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on Aug 9, 2010 in Aviation

What if with Gray Skies you Shoot Sideways?

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OK, now we’re thinking photography, looking at the problem at hand and trying to work out a solution so we can make lemonade. It would be killer if I could be McNally on the runway and in the back of a truck keeping pace with the planes so I could flash-fill them with 20 SB-900s. Besides McNally having better things to do with his time then this, the FAA kinda frowns on flash-fill from moving vehicles on an active runway. So what else can we do?

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We know that shooting up against a gray sky sucks, but what about sideways, what does that do for us?

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If, if you have the sun to your back and if, if there is just a hint, the faintest hint of that direction of light on the subject, then we have a slight prayer of not totally being screwed. Because when we have these things working for us, then we have the slightest of highlights on our subject. At the same time, the shadow is now minimized in the frame, it’s the smallest footprint we can get which is totally different when shooting straight up against the gray sky.

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Then, if you can take a couple of quick clicks prior to the action to find the slightest density change in the gray sky, that will give you the slightest of visual depth and in this case, anything is better than nothing. And when you have gray skies, in my book you’ve got nothing so go for the long pass or bunt are your only options.

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Then of course there is always this option. That’s fill the frame with as much of the subject you can to eliminate as much gray as possible. The A-1 Skyraider is such a cool plane, I wish I didn’t have to resort to this option to make something from nothing. But that’s what we often have to do in photography.

Photos captured by D3x, 200-400VR2 on Lexar UDMA digital film