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on Jul 10, 2013 in Aviation

Photography Just Happens


As the sun slipped below the horizon, the Waco & Cub were tucked back in their hangar and the mosquitoes took over the skies. I feel in love with the North Dakota landscape! While it seems flat, there is a lot of topography to it and its placement on the continent, lots of weather forms around it. I was to soon learn that as the sun slowly slips down (sunrises and sunsets are real slow that far up), start looking for the photograph because you’re in for a show. Warren has probably the only Meyer MAC-145 that’s flying so I checked it out (they have a Oscar stuffed animal in the back window, I’ll let you figure that one out). This funky lookin aircraft is actually pretty darn cool. While its shape isn’t your classic looking aircraft, it had a ton of potential for a great subject for the sunset. So I waited.


Armed with just the D4 / 18-35AFS (an amazing lens!) and a giant fly swatter, I watched the color form across the west. Based on the balance of color and light, I choose the angle for the photo. Being true to the Meyer wasn’t the goal, I was working it more as a sculpture out on the prairie than an aircraft. I liked the challange, taking industrial art to create more art.


You might be wondering if these are HDR as that seem the norm anymore when you see such images. Nope, these are one image clicks finished using just ACR 8.0. The key to making this work is three fold, shooting with the D4 with its six stop range, knowing how to expose to make the most of the Shadow / Highlight Slider in ACR. The color is from Mother Nature, I have twenty witnesses to its beauty that night, all I needed to do was concern myself with shadow and highlight detail. It’s pretty easy stuff when you ask yourself “What’s the subject” and then “What’s the Story?” and shoot accordingly.


I shot for about a half an hour, having a great time (except for the biting bugs as I was wearing shorts) working this crazy lookin plane. As the sun faded away, totally different opportunities appeared I needed to react to. Is there one image that I liked more than the rest? Sure, I like the ass shot, I just have a thing for ass shots. I really like this funky aircraft and being a “one of a kind” in a way, love having the opportunity to photograph it in a unique way. When you have an unique subject and special light, photography just happens.