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on Jun 27, 2012 in Aviation

BDay Evening Flight, pt2

After we lead the V-35B back to the field, we went lookin for the PT-17 Stearman that had already launched. You might think finding an all yellow plane in the sky easy to find, well it’s not! So after learning where they were by calling out landmarks on the ground, we caught up to them. Then we had to join up. The Cessna 172 we were in goes a little faster than the Stearman so we had to approach and over take with care or we’d waste time and gas rejoining. This top shot I really like for one main reason, it’s not one you get very often. If you look at Scottie in the front seat, he is really craning his neck to see us. The pilot just can’t do that very long and keeping a visual of the aircraft is kinda safety rule #1. So as we approached, D800 with MB-D12 attached along with the 70-200VR2 cranking. At 5fps, it did a good job capturing the moment.

So the flight out as you can see, the Stearman (a WWII trainer) was backlit. Many have issues with this lighting pattern and understandably, you can loose detail in the shadows. I though kinda embrace it. First, the plane I’m in is all white and it reflects some light into the Stearman. Next, the Stearman being yellow helps alot. Lastly, I use the Shadow slider in ACR to open up the shadows some. This combination was used to make the top two images.

Then there was the flight back to field when the Stearman was frontlit. The shadows I looked for and embraced are those on the ground. Air to air photography I treat in my mind as really two types of photographs at once, wildlife and landscape. The flying aspect of the aircraft is the wildlife and the background, good ol earth is the landscape part. I’m looking for gesture in the wildlife and the drama in the landscape. I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone else by me, but that’s what’s going through my mind as I shoot. These two disciplines in photography are very familiar to me so thinking about them while shooting I think permits me to bring out more character, romance in my air to air images.

This wasn’t the climax of our flyin bday party, we had bonfires and s’mores, beer (once the flying was done) and great friendship and conversation. I gotta thank the great, great pilots I had the opportunity to work with. My pilot in the 172, Steve, in the V-35B, Arron & John and in the Stearman, Kevin and Scottie. We had flown earlier that day down to Ponca City for lunch with our dear friend Kevin and ended up the day flying low and fast over the KS landscape. Life simply gets no better but then as the bday boy would say, “That’s how we roll.”