The Blackbird in the Hangar

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Daily Photo – The Blackbird in the Hangar

You may not even really need to be into planes to know about the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. The way those letters and numbers fit together is almost poetic, isn’t it? SR-71. There is a melody to it that flows in a nice way. It almost makes me wonder if there is some military muse that comes up with some of the better names for these vehicles.

In the background there, waaay in the rear area, you can see the space shuttle. What a cool place! Of course, this is the new Air & Space Museum in DC. By luck, there was a rail here for me to secure my camera to take this HDR.

HDR Photo

  • Wes

    Love the composition and contrast, very nice.

  • Great shot – I love this series of shots – keep them coming!

  • Sweet composition indeed!

  • Gernot

    well done trey! rich in contrast and i love the triangular shape of it’s “final parking lot”, which relects it’s unique shape.

  • Awesome shot as usual! Love the reflections in the floor.

  • All the shots you post from this place reek of awesome as all photos with vehicles used in black-ops usually do – i really want to visit this place!

  • PS – is that the space shuttle ‘Discovery’ in the rear? I knew it had been decommissioned and was up for sale but never heard about where it ended up.

  • Peter Rodgers

    Great shot, superb HDR work.

  • Joseph Vernuccio

    Simply amazing!

    Question for you Trey. Do you employ any filters in your arsenal? I’m still really RAW (pardon the pun) when it comes to HDR, just looking for any helpful tips to make myself better.

  • I’ve never been a great fan of the HDRs you took at that museum, maybe because I’m not really into planes and the like. But in this one I must say that I think you could have done a better job composing the picture, maybe a portrait would have been better here.

  • By “secure my camera to”… what do you mean? What did you use?

  • Gail in Montana

    My hubby will like this one, Trey. He was in the Air Force and Air National Guard. He never flew planes, but was a dog handler in France in the early 60’s, poor him, lol. But he knows his planes and would appreciate your photo. I’m not a big fan of planes, but this is a great shot of the Air and Space Museum in D.C. Great job!!

  • Bryan

    A great shot of my favorite aircraft (along with the P-47 that my dad flew in WWII). Thanks for sharing this one!

  • Thanks !

    Andy – I think it is the Discovery – need to check my other (still unprocessed) photos of it!

    Joseph – no filters at all…

    Kyledandrus – When I say “Secure”, I just wedged it up against the rail as best I could to keep it from moving too much

  • chase c

    WOW!!! Awesome HDR work!!!

  • Jeff

    I really hate to say this, but it’s shots like this that makes everyone hate HDR. Oversaturated to the point in no longer resembles anything real. Looks more like a sureal painting than a photo.

  • I love this shot – you had a good day when processing this one, I’d say 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Gooda

    I love the floor, good shot!!!!!!!!

  • Val

    Love your work otherwise, but this one is a bit hard on my eyes. A bit too much local contrast, which brings too much detailes for my taste. I guess I am alone on that one. Sorry.

    Now, everyone can start roasting me for blasphemy.

  • Roy

    Too much contrast and just doesn’t look right. Overcooked.

  • Hehe – interesting how the opinions differ… Yes, I did a lot of HDR on this one because I really liked it in this milieu — but other times I am more relaxed… but I do notice and think it is interesting how people react to different levels of HDR intensity.

  • Jim

    Interesting pic. Been at this viewpoint many, many times. Can’t get enough.

    The shuttle orbiter in the background is the Enterprise. Never went to space. From the NASM web site: “full-scale test vehicle used for flights in the atmosphere and tests on the ground; it is not equipped for spaceflight.”

  • Joe

    Awesome! Just took same picture two weeks ago. Have not had chance to process, yet. Bird is bigger than expected.

  • The Blackbird is my favorite bird of all time. I have loved that machine since the very first day I laid eyes one it. Excellent capture as usual Trey!

  • I visited this place awhile back and love it as well. It is the space shuttle Enterprise in the background. Here is a shot of the shuttle I took while there. I love the SR-71 and probably spent half the day taking shots of it.

  • casusan

    Awesome shot Trey – know you so enjoyed this museum!!

  • Thanks for sharing as usual Trey. Put me in the camp of “this one is overdone,” but hey different strokes for different folks right?

  • Paul

    This picture is why I am really starting to dislike HDR. There is a time and place for HDR and this is not it. People are going WAY overboard with HDR. It’s an absolute train wreck of a picture.

  • I think if you had gone for a portrait shot then much of the ‘museum’ feel of the shot would have been gone plus the two aircraft at the left and right frame the Blackbird nicely. It reminds me of the one of the commercial airliners you took at Dallas (is that correct?) airport. I look forward to seeing the finished images of the space shuttle!

  • Got damn, that ‘s a great picture, congratulations .!.

  • renaars

    I totally agree with Paul!

    This is another example of bad hdr usage.

    What are you trying to accomplish?
    Your subject (that nice sr-70) isn’t even catching half of my eye.
    The only thing that i see is greatly exaggerated contrast and hdr crap.

