Steve Thornton  

Award Winning Advertising and Editorial Aviation Photography

Test Cell

Steve was contacted by a European aviation magazine to take a photo for the cover. The magazine had contacted a large MRO facility for permission to shoot and Steve, along with his lead assistant, traveled there and then were given a tour of the facility. Both of them brought cameras to capture "Scouting" photos. This way they could be reviewed to generate a shot list of ideas to be considered.

In describing this image, Steve said, "Photographically speaking, the test cell in it's native condition is pretty bland. The light was utilitarian, so for photography it was too dark and unexciting." He goes on to say, "However I did very much like the subject and I felt that given this is where an engine is put through it's paces, it's almost as if it was in a torture chamber, so I wanted to give it that look and feel." In post production (Photoshop) Steve worked to get the image to this point.

He also allows that this image was taken in much less than ideal conditions and as such, technically speaking, it is not a good example of his photographic skills. "The light was miserable to taking anything other than a snapshot, and even then the file is really of marginal quality due to not having the time and the correct equipment with me on the tour of this huge and impressive facility."

The technical info: Photographed using a Canon digital camera set at 2000 ISO, 1/160 second with a 16-35 f2.8 zoom lens set at 16mm and the aperture set at f2.8.

The technical info in plain English: It's really dark in the test cell for photography without a tripod and/or supplemental lighting.

The next two images shows the process he took to get to the final image you see above. The image below is the original image directly out of the camera with no adjustments at all. It is what's call a RAW image. You can see the image is not really visually exciting.

In the image below Steve has worked to introduce color from an original image that was almost colorless. He has also raised the contrast levels to start introducing a "heavy' look & feel to the image. From the image below Steve used his special color conversation process to wind up with the top image above. He mentioned that he likes this image as is, he is well known for the color in his images, but he also wanted to try B&W.

Any comp or mock by an advertising agency, design firm or magazine for internal use only is always free, just ask me for the image & I will send it to you. Also any educational use is free, please just ask in advance. The exception to free educational use is any book publishing, printed or electronic.

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