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on Oct 21, 2016 in Aviation

Wings Over Houston Tips for Speed

Wings Over Houston, one of our favorite airshows, is this weekend and some questions about what tips I might have to offer. Below are some thoughts one bringing life to your images, motion to your stills. Realizing most learn best from watching rather than reading, I have three classes on KelbyOne that will help you: Kelby Class on Aviation Photography, Pilot Portraits and The Art of Air to Air and especially Finishing. And if you want a sense of what’s happening at Wings Over Houston, be sure to watch Warbirds and the Men Who Flew Them which was filmed at Wings Over Houston! These techniques apply to ALL moving subjects not just planes! Start with understanding that shooting unrestricted is essential! My airshow set up this year consists of...

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on Oct 18, 2016 in Aviation

Get Me A Subject!

If you want to drive me nuts, give me great light and nothing to shoot! There is simply nothing worse then to waste great light so when it started to unfold Saturday at the Nut Tree Air Fair, I instantly started to pace. What makes it great light you ask? The range of light is less than three stops and that’s part of it. More importantly is the way the light is being bounced and modified by the clouds. There is a reason you see so much of my photography including clouds, it’s the light! Luckily for me, right then they decided they needed to move a plane to get to another plane out of the hangar. And the plane they had to move is this gorgeous, simply spectacular 1929 Waco DSO … I was so upset that’s all I had to throw in the great light :-) Being a California boy, the gorgeous hills in the background with the oaks in the light was the perfect background. Working...

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on Oct 14, 2016 in Aviation

Speaking of the Project

We … Brent, Jake, Sharon & I are part of a very special project. I’ve talked about the project during this past year, the first of its three years and I’ve been asked many times what’s it all about. Some of it simply can’t be discussed right now. This video Brent created from our last event says in photographs pretty well what it’s all about. Being a visual storyteller, being able to tell a story in this way is important which is why I bring this to your attention. To learn more, please visit the Texas Flying Legends Museum website....

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on Oct 12, 2016 in Aviation

A Moment at Lake Hood

On Monday after taking care of work, Sharon and I had a couple of moments to spend at Lake Hood to watch the comings and goings. For those who have not been to Anchorage or ventured over to Lake Hood, it is the busiest sea airbase in North America with over 82k landings each year. And being a lake, the planes that are landing are on floats. It’s just a lot of fun to watch them take off and land because they are right next to you! There were gorgeous skies the entire week we were there but the moment we had for watching the planes, the skies started to close in and it got dark. This doesn’t mean you can’t shoot. Down below you can see what the scene really looked like. It’s not very inviting. Now I have manipulated it a little, the bottom photo doesn’t have its proper white balance so it’s really gray, but you can see how the light was not really nice. To...

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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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