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on Feb 12, 2016 in Aviation

Battling a Weakness

Photographically, I have a lot of weaknesses. Some, I just totally avoid so I know I’ll never get past them. Others, I really want to move past and the only way I know of doing that is pounding away at failure. Photographing the single, static aircraft is pretty simple for me and when there is some natural drama going on in the light or weather, it’s a slam dunk. But that is the rare event, not the common, everyday ramp experience. So then bringing a story to a bald sky is the challenge and often, I turn to multiple items to bring a story to a parked plane. And that’s where the weakness smacks me in the face. Arranging multiple items in a way that looks like someone didn’t just arrangement these items who has no clue is my issue. Be it multiple aircraft or in this case, a plane, WWII Harley & Jeep, it’s instant frustration for me! I started with the Stinson OY-1 Observation plane. Parking it...

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on Feb 11, 2016 in Aviation

Adding the Person

So we’re there on the ramp shooting the Spitfire MkIX rather intently and for a while, ignoring all the other planes on the ramp. This continued on until the puddles under the Spit were no longer, “fun.” That’s when I saw Betty parked there. You actually have to work pretty hard to ignore a B-25J but I managed to until … it was in the viewfinder and I spent some time with her. The Texas Flying Legends have some amazing aircraft and I always feel guilty when I take them or my access with them for granted. So off I went with the D750 / 24-70VR to get her glamor shots. Turned out OK 🙂 Now the cadre were just standing around at this point after pushing the Spit around from puddle to puddle for me. At this same time, I thought I’d best go give some shutter love to the Stinson OY-1 parked on the ramp for me. I shot it and then saw the relationship and light...

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on Feb 10, 2016 in Aviation

The Right Light

Light is everything! And as much as we can, we control it in the storytelling process since it is such a powerful ally. But you’ve gotta ask yourself, “What is the right light” for your subject, your story? This is where many photographers find self doubt because figuring that out and then delivering it is a massive challenge! You start determining the right light but understanding first the subject’s story and then relating that knowledge with the story you want to tell about your subject. There is no doubt my typing this and bringing it to your attention is a whole lot easier then actually doing it. I’m posting two photo here as an example of what I’m talking about in the hopes it might assist you. Both of these photos IMHO is the right light for the subject and the storytelling. Let me explain. We have what appear to be two different aircraft here but in actuality, they were both designed to perform the exact same job, observation...

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on Jan 27, 2016 in Aviation

EAA Sport & KelbyOne

I’m up in North Dakota and just told that the new EAA Sport with my piece on the Starduster Too just came out today. I’m Soooo excited because it’s a great American story about some really amazing folks. The magazine isn’t on the newsstand yet but you can see how the photos were taken because they came from my KelbyOne class on Air to Air photography and Photographing Pilots. I owe a big thanks to Bob for letting me play with his gorgeous plane and Warren for making it look so good in the air! So it’s now full circle. Gives me goosebumps of...

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on Jan 20, 2016 in Aviation

The Casual Pilot

I’ve been flying with Brian since almost day one. He’s a dear friend and a great pilot. And getting him to be in front of the camera while not in a plane one of my greatest accomplishments! Now when you say “portrait,” folks take this to mean many different things, usually some type of formality in either dress, pose or both. That’s just not Brian but even with the knowledge it was casual, taking time for a portrait took over a year of convincing. I think once it sunk in he could wear his Hawaiian shirt, he was OK with it all. And have his jeep in the photo, that just made it that much better. One of the challenges of this shoot was the background. The T-6 (plane) and jeep were placed where they were placed for two reasons. The main being the very busy background. They are visually blocking a whole bunch of junk. At the same time, the strong backlight of sunset help put other busy...

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on Dec 23, 2015 in Aviation

Pilot Portrait Project

It started as a single photo for a single article. It evolved into a book project that I’m truly enjoying working on. We travel the country photographing very special pilots and this past week, we worked with a couple more, Larry Perkins being very special to us. He has flown many a photo mission for my lens, the Epson Finish Strong campaign in the Super Corsair #57 one of the most memorable. Our relationship with Larry goes back to day one of our aviation work and that really helps when setting up the shot. Until you see the finished book will the single portrait make sense. But with Larry, the P-51D Mustang was the perfect backdrop for this gifted and amazing pilot. The majority of these portraits I do by myself so the system I have is based on that. This time, I had Sharon which does help when it comes to making exposure adjustments (she’s a stand in during testing). The set up is rather simplistic so I...

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