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on Jun 2, 2020 in Aviation

Light the Cylinder

Many are getting ready to take to the skies again with their camera and an aircraft in their viewfinder. Light is a big part of making a successful air-to-air photo mission. How can you get ready for that flight now while still down on the ground? Breaking it down to its most basic parts, you have a cylinder moving around a light source. In that travel, there is a time when that cylinder looks good and times when it looks bad. This goes for both the path of the light and the quantity of the light. You can mimic this on the ground and teach yourself to see the light that you can pass along to your pilots. Head to your local hardware store and purchase a foot long piece of aluminum pipe. Get a piece of flat aluminum and attach it to the pipe. You now have a plane muck up you can teach yourself to see the light with. Like a little kid, “fly” that cylinder around...

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on May 5, 2020 in Aviation

So Close, Don’t Stop Now!

The weekend is almost here, the weekend when many can get back out and shoot! Whether you have been working 9-5 or Stay at Home, in either case, your basic skills might need sharpening, now’s the time to sharpen! You know what I’m talking about, I’ve mentioned it a few thousand times before. Hand-holding and panning, practice the rest of the week so you’re ready to go this weekend. Watch Basic Handholding and Panning videos I’ve posted to remind yourself. Then go out and do some practice by really pushing yourself! This is perfect for those of you with kids at home, all you need are two kids and a tennis ball. Now, set your camera to the settings you prefer (I use Shutter Priority 1/60, AutoAreaAF), put your kids about 30-40 feet apart and have them toss the tennis ball between them. Now, you FOCUS and get SHARP images of that ball going back and forth. Simple! Do this for 15-20 minutes every day and you’ll be ready...

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on Apr 24, 2020 in Aviation

Check The Angles!

When it comes to aircraft, I learned from the get-go that angles are everything! I think about it so much, I have 1:16 models in the office that I stare at all the time as the light changes. I have them at eyelevel so I think how I would see the aircraft lying on the tarmac. It’s made a difference in how I shoot. I grabbed these P-47 images to illustrate my point. Shot with the D5 / 24-70f2.8, I simply moved around at The Jug looking how the morning light was changing its imposing stance. Do I have a favorite among the three here, you bet. You might too and that’s the point. It’s real easy when out on the line to see one shot and with all the stimulation, go with that first “wow” view. I’m going to encourage you to walk around because you just might find a better shot. Simply put, check the...

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on Apr 18, 2020 in Aviation

Doolittle Raid 78th Anniversary

Seventy-eight years ago today, 80 airmen in 16 B-25Bs launched from the USS Hornet to attack mainland Japan. Pearl Harbor was fresh in everyone’s memory and even though the damage from the raid was thought to be a token at best, the boost to the US moral was immeasurable. In Dayton, OH in 2017, eleven B-25 flew over the USAF Museum to pay their respect and tribute to the Doolittle Raiders and thank them for their sacrifice for our freedoms on the 75th anniversary of this event. Lt Col Dick Cole, 102 years old then, was the last of the eighty Raiders and was present for the ceremonies (he passed 8 April 2019). We owe all our vets a tribute and I’m glad we are saying thanks to this very special...

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on Mar 23, 2020 in Aviation

No More Excuses!

OK, I’ve heard all the excuses on the planet why photographers don’t practice their handholding and panning, but with current events, they all have now evaporated! While all the near future airshows have been postponed, there is no reason not to be prime and in your best shape for when they resume shortly. You know what I’m talking about, I’ve mentioned it a few thousand times before. I almost thought about doing one of those “stuck at home silly videos” to drive my point home but decided better of it. Instead, you can watch Basic Handholding and Panning videos I already have posted. You might be saying, “That’s all well and good, but what do we practice on?” Yeah, I saw that coming but you won’t like my answer! This is perfect for those of you with kids at home, all you need are two kids and a tennis ball. Now, set your camera to the settings you prefer (I use Shutter Priority 1/60, AutoAreaAF), put your kids about...

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on Mar 12, 2020 in Aviation

Working Them Long Wings

Long-winged aircraft can be a visual challenge to photograph. That’s because to take in wing tip to wing tip, you have a helluva lot of space just doing nothing for you. That empty space can really take away from the photograph, and the visual size of the aircraft. The one tool I fall back on when confronted with a long wing aircraft like this B-17 is background control. The two ways I control the background on such a big subject is exposure and angle. Shooting just before sunrise so the round fuselage reflects the light on the horizon brings shape to “Sentimental Journey” and makes it pop against the dark background. Then by shooting off-angle from the nose a tad, I’m able to “tighten” up the frame and those long wings. I realize this is incredibly simple and now read, seems incredibly obvious but you’d be surprised. When standing in front of a piece of history like this B-17G, the awe effect can live you,...

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