Just a quick revisit, I promise.

After several iterations, this is the print of "Moncton to Toronto in two and a half hours" that I was finally happy with and brought to the Forum for feedback. It went through a lot of edits before ending up with toning that's very similar to the original negative, picking up and shedding dramatic skies in the process. The biggest surviving change is differential sharpening, which is invisible at this size, but matters in the print. I've started using Topaz Sharpen, so the navigation beacon has used its standard mode, while the Dash 8 used its "stabilize" which clears up some motion blur. Even at 1/1000s, the plane was moving at a pretty good clip. The rest of the print, including the propellers, has no sharpening – I actually like the effect of crisping up the grain, but it didn't play well with the resizing and printing.

To say that I caught the critique group on a bad night would be a bit of an understatement.

Part of the disconnect was that it was shown without the maker or print name being announced; if I had known that would happen then I wouldn't have shown it. So commenters approached it as a photo of a plane, and in that context perhaps the advice that I remove the tower makes sense. It's still a bad suggestion, but at least it's better than the people who saw chromatic aberration around the tail as a basic technical flaw that should have been fixed. That's tough to do with a photo taken on black and white film.

But critique – even bad, cranky, nitpicky, misguided, off-base critiques intended to make the commentator sound superior – can always be useful. If nothing else, working through my response to it has been useful.

I like planes, sure. But I've found that I prefer photos of planes-in-context to blue-sky glamour shots. Now I realize that no matter how much I may like planes, it's actually flight that I'm trying to photograph. That's why it matters to me that I know where this plane is coming from, where it's going to, and how long it took. That gives some insight into how the crew and passengers are feeling as this trip comes to its end. Knowing the specific aircraft means that I can see where it was before this flight, where it went after, and even where it is right now if I choose to check. (As I write this C-FUWE landed in Toronto an hour ago, and is leaving for Montreal in three hours.) So the title that I chose, that I used gritty black and white film to capture it, and the framing as it passes the navigation beacon are all part of why this photo resonates with me.

Maybe that makes sense to someone besides me; maybe it seems like superfluous and extraneous justification for a flawed photo that would never make it into a sales brochure. But if I can take more in this spirit then I'll be quite happy.