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on Feb 3, 2014 in Aviation

Where Do You Get Started?

F8F Bearcat

Airshow season is gearing up and with the growing interest in aviation photography, the question keeps coming in, “where do you get started?” Just asking that question is a great place to start and you want to keep asking questions. A great place to start is just getting to know your subject, the aircraft. Knowing your subject is not only important in writing, it’s important in photography. A plane is not a plane is not a plane. One of the very cool aspects of aviation photography is how many love a specific type of aircraft yet all come together with their passion for aviation. For illustrating my points, I’m going to use the gorgeous F8F Bearcat from the SoCal CAF

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F8F Bearcat

Airshows offer a huge variety of aircraft from modern jets to the early Wright Brothers. The Bearcat is in the group known as warbirds. It’s a great plane just parked on the ramp, tall and mighty. Now you might not have any clue in the beginning what kind of plane you might like, so simply search on the airshow you want to attend and look at the aircraft coming to that show and start there. Then once you find a particular aircraft that simply looks cool to you, start looking on the web for photos of that aircraft. That’s how it all begins. You don’t stop there but that’s a great place to begin. With that knowledge, you then head to that airshow ready for bear. Get it, Bearcat, bear …. couldn’t pass it up!

F8F Bearcat

It doesn’t take much gear to start with, a DLSR and lens like a 70-200, 70-300 or 80-400 and that’s it. With gear in hand, head to the airshow and find that aircraft that excites your photography (for all around airshow photography, check out my KelbyTraining class). Once you find that aircraft, you start looking for the light. Never loose sight it’s all about the light. Then look for design elements of the light playing off that aircraft. You look for that light while it’s parked (statics), in the air (ground to air) and everywhere else. And when that aircraft you liked isn’t available, you start to look at others using the same tactics. This is of course, just a starting point but it gives you a solid base to keep building. Because as I warn everyone at the start, don’t blame me if you get hooked.