The plan for Sunday was to get brunch with lots of coffee (to aid in the recovery of the previous night’s houseboat-warming party) and then follow it up with some shooting of a few docked seaplanes on Lake Union in Seattle. It was a fairly straightforward agenda. We (, , , and I) had driven by this area several times throughout the weekend and had a good idea of what to expect in terms of shots to get and which glass would be most ideal to use. What we didn’t necessarily budget for was just how close we could get.
Growing up, my father always told me a simple phrase that I try to keep in mind anytime I am about to ask someone for something or to do something for me:
You get more with honey than with vinegar.
Simple. Straightforward. Honest. And the best part? It almost always holds true. Jacob clearly subscribes to this philosophy in his own Australian way and simply walked ahead of the group, straight to one of the employees of the company that owns and operates these seaplanes. I wasn’t in earshot to hear what he said or asked but, knowing Jacob, it was full of kind words in that ever-affable Australian accent that we Americans seem to be so helpless to. :)
Long story short – we were granted pretty much complete access to shoot as close to these aircrafts as one could expect, short of actually photographing inside of them. In exchange, we all rambled on about various photographic and aerial topics with the crew there. It was all very wonderful and I think we all walked away with shots that far exceeded what we originally expected to get.
In the end, everyone just wants their pound of kindness and respect. It’s on you to learn how to expertly navigate those waters and figure out how to best approach each situation. I’ll leave you with two important tips that you should always keep in mind:
1. If you do promise finalized images in exchange for access, as we did here, please be sure to follow through and actually deliver. I’m not saying you have to provide 16-bit TIFF files and hand over your copyright. A nice 3000-pixel jpeg will more than suffice. After all, without the access that you would have been granted, your shot may never have existed in the first place. Also, by doing this, you are paying it forward for other photographers who may follow in your footsteps and ask for permission. If you don’t follow through, the owner may not be nearly as keen to grant permission with the memory of that one photographer who promised some images and delivered nothing.
2. If you do ask for permission and are denied, be gracious and accept the decision with poise and respect. You are not entitled to anything just because you ask (nicely, even). However, maintaining your sense of decorum and professionalism is always expected and it will serve you very well to keep that in mind.
Remember – honey, not vinegar.
In terms of processing
Yup – nine brackets using the Magic Lantern firmware on my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens. I positioned the lens so that the wing was exaggerated while also keeping the body of the plane fairly untouched in shape. Tone-mapping was achieved with Photomatix.
Stylization was achieved in Perfect Effects 3 by. I used a combination of Return of the King, Deep Forest Glow), and custom _Color and Tone Enhancers to get the look.
Next, I brought the image into FocalPoint 2 and blurred out the background just slights to make it less obtrusive.
Finally, I finished things up with the improved Develop module in the newly released Lightroom 4.