This image is a mix of three individual pictures which were stitched together and manipulated in Photoshop. In certain situations I believe it is 'legitimate' to manipulate images. This is when the context of the finished picture is not altered from the original situation.
I was at Waddington International Air show and as anyone who's ever been to an air show knows, the static display aircraft are more often than not 'shoe horned' into place and surrounded by unwanted barriers etc. This was the situation I found myself in. I wanted a dramatic shot of the GR9, looking menacing. But, even with my wide angle lens I couldn't get far enough back to get the whole aircraft in the shot, this was due to another aircraft and its barriers being close behind me. The only alternative was to take two shots and stitch them together in Photoshop. This is ok, but another thing to bear in mind is that the clouds were moving in the sky, as were the other people around the aircraft.
I waited until there was a 'gap' where no people were going to walk in front of me for a few seconds. I then braced myself against the rear barrier and took the first image. Then I turned from the waist, keeping the camera level and took the second image, capturing the far wing tip. I then made my way to the crowd line and took a shot of the airfield and sky. This shot has to be done as soon as possible in case the sky changes dramatically, as it can of course. It's also important to capture a sky that matches that in any glass, or cockpit canopy in this instance, as it's almost impossible to replace a sky realistically in such items.
So, back on the computer, the fun began! With both GR9 images processed and matched for colour and exposure I was able stitch them together and match up the wing tip to the rest of thee aircraft. This 'double image' was then cropped to size and I set about masking off around the plane which would allow me to cut out the 2 skies and replace it with the new one I'd taken. As you can see, the sky in the cockpit, which is original, matches perfectly with the replacement. With the main images joined together it was just a case of cloning out any unwanted background distractions and matching up the shadow edges that didn't quite meet. A final tidy up using the 'levels' menu gave me the look I was after, a generally clean image that shows off this magnificent aircraft well.
So, if you ever find yourself not being able to get the whole subject in the shot, don't panic! It can be done with a little careful planning and fore thought before taking the shot. All you have to do is 'see' the final image in your minds eye first. And don't forget the sky!!