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on Apr 14, 2016 in Aviation

Backgrounds Help Tell Stories

Oh ya, backgrounds really do matter and more often then not, are a big part of the visual storytelling. The way I think of it in my head is, the subject is the star and the rest of the photograph is the stage in which it performs on. Sure, you can go to a one star performance who stands on a bare stage and be totally entertained. But when you think about theater, that is the exception and not the rule. So setting that stage means we carefully look at that background so it supports our star, the subject, and doesn’t distract from it. It supports the story being told rather than starting a second conversation. This is a very simple example of what I’m talking about. Shot just moments apart, the P-40K “Aleutian Tiger” from Texas Flying Legends danced in about out of the clouds. Well, that’s what it looks like in the photograph. When I told the pilot I loved the photos of him in the clouds,...

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on Apr 13, 2016 in Aviation

Betty’s Dream – A B25 Tribute

Flying the Texas Flying Legend (BTW … new site now up) fleet to the LA Airshow a few weeks back, the thought crossed my mind about doing a tribute to the folks who flew the B-25. Being a stills guy, thinking in terms of video is a bit of a brain stretch. After the fact, I KNOW so much more about how I’d do it so much better. But like everything in photography and storytelling, you gotta fail to grow. The sentiment though I started with hasn’t changed so here’s my first attempt as saying to all those men and women … thanks for the freedoms we enjoy! Production notes: shot with stills: D4s / 70-200f4 AFS video: Nikon1...

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on Mar 30, 2016 in Aviation

My Perch

In the realm of air to air photography, obviously the final photo that tells the story is the ultimate goal. In that pursuit, there are so many challenges to overcome and one of the big ones is the photo platform. The photo platform is your perch in the sky from where you watch the action, direction the action and finally, photograph the action. There are soooo many possible and great photo platforms and like anything in photography, finding the one that works best for your style of photography is important. Whether but a lucky coincidence or necessity is the mother of invention, a month ago I was inserted into the back of a TBM-3E Avenger to test as a photo platform. I’ve not used anything else since. Here’s a small idea of what’s happening. You can see me in that doorway, the white shirt with the black safety harness strapping my butt in. The white shirt and red gloves are so the subject aircraft pilots can easily see...

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on Mar 23, 2016 in Aviation

A Week of Unbelievable

Brent & I were afforded an amazing opportunity to fly with the Texas Flying Legends Museum from their base at Ellington Field, TX to the Los Angeles County Airshow, Lancaster, CA. They were flying their six ship fleet across country over some amazing American landscapes and landing at some great airports all providing some target rich photographic opportunities. Adding to this unique opportunity was our ability to work out of different aircraft as photo platforms. That’s how for example I got this shot of TFLM’s B-25J “Betty’s Dream,” P-51D “Dakota Kid II,” Spitfire MkIXc, FM-2P Wildcat and P-40E “Aleutian Tiger.” My perch for this photography was the belly of the TBM-3E piloted by the amazing Sam. You don’t see the TBM-3E in these photos because of that so I owe Sam a special shoot as he did an incredible job getting me in the right place safe and sound. Shots like this of the P-40E were really quite easy. Bernie drove the P-40E into place and in my perch...

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on Mar 11, 2016 in Aviation

The Arse Shot

When I think about it, a big smile emerges on my face. But I’ve become pretty well known for my arse shots. While it sounds bad when you first read it, it’s really nice when you see the reactions to them. The majority of photographers and correctly so, photograph aircraft from the front or side. This is not only a very logical place but one that nearly all viewers of aviation come to feel they should view an aircraft. When you begin to look at aircraft though as a work of mechanical engineering art rather than a lift platform, you start to explore its many other angels, at least that’s what I did. The key to a great arse shot is really the angle you take it from, the background you have and the lens employed. The arse shot is usually one where you need to have some pretty solid Photoshop skills. The Stinson OY-1 at the top of the page, it had a pretty clean background because of...

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on Feb 26, 2016 in Aviation

TFLM – New Project – New Connect

We’ve been honored in many ways, many times during our career. Our new, three year project though is about as grand as they come and we’re quite honored. In a nutshell, we’re charged with getting the mission of the Texas Flying Legends Museum out to the world! We’ve started with creating simple things from their mission statement: Honoring Our Past – Inspiring Our Future to the complex like the ground work for all the photography for the three year project. One of the simpler and funner aspects is helping with their Facebook Page. Why might this be of interest to you? Many of you are into aviation photography and the TFLM FB page is where I’ll post a whole lot about just that. But not just gorgeous photos but also the BTS that goes into making the photos. And not just that, but the BTS of what is required to keep a squadron of WWII warbirds in the air, from planes to pilots. The best part, the FB page...

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