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on Jun 20, 2011 in Aviation

Waiting for the Shot

A good friend and fellow aviation photographer Jay Beckman has a sweet image of the “jaws” on a P-40 that I’ve always liked. It’s a shot that takes the right angle and light to pull off. On Wed last week, Jake & I were on the ramp with the newest P-40 to come to Reno flew in. Tony Banta’s “Kittihawk” is a gorgeous plane so Jay’s image came to mind as we stood there on the ramp. Even with a Media Vest, while those props are turning you have to stay back. So you have to wait. We saw the P-40 coming in, land, taxi and pull over to the ramp. During this time other things are going on, some are potential photo opps and some are photo opp spoilers (like other planes coming in, tow vehicles parking and moving planes) so even though I have a photo in mind, it doesn’t mean it will come to be. The waiting game begins.

OK, no props are turning, vehicles have moved and we can get up to Jaws. After everything else, there is the light. It’s not really killer but that’s just the way it is. I take the horizontal and, well, I really don’t like it. Why don’t I like it? I look at it in the viewfinder wondering what is it that is lacking. It took me a little while and then it hit me, it’s the prop. It looks like a mustache. Now I like a mustache but in this instance, one on Jaws isn’t working for me. It seems to take away from the fierceness of the Jaws. The fierceness comes from the eye, I need to make it more dominant. The fix? Get in tighter and go vertical. Now is it perfect? It’s not as nice as Jay’s but it’s the best I have so far. If the pilot or crew was still around, I would have asked them to move the prop and that would have helped as well. My personal triumph, and while it sounds little it’s important to me, is I actually remembered the photo possibility from looking at other images and then went after the idea when I had the opportunity. It’s such a game, waiting for the shot.

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