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on Aug 21, 2014 in Aviation

You Don’t Always Catch the Worm


We arrived on the field at 05:30 and Warren had already pulled out the Waco QFC-2 and taxied it over in front of the hangar. The hangar is from the 1929 Ford National Reliability Air Tour and has penciled on the inside walls the pilots calculations for the next leg of their flight. Well the hangar was a natural background for the 1931 Waco, its age and color a natural. And the best part, it all faces the east so perfect for a sunrise shoot. So yesterday morning, there we were. Now what you don’t see is all the work the guys did to make it all possible. This is a working hangar to this day, the ag spray business based out of it so their trucks, trailers and lots of boxes were moved (thanks again guys, you’re the best!). And with everything in place, D810, 18-35AFS and Profoto B1 (shooting TTL!) inside the hangar to light up the spare wings in the rafters, we waited for the sun.


And there we sat, and sat, and sat and sat. As you can see, the magical skies we’d been flying in for the last three days turned totally bald. At least, behind the hangar! On the eastern horizon was a thin layer of clouds that lit up, shortly with the sunrise but otherwise, they stuck with the sun like a bad toupee. Seriously, I had flat light for 90 minutes! What you see here are the before and after images from the morning. The bottom photo is the best the sun was producing, such a let down. The top photo is when I brought out the second Profoto B1 to light the plane.

The photo goal: have the Waco lit by the sun creating a shadow on the face of the hangar outlining the great shape of the byplane while bringing out the great paint job under the wings. At the same time, a lit in the hangar to show the old spare wing to bring a time period feel to the photo. With NO sun, I had no shadow and no light under the wing (major bummed). So the second B1 was brought in, set up low and pointed as best I could to lit under the wing and cast a little bit of a shadow (gaffers tape on bottom of flash head to keep light off tarmac). So while we all like the photo and in part because we’re so attached to the Waco and hangar, it’s not really what I had in mind when I thought up the shoot. Used all the tools I had but it’s hard to replace the sun when it’s the main light source. Just goes to show, getting up early (like I like to do), you don’t always catch the worm.