor data.
I saw some videos about it and figured it wasn’t going to be of much use for the type of thing I am working on. However, it did trigger one possible area of interest. The algorithms are supposed to be designed to make better calculations around the different color pixels that sensors have. Sensors are set up in a Bayer Pattern where different color sensitive sensors occupy different pixel spaces. They each record in one color and then software interpolates between them to create colors for each pixel irrespective of which color was originally recorded at that location.
In a post from a while back, I mused on the way in which the colors of the Southwest Livery and the registration clashed and seemed to provide a distorted image even when everything around them was sharp. I was pondering whether this was artifacting caused by the different colors and the way the sensor was recording the data. If this was the case, maybe this new functionality would change the way things were rendered. I dug out a few of the shots that had previously demonstrated this effect and ran the process on them. These shots show the wide shot, the original rendering of the close up and the revised rendering using Detail Enhancer.
As you can see from the comparisons, Detail Enhancer does not suddenly render a perfect registration for the aircraft. However, to my eye at least, it does appear as if the results are noticeably better then they were with the original rendering. For completeness, the original rendering is done with the latest process version of Adobe’s raw converter to make things as fair as possible. It does appear to make a difference. This makes me think my theory about whiny things looked wrong might have some merit, even if this update has not fully resolved things.
Icelandair painted one of their 757s in a scheme that portrays the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. It is named Hekla Aurora. It was painted a long time ago but, since they didn’t operate anywhere I lived, I hadn’t got to see it. Then I had my first sighting when landing at SeaTac when it was parked across the ramp as we taxied in. I certainly didn’t get a shot of it. Moving to Seattle meant I would have a chance to see it in action but that was dependent on it operating here on a day when I could actually be there. Turns out my luck was in – and it was sunny! (In fact it had been a crummy day but I had a feeling it would clear up and, while it was raining as I drove down, the sun came out on cue. Hurrah!)
When American introduced their new colors, there was uproar. The criticism was plentiful. I seemed to be in a very small group of people that actually quite liked the look that they had gone for. Having been a regular customer over a number of years, I had grown tired of what I thought was a dated look. Over time I think people have calmed down about the change and now I don’t hear too much mention of it.
As more of the fleet gets repainted, I now notice more when I see a jet still in the old scheme (except MD-80s which obviously are not going to be repainted given their imminent demise). I have come across a few of the 737-800 jets recently in the metal finish. Here are some of them before they finally disappear for good.
Not long ago I complained about the dirty condition of a China Eastern A330. At the time, I thought it might be a non-standard jet because the livery was basically white with a couple of distinguishing marks. It turns out that I hadn’t appreciated that China Eastern have replaced their previous colors with a new and less colorful scheme. Since then I have seen some 777s come in with the new scheme. In an era of relatively bland airline colors, it seems to me that China Eastern have gone a stage further and taken any interest at all from the livery. Not a cool effort on their part I think. They should check out what China Southern is doing by comparison.