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on Feb 7, 2020 in Aviation

Airshow Season – Start Now

The first airshow of the season is already in the books with many, many more coming. With the posting of my new KelbyOne Airshow class, the questions are pouring in about getting a sharp image. The #1 reason folks are reporting to me their issues with getting sharp images is their autofocus not working. They say their AF is either not locking on or losing focus so I’m being asked what’s the best AF mode. Answering that question for my own aviation photography is real easy, Auto Area AF. Be it birds or planes in the sky, AAAF nails the focus but here’s the rub. Any AF mode will only work if, if your PANNING is spot on! All the focus issues I’m reading about in emails are not camera problems but operator issues. Folks panning skills are just not as sharp as they should be. You can figure this out for yourself by looking at your images, sharp or out of focus. Simply ask yourself, is the aircraft...

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on Jan 9, 2020 in Aviation

When the Background Needs to Goes Away

The background is everything! There are times though when you want it all to go away. But when it all goes away, so might your story. So what’s a photographer to do? In aviation and you’re shooting statics you could be done before you start. That’s when being better at weather predictions might just make your day! Ground fog happens quite often at airports where you have all that grass. After it rains, the dew point (you gotta learn that magical number) tells you the night before if ground fog will develop permitting you to make magical backgrounds where there are none. There is a romantic allure to WWII aircraft sitting on the ramp that ground fog conjures up. The fog is a great way to make any background disappear but not the storytelling. In this case, there is a sky zip line tower (two of them) and a larger hangar being hidden by this bank of fog. Rust-0range structures in the background would have completely dispelled any illusion...

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on Dec 26, 2019 in Aviation

Your History, Someone Else’s Memories

January 26, 2013, I along with my good friend Ed were blessed with a rare moment in history! We were present when this gorgeous Morane-Saulnier MS.230 was going to have its first flight after a seven-year restoration. It was a gorgeous plane and we were very fortunate to have an open grass field to operate and photography it from. The Morane-Saulnier MS.230 was the main primary trainer for the French Armée de l’Air throughout the 1930s so when WWII broke out, most of the French pilots had been trained in this unique aircraft. The MS.230 is a parasol wing monoplane which unlike other trainers of the time, were mostly biplanes. Notice how the fuselage “hangs” from the wing which is where parasol comes from. Its metal tubular framing with fabric covering throughout, except the forward area of the fuselage, which was metal. The instructor and pupil occupied two tandem cockpits. It had a wide fixed landing gear that made it very stable in takeoff and landing but difficult flight...

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on Dec 6, 2019 in Aviation

Dec 7th, “a date which will live in infamy”

They were high school juniors and seniors when they heard on the radio the attack on Pearl Harbor. Without hesitation, they enlisted to serve their country. The “Greatest Generation” came together making the USA a life priority with many making the ultimate sacrifice. We owe all who served and paid the ultimate price for our freedoms, especially that day in Dec 1941. They shall never be forgotten! Years back we wanted to understand that Sunday morning so we traveled to Pearl Harbor to fly the routes of that morning. This is the story of that flight. We’d been planning it for months, paperwork filed with official channels asking for permission, route and mission decided on, all was good to go! The time had come to put the flight in the air. It was a beautiful clear morning 15 March as we meet the team at the gate of the airport. The day before we’d all meet in Rob’s hangar and went over the flight we’d been planning for months....

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on Dec 5, 2019 in Aviation

Air & Space … It’s Been 16 Years!

It’s been sixteen years since Air & Space Magazine has featured a biplane/antique on its cover. I’m honored to have the photo that broke that really long streak! “Betsy” is a very special Waco QCF-2 and its owner, Chris brought this gorgeous piece of history back to the skies being named the Airplane of the Year. I feel very fortunate and honored to have a small part in bringing this story to light. You can learn more about Chris and Betsy here in the January 2020 issue of Air & Space. Congrats Chris … and Betsy...

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on Dec 3, 2019 in Aviation

Wilderness Strip

“You wanna go and see some Mountain Goats?” Most would think they are about to take a drive up a hill, take a walk and then see some Mountain Goats. But it was Addison asking me which means a plane is involved and an adventure is about to unfold. Having intimate knowledge of everything aviation in Washington, Idaho, Montana and points south, when he says he’s filled the 185 with gas, you have no clue just where you might end up. So Sharon, Brent, Jake and I got in the 185 with winter survival gear and took off. Addison being Addison, he had Jake in the front to fly us out to the Lake Pend Oreille, flying all the way to the old WWII sub base at Farragut (that’s a whole story onto itself). There, on the south end is a giant face that slips into the lake where the goats can be found. In fact, we found eleven grazing on the slope. We were on our second orbit...

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