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on Jun 20, 2011 in Aviation

Take Your Time, Make It Yours

I’m halfway through “Captured” and the amount of effort and study you put into your subjects is impressive and inspirational. It’s a great motivational read, especially when a day comes along that I feel lazy. Time to get off my butt and shoot!” So far in my 30yrs, I’ve not found another method to move me down the road other then the way Jim pointed out from reading my book. The end of last week is a perfect example. I just celebrated the beginning of my 5th year working in aviation photography. I have so far to go after coming such a long ways already. There is no doubt I had some good friends help me along the way who opened doors but I had to walk through them. All of my peers that I’ve talked to have the same stories with the same basic thread, someone opened the door but they walked through them. Didn’t burst through them or crawl through them, but walked through them. That translates to taking the time to do the homework, hone the skills and making the most of the opportunities provided you. This of course means, making things happen for yourself, not waiting for them to happen. As my good friend Joe likes to sum up as, “Going outside you comfort zone.” This weeks blogs (which everyone will forget by Tuesday) is about my going outside my comfort zone to find success and moving that forward. Yeah, it will be a bunch of plane pictures but the photo subject matter really matters not. In fact, not sure why so many look at the photo in a blog and make a judgment call without reading the blog is beyond me. I am always taken aback when folks ask me how I got so good in aviation so fast when I’m a wildlife photographer. When I tell them, “I’m just a photographer,” all that comes back to me in a puzzled look (30yrs chasing light does count for something not matter what that light was falling on).

I thought I’d start off with something that might grab your attention (or not). One of those opportunities I made for myself was with this gorgeous plane, Rod Lewis’ F7F Tigercat “Here Kitty Kitty.” I talked with Rod and arranged for the plane to be parked as you see it so I could photograph it at sunrise. It’s then upon me to make something of that opportunity. I could have shot it ground lever (and did) or at eyelevel (and did) but I wanted to shoot it at level that is not only cool, but typically not possible. So I grabbed the ladder out of the truck (surely you have one) and shot from it. I put up my “teepee” tripod (really tall Gitzo 5560SGT) and went to work. With such an opportunity, you might just make one click and call it a day, that is totally valid. I wanted to cover myself so after making my primary shot (the top photo), I decided to try some HDR (bottom photo). Personally, I’m really glad I didn’t just go with HDR because I really don’t like it, not at all. The top photo though, it was a good start. There are a lot more from the morning of “Here Kitty Kitty” but an image or finishing technique is not the point of this blog. Just six months ago, I couldn’t have done this. I couldn’t have arranged for the plane, I wouldn’t even have had the ladder in the truck. Photography, no matter the subject matter takes time to master and even more time to make your own. The key is, if you don’t start today, you won’t have it tomorrow because it takes time to make it your own.

Photo captured by D3x, 70-200VR2 on Lexar UDMA digital film