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on Oct 4, 2016 in Aviation

Film Plane

It’s so simple, so in the background and it’s so important, our plane of focus though is overlooked and misunderstood. And that’s only natural because when we think of our sensor, it’s always worrying about dust and not math. But when it comes to getting subjects in focus, either movement or depth of field and much more, you gotta think about the film plane (it effects flash exposure too!). With it being fall, many photographers are out photographing flocks of birds and I’ve been receiving emails asking why are some of the birds in focus and not others. Most suspect their camera’s AF is not working when in reality, it’s just a function of our plane of focus. I’ve used these photos to try to illustrate why some birds (feathers or metal skins) might be sharp and others out of focus. In this case, the film plane (sensor in the D5) is traveling the same speed forward as the two aircraft (top photo). In the top photo, when the...

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on Sep 26, 2016 in Aviation

Settings Can Make the Shooting Easy

In the struggles to make a photograph we want to call our own, we often jump through all sorts of hoops which, in the long run come up short. There are lots of times if we just had the right settings from the start, the rest would be easy. This leads us to two conclusions: when setting up a shot, look for that setting from the start and, when you find that setting, exploit it to its fullest. Case in point … We found ourselves inside a WWII hangar last week, a really classic hangar! Its sheer size meant it was constructed with huge roof windows and giant doors. Both of those make for great light. The size and the light dictated the gear, for size and keeping the lines true, the 24-70 and the light, D5. The trick as it were, was to be there when the light was working its magic. In this case, we waited for hours for the afternoon light to paint across the hangar...

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on Sep 23, 2016 in Aviation

Obligation to Client – Storytelling

Jake and I have the great fortune to be apart of the Atlanta Warbird weekend that starts tomorrow at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport just outside Atlanta. We are here with the two Texas Flying Legends Museum P-40s to honor the AVG’s 75th. Our job is relatively simple, tell the story in stills and video of how the aircraft and their pilots spent their weekend as part of this celebration. The first day, Thursday, was all about the media and the media ride. The concept is simple, the media tells the story of the event and therefore gets the public to come out and see the planes. It’s a great thing! The media was out in force because we were incredibly fortunate to honor AVG Frank Losonsky. He was in China with the AVG, Flying Tigers. He is living history with great stories! The event started off with Frank being flown in the TFLM P-40e across the skies of Atlanta. He really enjoyed that. Then came the interviews. As I said, our...

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on Sep 16, 2016 in Aviation

Steve-o Hinton Portrait

I meet Steve-o the first time back in 2008 at Reno. The winner of the Unlimited Class many times over, in 2013 & 2014 in Voodoo … a highly modified P-51D, he is a great, incredibly talented, humble guy. Steve-o has been everything from a subject to a photo platform pilot for me over the years so when I was asked in a text to take his portrait, I was excited and honored. Then I was instantly really nervous! Why? The shoot was going to be in the incredibly active and visually busy Voodoo pit. It was going to be a real quick shoot and, I knew I’d have all sorts of eyes on me. Dealing with the really busy pit meant setting up and working outside the pit so we wouldn’t be in the way. Dealing with the visually busy pit (we had to hand move a blue outhouse!) meant shooting with a real narrow DoF. That’s why I had the 105f1.4 AFS, it fit the bill on...

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on Sep 13, 2016 in Aviation, Simple Click

1/40 + Light = Action

My subject for the day was our dear friend Bernie. The most common way folks see Bernie is wrenching on a plane and this week, he’s at the Reno Air Races as chief mechanic on the Unlimited Class Voodoo doing what he does so well. He’s really good at what he does though and I wanted to say that visually. So during a run up test on Voodoo was a great opportunity to say just that. I sure wouldn’t want to stand there and to say that in a photograph meant be close (70-200f4 AFS) and a lots of clicks at a slow shutter speed (D5) to get the one with the right body gesture. Simple formula once you think through what you want to...

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on Sep 5, 2016 in Aviation

Bringing Speed to the Still

Last weekend, B&H & Lexar hosted a marvelous event at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. It was a marvelous time with some great folks and aircraft. It was a very target rich, photographic satisfying location with marvelous subjects and backgrounds lending themselves to storytelling. I posted a couple of images and they got lots of notice and comments. The “feel” of being a daredevil going fast in old flying machines comes through the photos and many have asked how I made that happen. Well, here it is. First is the light. The three aircraft are in sun where the backgrounds not so much. Next, the aircraft are a good distance from the background, that is important. This sets up the rest of the technique. Shooting with a long lens (80-400 at 300mm) and with a camera that can rip off the frames (D5 at 12fps), you next want to rip off the frames at a slow shutter speed (1/50). This combination means that when the subject travels in front of...

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