Love at First Flight
All it took was a ride in the Boeing 747 Queen of the Skies nearly two decades ago for me to fall in love with the world of aviation. Ever since I can remember, I've found airplanes fascinating. Whether it be the technicalities of these complex machines, or their ability to connect us globally and form memories together, aircraft are truly incredible and I enjoy capturing their moments.
Hello! I'm Rohan Patel,
a 22 year old Los Angeles native, with a passion for aviation and travelling.
I’ve been into aviation for as long as I can remember and since 2012, I began snapping photos of my flying and spotting experiences. My interest in photography stemmed from the realization that I could take home memories of the airport and what it felt like to travel. It all began with the family owned Sony HX9V point-and-shot camera. This gradually turned into a hobby where I would take photos, try to edit them, and post them online. Photography grew on me as I learned about the camera, composition, and seeing work by the aviation photography community. Some of my earliest inspirations, and photographers that I look up to even to this day, are Jan Jasinski, Matthias Geiger, and Kavin Kowsari.
I created my Instagram account in July of 2017, and this is when I started spotting and editing frequently. In order to stay competitive, I began improving my editing style. Post processing allows me to perfect each image so I can convey my experiences with my audience. Along the way, I have met some incredibly talented and friendly photographers like Alvin and Peterson, Traver Noakes, Vincenzo Pace, Derek MacPherson, William Sauro, and many others. I am thankful to the aviation Instagram community for their support and the many friendships. It is incredible to talk to and meet up with aviation spotters from all around the globe.
Apart from aviation and travel, I am a personal computer enthusiast and an aerospace engineering student with a focus on orbital dynamics and space mission design. Currently, I am in my final undergraduate semester at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. I have worked as a guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) engineering intern for AeroVironment and have completed several internships with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in their Space Mission Design and Navigation section. Visit My Engineering Portfolio.
Tools of the Trade.
I shoot with Sony 𝒂
Primary Body: A7R IV
Secondary Body: A6000
FE 100-400 GM f/4.5-5.6
E 18-105 PZ OSS G f/4.0
Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 DG DN Art
Adobe Photoshop 2020 (CC)
Adobe Bridge 2020 (CC)
Google Nik Collection
Topaz Labs DeNoise AI
Aviation is an art.
So why not capture it as such?
To me, capturing the perfect moment is more than pressing the shutter button. Going from scene to upload includes a self-taught editing workflow that I have built up over the years. It begins onsite with an idea of how I want to compose the final frame. I shoot in the RAW format, as opposed to the traditional JPG, as it yields greater flexibility in color recovery and dynamic range. Then, the editing process begins where I can truly produce the vision I started with.
I use Adobe Creative Cloud’s Photoshop 2020 for all my edits. The process begins with the Camera Raw tools where I can import the image and have access to the basics like the curves, HSL, exposure, lens corrections, and others. I tend to desaturate certain colors and use a strong “S” curve to achieve the look I prefer. I then use the Nik Collection Color Effects Pro suite to tone the image, add or remove details, and gradients. While there is no standard “recipe” for my editing, I usually will switch between the preceding two tools in Photoshop to create my image. The use of masks, brushes, and prebuilt filters are also utilized to achieve the exact look I want from my image. The next step is to control the amount of digital noise that present in the image. To do this, I switch between Denoise AI from Topaz Labs and the Nik Collection Define tool and selectively remove noise according to the level of detail and importance of the location in the photo. Finally, I end each edit with edge sharpening to clean up any soft ends that may have been in the original file or due to the noise removal process. Each photo is different and will require different amounts of editing to reach my satisfaction. However, a typical edit can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours.
The editing style and workflow is constantly evolving. For more information and tips/tricks, I will be posting occasional blog posts related to my work. Stay tuned!