Yesterday the weather was particularly nice and the sky was blue, so I decided to go plane spotting. When I got to my spotting location for the day however, the sky changed dramatically. There was heavy pollution, and no longer was the sky blue. However, I was lucky in that the lighting was at least half-decent, so I was able to get usable shots. However, due to the pollution, contrast suffered severely and there is no background to my shots, other than a hazy sky. On the other hand, sharpness was virtually unaffected. I’m not sure if this is because of my quality L lens or the fact that I was shooting at f/8. I was expecting extremely soft images due to the pollution, but even the unedited files turned out razor-sharp.
Here you can see a picture I took of a BA A380 on arrival.
This first image is the unprocessed jpeg. As you can see, contrast suffered greatly but sharpness is quite good.
Now here is the same image after post-processing was applied. I cropped it, played around with curves, increased contrast, then applied a slight amount of sharpening. You can see it looks much better.
The saving grace here was the light. I was lucky that sun was right behind me, and that the light was nice and hard. Had it been an overcast day in addition to the pollution, or the scene was backlit, then things would have turned out far differently. Remember that light is crucial to getting good shots in all types of photography, including aviation photography. After all, it’s the light that your camera captures.