  • It’s perfect! The heavily “cooked” look may not be everyone’s preference, (it’s ART, for heaven’s sakes. Sigh.) but I think it is exactly what was called for in this partciular shot. (And it is by no way overdone either :))

  • Its not Discovery – Discovery is still in Florida processing for her next (last) shuttle mission. STS-133. Thats Enterprise in the background – OV-101. An aerodynamic test vehicle that never flew in space. She only did glide tests.

  • I love the place and the other pics that have been shared by Trey. But something is disturbing me in this view and I think that are the hihglights in the background, 2 bands of white at both sides on the canvas …

  • Friggin’ fantastic, Trey !!!

  • Btw, strange how all the negative people don’t have any links to their sites (if they have any such things that is). Would be nice to see what their idea of photography is for comparison.

  • jajaja… controversy!

    Hehe – well look… My photos are like the weather in Montana… If you don’t like it, wait a day and it will change. With 365 new photos a year, you’re going to be able to surf the full bell-curve! 🙂

    (BTW negative comments dont’ bother me a bit… but most of you know this)

  • This photo is controversial and as a result a complete success!

    I look at the photos on here as if i was there myself. The level of detail in HDR means that this is possible. Just because the photo is named after the blackbird which is in the middle of the image, doesn’t mean that anything else should be disregarded. I like to think outside the box.

    I suggest that if people want to see crap HDR then they should click on my name and go to my flickr page.

  • Paul

    Marianne – how others take pictures has nothing to do with it. Joe Schmoe who takes standard tourist shots can easily say he likes or dislikes Ansel Adams – a basic tourist shot of his doesn’t make his opinion any less valid.

    Now… as far as the picture goes… let’s just go with everything EXCEPT the HDR. The composition is not good. Where is the rule of thirds? Nothing lines up with it. The two fighters – one has it’s prop entirely in the picture – the other is cropped. Even then, the eye tends to go to one of the fighters – not the Blackbird. It’s not level. A cant’ed shot is one thing – but this is ever so slightly off… which does not help.

    The HDR has been used to basically try to pretty up a fairly bland picture. The problem is, he took it to the extreme. The floor of the building looks NOTHING like that. I’m not even sure I’d call it cartoonish.

    Is it art? Sure, you can say that. Anything can be art. And I’m not arguing that it isn’t. But just because it’s controversial does NOT automatically make it art.

    If you want to know what MY idea of photography is as regards to the Udvar-Hazy museum… I much prefer these two shots of the Blackbird:

    And no, neither one of those are mine.

  • Mike Gleason

    Your comment about the railing for support reminded me that the Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio (which has a few planes on display also;-) allows tripods.

  • Paul

    I should add – I am in no way saying that I take master shots. I am a professional videographer, but not a professional photographer. I only takes stills as a hobby.

  • Val

    Well I’ll add my two cents to the discussion… It’s not the HDR per se that ruins this shot for me, but rather it’s overdone local contrast. You need to look really closely (and with great determination almost) to even find the black bird here. It blends in with all the details of the floor.

    I am not a pro, just an HDR enthusiast, I guess, and thus I am familiar with the danger to get lost in the details and ruin the shot…

  • It is really looking but is a bit over processed. All in all, great work 😉

  • Val,you’re absolutely correct. I can see two planes in the foreground much better than the main subject. I’m pretty sure that it’s not supposed to be like that. Trey,the shot itself is awesome,I suggest you re-process it.

  • Richard

    This image is not to my taste or liking. I do not think it does the subjects justice. Instead of these marvelous aircraft being the center of attention, the processing is. That said, there are many different perspectives as to what suits one’s taste.

    I would be interested in seeing the image processed differently, rather more conservatively, just for sake of comparison.

    P.S. Kelly Johnson designed the SR-71 with a slide rule and one of the most finely developed senses of intuition ever to grace the world of aviation. It was the pinnacle of manned (atmospheric) flight and may remain so for many years, if not forever.

  • JT

    Gotta say, your eye goes to the blue in the Corsair at the right before the SR-71 that is slightly masked against the floor. That said, it’s far better than any HDR I have yet to produce.

    About 15 years ago, I shot a History Channel docu that included a couple acts on the Y-12 and the SR-71. The stories the pilots told on background about the failed attempts the USSR made with SAMs and MIG-25s to down them are mind blowing. And I agree w/ Richard that Kelly Johnson and his skunk works team were wizards…

  • Like all works of Art.
    “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder” and I am sure a few people really hate the Mona Lisa. Controversy in art helps people verbally sort themselves out through what they see. Art is a mirror for what is inside and all opinions can be used to help refine ones work. In the end this image has a beauty all it’s own.

    Good Job Trey.

    Here is an image from my website of an SR-71 with an exposed engine detail at the McMinnville Evergreen Avation Museum. Done with HDR for my tastes.


  • Michael

    Thanks for this heavy HDR portrait. It helps me evaluate my work. Learning tons by reading your blog each day. Blessings.

  • Dennis Golombek

    It’s one of my favorite places to visit down there. Hope to be back this fall but fear “no tripod” rule shooting there. Thanks for the inspirations!

  • Wow Trey, excellent work on the hanger.

  • Trey, did you use a texture on the floor because whether or not you processed this image heavy, the floor does NOT look like that at all. I should know, the museum is about 7 miles from me and I’m there quite frequently (was there this past Sunday actually).

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