Museum Photography 2

Visit to the Delta Flight Museum

Delta Airlines recently opened the Delta Flight Museum to the public. The museum is located in two historic hangars, now on the Delta Airline corporate campus. A most interesting place to visit. My visit there also provided me with some additional thoughts and tips on museum photography to go along with my earlier article, Museum Photography.

The Delta Flight Museum is housed in two connected maintenance hangars dating from the 1940s. These historic hangars are now located on the Delta corporate campus adjoining the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. When you visit, be prepared to show ids at the security gate.

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Two historic aircraft maintenance hangers house the Delta Flight Museum
This very wide-angle photo is stitched together from two smartphone photos

Unlike most museum artifact, aircraft are rather large. This makes getting them into pictures difficult unless you have a very wide-angle lens. I stitch photos together. Photo Gallery does a fine job of that. Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE) does a superb job. I use both. ICE is especially handy when some perspective correction also needs to be done.

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Delta’s first 767 aircraft is now a museum inside the museum 

The largest item inside the museum is a Boing 767 aircraft. LJK13046-P4-2000Inside the rear portion has been converted into an exhibit area with display cases along the sides.

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The Spirit of Delta – Boing 767 aircraft purchased for Delta by its employees, retirees, and friends in the financially difficult times in 1982.

A number of items, like luggage carts, have been turned into display cases and there are numerous interactive displays giving information about the artifacts and the history of flight.

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The Delta Flight Museum, like other museums, is illuminated for a pleasant experince by visitors not for cameras. The light requires high ISO settings and the techniques of noise reduction described in the earlier article. The high contrast range, illustrated here by the view into the “business end” of an aircraft engine and the cockpit, requires HDR processing. That technique was also covered in the prior post. For the images here I used primarily the “shadows” slider in Photo Gallery and the HDR effect in onOne Perfect Effects 8.

The many historical items take the visitor back to the early days of Delta, indeed to the early days of passenger flight. There are many interesting artifacts like the early “amenity kit”. Yes, indeed, there was a time when smoking was common in airplanes.

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Early day customer being assisted in boarding flight.
Tableau at the Delta Flight Museum.
Atlanta, Georgia

When we look at what flying was like some 85 years ago when Delta got started in the passenger business, we smile at how plain and  simple it all was. The equipment was outright crude, and so was the merchandising and the service.

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Even I remember those simple days of flying. On my first flight on a DC-3 when we arrived at our destination the pilot hopped out, unlocked the door to the terminal and came back and unloaded the luggage. The Delta Flight Museum has the first Delta DC-3, now beautifully restored.

Douglas DC-3 aircraft at the Delta Flight Museum

Douglas DC-3 aircraft at the Delta Flight Museum

Of course, I couldn’t resist this opportunity for a “selfie” in the polished metal of the DC-3.

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The Delta Flight Museum is still a work in progress. There are several aircraft outside the hangars that have not (yet) been integrated into the museum experience for visitors. Photography is permitted “for personal use”. There is a museum shop, of course. Be sure to pick up a memento there.

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© 2014 Ludwig Keck

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Vertical Panoramas

No, that is not an oxymoron. In fact, vertical panoramas are quite common. Most of us think of panoramas as wide views of spectacular landscapes, but they can be wide, or high, or just large and detailed images. Vertical panoramas have the nice advantage of fitting well into web pages as you can see here.LJK_2619-30-Stitch - Copy (270x1000)

The panorama here is of a huge tulip poplar tree at McDaniel Farm Park in Duluth, Georgia, just starting to leaf out this spring. This image was composed of twelve individual photos.

So how does one make a vertical panorama?

The technique is the same as for a “normal”, horizontal, panorama. You start by taking overlapping pictures of the subject. I like to overlap quite generously so I don’t accidentally come up short. Here is one of the photos that make up this composite.

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You can see the others by clicking on the photo (above), the link leads you to my Photosynth of the set.

To make a  composite set use Windows Live Photo Gallery. Select the image thumbnails you want to combine, click the Create tab then Panorama. The photos do not need to be in order, they do need to overlap. There is no need to tell Live Photo Gallery what kind of composite you want, it analyzes the images and combines them in the correct way. The panorama at the right was made that way and then cropped.

My favorite tool for complex composites is Microsoft Image Composite Editor. Click on the photo at right to see the uncropped output from “ICE” – also as a Photosynth.

I have already illustrated one way to show of a large composite with Photosynth. There is another way I like using Zoom.it:

Zoom.it of Giant Tulip Poplar Tree

The zoomit image is based on the WLPG panorama made as a full resolution JPG (100% quality setting). This made the image 48.4 MB – close to the SkyDrive upload limit of 50 MB. The image size is 4534 pixels wide by 11639 pixels high (this includes the black areas illustrating how the photos overlap).

 

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Panoramas of things that are straight

Panoramas are popular for showing all that you can see around you. But what if you want to show something that is straight? Consider a street. You are standing on one side and want to show everything on the other side up and down the street. Your camera lens is likely not wide enough to take in everything from full left to full right. A set of photos can be stitched together into a panorama. Windows Live Photo Gallery has a Create > Panorama feature that works quite well. I like to use Microsoft Composite Editor because it offers more adjustment features and is very easy to use.

All it takes is a set of photos that show the scene step by step. The content of the photos has to overlap about a third to help the stitching program do its job. Here is a panorama of a street scene.

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The left end of the photo shows the street looking down to the left, and the right edge looks to the right. The street looks like it bends. The individual pictures were taken from one position – that is the normal way to make panoramas.

Here, to explain what happens in more detail, is a set of photos showing a straight wall of Fort Pulaski.

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Six photos were taken from the same place. That’s what they look like. When you look to the left or the right the farther end of the wall looks smaller. That is normal, the way we see the world. Combining them into a panorama results in an image that has the same characteristics as the one of the street.

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It doesn’t look straight. Can something be done? Yes. Instead of taking the pictures from one position, I took a set from six different positions. Each photo looks directly at the wall. I moved from one end to the other. Carefully staying the same distance from the wall. Here is my set:

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Doing this is a bit tricky. Do not use a wide-angle lens setting. The best results are obtained when you are as far from the subject as possible. If you are very careful, and the subject is quite flat, the pictures can be stitched nicely. See, I didn’t use the street, I used a wall! I am never all that careful and my resulting panorama has some flaws, but it is not bad:

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Now it looks like the wall that it really is. This was done using Image Composite Editor with the StitchCamera motion control set to Planar Motion 3. The default setting is Rotating Motion – for the “normal” panoramas that are taken from one point.

If you have not already discovered the links, each of the panoramas above can be seen larger by clicking on the images. The tool for that is “Zoom.it” – and that is another story.

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