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on Jun 6, 2017 in Aviation

Does Shallow Work for Big?

So, can you use a shallow depth of field with a big subject? That’s a really good question because it comes down to defining, “What’s the subject” which for many is hard to say. Yet this is the essential question we must ask every time we go click! Once we can define in our own mind what the subject is, we can define it in the viewfinder and from there determine what is the best f/stop, depth of field we want. And at that moment decide if we can go shallow with big. Here are two examples from this past weekend at Neighbors Day at Felts Field, Spokane where I thought going shallow with big was the only right answer. I wanted the Laird to POP from that background so I shot at f1.4 (shooting with the 105f1.4). The DC-3, with all that type, shooting wide open was easy because the mind can still read all of the type but it first focuses on the American Flag where I...

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on May 23, 2017 in Aviation

How’d You Get There?

My portrait of Ricky has brought a few questions so wanted to explain the process of getting the final photo. When it comes to flash, I’m not real speedy, I have to think about it before I act. It starts with thinking through the story I want it to help tell. This means I have to look at the subject, the background and how I want to move the eye around the frame. In this case Ricky is the subject in our story, the pilot about to launch in his Stinson L-5 on a mission on what appears to be a stormy day. So the key elements when it comes to light are Ricky, Plane & Sky. Above is the final shot, here’s how I got there. Often I start by taking a shot of the main elements as they lay to see what strengths and weaknesses the “set” has before I start going crazy. Being use to being a one man band when it comes to lighting, I...

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on Apr 25, 2017 in Aviation

All Clouds Are Not Created Equally

To me, nothing can visually express the magic of flight quite like clouds! We can’t help ourselves but look up and take note of clouds and as they float past us in the heavens, we can’t but think of the vastness of our skies. In bringing life, flight and romance to our aviation photography, nothing does it better nor simpler than clouds in the frame. With that said, being selective when you have the opportunity to include clouds helps refine your story and that romance. Last week we had a three and a half hour ferry flight with B-25s Texas Flying Legends “Betty’s Dream” and Mid America’s “God & Country.” During that time we experienced everything from bald skies, ground scuz and building cumulous clouds. Each presented varying photographic opportunities from none to buffer filling! Might sound hard to believe but we were selective in our shooting, Brent coming back with 500GB of video and I with 9k stills. That’s because not all clouds are created equally. Here are...

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on Apr 18, 2017 in Aviation

Doolittle Raiders 75th Reunion

Seventy-five 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 today at 14:30, eleven B-25 will flyover the USAF Museum to pay their respect and tribute to the Doolittle Raiders and thank them for their sacrifice for our freedoms. Lt Col Dick Cole, 101 years old, is the last of the eighty Raiders and is will be present for the ceremonies. We feel very honored to know Dick and being able to call him friend. He’s not just a piece of living history and a hero, but he’s incredibly funny! We feel incredibly fortunate to be part of the crew of the B-25 “Betty’s Dream” and here to be part of this amazing celebration. We owe all our vets a tribute and I’m glad we are saying...

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on Mar 24, 2017 in Aviation

It Takes Just a Nudge

It seems like such a small thing, and it is, but a simple nudge of a subject in the frame can make all the difference. Personally, I’m going to make that nudge in the viewfinder because I use ever pixel in telling my visual storytelling. When you have a static subject like a rock or stamp, it’s much easier and safer to move the subject around in the viewfinder to find the place you like it the best. But when the subject is moving like the SBD Dauntless here, you gotta know where you want the subject and commit quickly. You can see in these two frame to frame images how much the background changes in a matter of seconds. How do you make the choice of subject placement in a split second? There is no silver bullet for this one for a couple of reasons. The biggest is YOU as it is your photograph, your story. Next you have to consider the end use. Placement in the frame...

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on Mar 9, 2017 in Aviation

Batting 1000!

Hard to believe we could improve on yesterday’s sunrise at Shooting the West (what a great event!), but I think we did. We ventured out to the Winnemucca Airport to Chet’s hangar where we were treated like kings (killer pancakes, thanks!)! Chet pulled out his rare NA-64 Yale which was our subject as the sun appeared. The gorgeous snowcapped Blue Mountains in the background provided the best possible sweep for this great aircraft! The hospitality just made the morning soooooo perfect and the light, even better. All that was really required to make the photo was to set the WB in the D500 to Cloudy, rack the 24-70VR to 35mm and sit back and click. The flip out monitor on the D500 makes it so simple cause you don’t need to get down with a knee pad to frame and shoot. With Live View, you can move as quickly as the light and that’s important in changing light! Then when you might have thought it couldn’t get any better,...

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