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on Aug 8, 2017 in Aviation

Where Do You Cut In?

Just like with big game, where to crop into an aircraft is a very common question. Just like big game, there is no guide where to crop on an aircraft. My usual response to the question, “Where to crop on big game” is so it doesn’t feel awkward or look like a dead animal nailed to a wall. That response doesn’t work for aircraft though. So what is the answer? I don’t know if there is a correct answer, this is just what I think about in my mind when cropping into an aircraft. I look for the symmetry of the lines first of all. Unlike big game, an aircraft basically is the same shape, length, and design on the left side and it is on the right (yes there are some exceptions). This symmetry permits you to cut into one-half as long as you keep a symmetry in the remaining lines. Whether you show both sides like in the top frame or a section like in the bottom...

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on Jul 19, 2017 in Aviation

Need for Speed – Osh Ideas

Oshkosh is less than a week away 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. 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 airshows. Put yourself in relationship to the action in...

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on Jul 7, 2017 in Aviation

The “Arse” Shot

A common question I get is how I create my “arse” shots? While they’ve been shot forever, I seemed to have hit on a combination of elements that combined in the viewfinder grabs folks imagination. The key ingredient is the light. Next is the background and finally is the foreground. Or in other words, I treat the arse shot just like I do a landscape photograph. It’s in my mind the same elements crammed into the same viewfinder but with a slightly different story. The one huge difference between the landscape and the arse photograph is the arse shot has got to have perfect symmetry and that’s really the only trick to success. The symmetry is really easy once you know the “secret.” I have the grid turned on in my D5, D500 & D750 and that’s really all it takes. The center line of the grid is where you place the vertical stabilizer (tail), the center of the fuselage and tail wheel (if present). Then the wing tips...

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on Jun 27, 2017 in Aviation

UK Aviation – Amateur Photog

I’m absolutely thrilled and honored to have a 6 page spread in the current Amateur Photographer! And what great timing with our upcoming UK Duxord Aviation World War II Photographic Experience event comin up. Highlights some of what you’ll photograph, learn and experience! Thanks, Amateur...

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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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