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on Feb 9, 2018 in Aviation

Time for Airshow Review

Airshows have begun and the question are pouring in what tips I might have. I regret we won’t be there this year but want to pass along a couple of speed tips. So I thought I’d cap the most common ways I like to put the action in my stills. Now of course, buying a copy of Takeoff would be a great start! Realizing most learn best from watching rather than reading, you can head to my Kelby Class on Aviation Photography for more in depth explanations. But just because you see planes here, these techniques apply to ALL moving subjects! Start with understanding that shooting unrestricted is essential! The less you carry, the more mobile you are, the more mobile and limber you are, the sharper the photos and better composed they are (here is a complete listing of the gear that’s with me, most in the vehicle just in case). With that in mind, here are some tips that you can apply to any action photography and...

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on Feb 7, 2018 in Aviation

There is More Than One Angle

I am often asked if there is just one angle to shoot statics? The answer is a resounding, no! There are a number of variables with the biggest ones being the aircraft, the background, and lens you want to you. I personally start with the background, then the lens and finally the aircraft. It’s with the first two that I select where I’m going to shoot and the angle I’ll have for the last one. Now you can go about this many ways and might have only one option no matter what you’d like. But this is how I do it. There are three lenses I turn to, the 14-24AFS, 24-70VR and the 70-200f4. The difference in each of these lenses is how they render the symmetry of the aircraft and how they control the background. If I have lots of background to play with, all three lenses are in play. If there is minimal background, the 24-70VR and the 70-200f4. If there is no real background, the 70-200f4...

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on Dec 22, 2017 in Aviation

Will They Ever Leave?

It must be winter with its long nights as finishing questions are floating in. The most common question this week has to do with backgrounds, in particular, aviation photos with people in them. The email usually goes something like, “How do you have static photographs with nobody in the background?” The first part of my answer is, I wait just a few minutes because folks never stay in one place for long. You don’t have to say a thing, no dirty looks or throw anything, just wait. Folks attention span just isn’t very long so just wait. Now there are times when something might be happening so you don’t have a minute, in that case, we have this amazing tool, Photoshop! Case in point, while in the UK this past August during our workshop, we had the amazing opportunity offered us to photograph the entire HAC squadron outside. They don’t get pulled out often so the public was all over them. In this case though the clock was not...

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on Nov 21, 2017 in Aviation

Giving the Ghosts a Good Shakin

The excitement in the cockpit overflowed as the first taxi run of our C-47 came to an end yesterday. It’s been a long time since the mighty engines moved this old lady down a runway but she did it on the first attempt easily taking a big stride towards her flight to Normandy in 2019 for the 75th anniversary. I’ve always been project oriented, working with a subject/story for years and this project is no different. Brent & I have made a number of trips this year to the project and we’re by no means done with a dozen already scheduled for 2018. Each and every trip we learn something new, try something new while improving on what we did last time. The D850 is a big part of the project now, depending on its small size but giant video quality. I’ve also gone back to a favorite old lens from the locker. Working in physically tight spaces is a challenge. I need a very wide, very sharp and...

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on Nov 16, 2017 in Aviation

The Last Of His Class

I first meet Stanley Whalley a few years back at my good friend’s hangar in AZ. Stan was one of the hundreds of English pilot that came to the US for training during WWII. Stan was at Falcon Field to finish his flight training in their Stearman and T6 trainers. From there he went back to England to fly in defense of England and the retaking of Europe. He is now 93 and the last surviving veteran from England to have trained at Falcon Field. He comes to Falcon each year around Veteran’s Day to participate in the ceremonies honoring all that came to Falcon Field to train by were lost in accidents while in training. I’ve stayed in touch with Stan since meeting him. Tried to meet up with him when we were in England this past summer to get his story recorded. Weren’t able to make that happen. Talking to him this past weekend, found out he had time on Tuesday for being in front of the...

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on Oct 24, 2017 in Aviation

“What Emotion do I Want to Invoke?”

Ask yourself when you share your photographs this simple question. “What emotion do I want to invoke?” I often see subjects where the photographer selects the best photographs being the ones with the bright sun over ones with great mood. The main difference between these two photos of the Stinson is the light. One is very moody and the other, it’s bloody blah! Yes, one has brighter color but the other has a killer mood. One says it was a nice day to fly. The other says it was a helluva great flight! How do you want your photograph to reach out to viewers because you have complete control over that impact! Probably the hardest thing to learn and apply is the power of light to reach the heartstring. This is especially true with objects that don’t naturally seem cuddly. One way you might think of it that might help is, does the light bring a mystery to the subject? Generally, the shape of the subject informs the viewer...

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