My Covid 19 Lockdown Project: WW2 Aircraft

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: April 16, 2020

Category: General | Photography

So what does a Portrait Photographer who photographs World War 2 Veterans do when living in Lockdown due to the the current Covid-19 Virus?

Answer
Create pictures of World War 2 Aircraft…

Of course I’m not talking about taking pictures of the real thing because that’s just not possible at the momemt, but what I am talking about it is photographing small, Airfix model aircraft.

As a child I was never really into making models because I always wanted to be out on my bike and playing but now as a 40-something adult with forced time on my hands I’m absolutely loving it.

My first model purchased this past week is this 1:72 scale, Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1a; a starter kit complete with paints, brush and decal…

I guess in total it took just a couple of hours to glue all the pieces together and then paint and add all the transfers / details onto the bodywork…

I’d actually been thinking about doing this for quite some time but as it happens I never seemed to have any … time I mean.

One thing I knew from the outset was that I didn’t want to create pictures of the aircraft in flight with bullets flying around, fire and smoke but rather create pictures of the aircraft doing what they do, majestically flying amongst the clouds.

Talking of clouds, once I’d built the model the plan was to take it outside and attach it on to something secure and photograph it with the sky and clouds behind it. However, the weather (as is always the case) wasn’t playing ball and we ended up with fairly high winds. Since then the sky has also been featureless with only the occasional cloud showing up.

Solution

Use a couple of the many sky pictures I have on my hard drives to make a new sky, have it full screen on one of my monitors and photograph the model in front of it along with natural light coming in through the windows in my office.

This worked great!

I chose to position the model ontop of a table top tripod that I have rather than using something like fishing line; main reason being that it was so incredibly quick and easy to position the model exactly how I wanted it. I just stuck it ontop using a little bit of blu-tac and twisted the ballhead about until I was happy.

To do this using fishing wire would have taken a lot more time and effort and I really didn’t see the point especially when I could quite easily cut the model out / off the tripod in Photoshop in just a couple of minutes.

Obviously doing this begas the question why have the sky behind the model if you’re cutting it out anyway?

Well thinking about it, the colour of the sky (on my monitor) would reflect onto the model which all helps with the blending the scene together PLUS having the sky behind helped when I was positioning the model on the tripod to see which angle worked best against the sky.

Camera Settings

Lens: 85mm f/1.4 G Master
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/60sec
ISO: 1250

 

To ensure that focus was spot on I used manual focus and focus peaking as you can see from the back of the camera above and the yellow outline around the model.

Once I’d taken pictures of the model Spitfire it was then into Lightroom and Photoshop to work through putting the picture together and I’ll go through some of the steps in the next post.

I’ll also share new pictures as I do them seeing as I couldn’t resist and have ordered a number of other models now too ūüôā

Keep safe and well
Glyn

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