Friday, 28 December 2012

Boeing 314 California Clipper

Boeing model 314, California Clipper NC 18602, pictured in 1939 or 1940
This is a bit special - the 747's distant ancestor the beautiful Boeing model 314 seaplane. This particular 314, named California Clipper was delivered to Pan American Airlines in 1939 and was used by the United States Army during WWII. It eventually retired in 1946, after logging more than a million flight miles.

Although undoubtedly lovely to look at, big seaplanes like this weren't always popular with passengers (since they tended to induce both seasickness and airsickness at various points of the journey) they were very hard to fly, and required much more experience and training on the part of their pilots and crew than more conventional land-based aircraft. In the 1930s these giant aeroplanes were the only way of getting passengers across the Atlantic, but after the war, with jet-powered airliners a mere decade away they were obsolete. 

No Model 314s survive. Of the 12 built, three were lost to accidents and the rest were scrapped.

This is a scan from an 8x10in print, which was in pretty terrible condition when I found it in a junk shop recently. The surface of the print was fine, but the entire image was covered in fine vertical lines, probably scratches in the film emulsion caused by careless handling of the negative during development or drying, all those years ago. 

To remove these lines I used a technique I've never used before. I selected the areas where the lines were most noticeable (the water and the sky), copied these to a new layer and with the opacity of this layer set to 50% I shifted it horizontally by a few pixels. This gives the effect of 'canceling out' the lines, but it inevitably lead to some odd artefacts and a general muddling of the treated areas. Judicious use of the patch tool and content-aware fill mostly sorted this out. I'm not completely happy with the final result but it's significantly better than the original. 

1 comment:

  1. ha! I have an old photo of this plane docked at some tropical place. a crew has a dingy paddling ahsore from it. feel free to contact me. panzerman1984 at gmail