Saturday Night at the Drive-in

Saturday Night at the Drive-in

There aren’t many Happy Days moments in life anymore, but every Saturday night in Manassas the friendly folks of Bull Run Street Rods cruise in to the parking lot of the Burger King out by the airport. Over in the corner of the lot is a little drive-in ice cream shop that sort of looks like it belongs in nineteen-fifty-something. They do a brisk business between the folks coming to show off their wheels and the folks (like me) who show up just to look. You can almost convince yourself that you’re back in a simpler time, even if it’s just for a bit.

Processing:

Three RAW exposures (-2, 0, +2).
Luminance HDR 2.3.0 tonemapping parameters:
Operator: Fattal
Parameters:
Alpha: 0.37
Beta: 0.9
Color Saturation: 0.78
Noise Reduction: 0
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PreGamma: 0.94

Enhanced detail in Topaz Adjust 5 and framed in Picasa 3.

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Police Charger

Ran into this walking home from the Railroad Festival a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it’s the little kid in me, but I still think police cars are cool, and a police Charger is really cool.

Three RAW exposures merged and tone-mapped in Luminance HDR, then finished in Topaz Adjust 5.

P-51 Mustang



I didn’t get to see it fly during the show, but I did see it fly over my house on it’s way out of town the next day. There are a lot of single-engine prop planes flying around where I live, but nothing sounds like this. It growls like something out of a Tolkien story.

Three RAW exposures blended in Luminance HDR and finished in Topaz Adjust 5, then a little de-noising and sharpening in CS2.

Piper J-3 Cub

Facing the likelihood of being drawn into WWII, the United States formed the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) in 1939 to increase the ranks of America’s trained pilots.  The CPTP adopted the Piper J-3 Cub as it’s primary trainer.  Of the 435,000 new pilots who learned to fly in the program, three quarters of them were trained on the Cub.  By the end of the war, 80% of American military pilots received their first flight training in Piper Cubs.

This Cub, painted in the famous chrome-yellow-with-black-lightening-bolt color scheme, soars in the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles, Va.

LaNelle’s Story

At it’s most successful, Liberia was home to around 90 slaves. Research has been done into the lineages of some of those slaves, and at least one has been traced down to the present day.  On the day I toured the house we heard a presentation by LaNelle Naylor, a direct descendent of the Nelly whose name apprears in the lower right corner of the chart in this image.

Nelly was the wife of Samuel Naylor, a bricklayer who helped build Liberia for his master, William J. Weir.  Sometime in the 1850’s Samuel was able to buy his freedom, and later freedom for Nelly and their children.  He also bought a piece of the plantation land from his former master and started his own farm.  When the Weir family fled to Richmond to escape advancing Union troops in 1862, Samuel and Nelly remained as caretakers of the property.  This story, along with some other ancedotal evidence, suggests that the Weir family treated their slaves well, more like employees than property.

See the other Liberia images here.

Liberia House Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Liberia Plantation today.  When William Weir built Liberia in 1825 there wasn’t much else around, but he had a vision of a thriving community growing up around his new home.  To attract settlers he had postal service extended to the area, serving as postmaster himself.  He also struck a deal with the Orange and Alexandria Railroad that brought train service almost literally into his backyard, thus assuring quick transport to market for the plantation’s crops and livestock.  His efforts paid off as the plantation thrived prior to the American Civil War and the community that would eventually become Manassas, VA took root and started to grow.

A man wearing so many hats needed a place to conduct business, and this hutch with fold-down writing surface might have been just the place.  It had a space for everything, and was portable enough for a quick escape from advancing Yankee troops.

See the other images in the Liberia Plantation series here.

Lockheed P-38J Lightning

Back to the Udvar-Hazy Center today with the kids.  My goal was actually to get images of two other planes, but as I was walking across the central catwalk, I saw this.  I’ve shot this plane before, but for whatever reason just never got an angle I liked until now.

The P-38 saw service in both theaters during World War II, and is credited with downing more Japanese aircraft that any other U.S. fighter.  The four Browning .50 caliber machine guns and 20mm canon mounted in the nose gave the Lightning a definite edge in combat, and it’s speed, range, and handling made it a favorite among pilots.

Three exposures culled from a single RAW, then processed in Luminance HDR, with some finishing in Topaz Adjust 5.