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on Nov 17, 2015 in Aviation

The Amazing Stan

Veteran’s Day is a time when we honor those who have served our country and all too often, paid the utmost price for the freedoms we treasure. Every Veteran’s Day for years though, a small group of elderly yet spry British gentlemen journey across the pond to come back to a place they trained as young teenagers to pay tribute to those who did not return. In that training, some of those young men died and at a time of war, they were buried where they trained, Phoenix, AZ. This group of British veterans, most in their nineties now, fly over the cemetery on Veterans Day where their comrades lay to pay tribute to their sacrifice. They are not forgotten. We’ve been moved by this remembrance and tribute for years but noticed the numbers of gentleman coming here from England getting smaller each year. This year, only Stan was able to make the journey. In 1944, Stan Whalley was 18yrs old when he left England and came to the...

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on Nov 10, 2015 in Aviation

It Takes a Village

We photographers at times think we work in a vacuum when actually, no matter the genre, we never do. It’s just at times we recognize it and others, ignore it. I’ve come to realize after these decades that when we always recognize it, photography comes easier and rewards more frequent. That village that supports us starts at home, the spouse who puts up with our silliness, our passion and at the right moment, supports it. There are those folks at the camera store and manufactures who, though we don’t always recognize their help, actually do add to the success. Then there are the more obvious. The biologists and scientist I’ve worked with for four decades I have always cited as the essential element and reason for my success in my wildlife photography. These side by side colleagues who guide me to this day instilled in my more than just basic biology, but lessons that effect our entire business. And now they’ve been joined by the plane owners and pilots...

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on Nov 3, 2015 in Aviation

There is a Higher Calling

There is a greater purpose behind photography, if you look for it and accept it. You can’t but help fall in love with Bob Coleman. This is a simple video about a WWII vet who won no medals, hero of no battles who simply did his job. He did form like so many, a life long friendship for the pilot he served and the plane he serviced. There is a higher calling if you let it...

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on Oct 27, 2015 in Aviation

Peak of Action

Peak of Action is an old technique to capture a sharp image of a moving subject. I’ve written about it many times but this is the first time I actually mentally thought of it as a way to capture an image in an air to air photo mission. The best way I know of explaining Peak of Action is a basketball. When you are dribbling a basketball, it travels up and down. Peak of Action happens twice during this travel. It happens when at the top and bottom of its travel as it stops for just a heartbeat before changing its course of travel. That moment for example when it hangs in the air before falling, that is the Peak of Action. Photographing the ball that moment, it will be sharp because it is not moving anymore. This is the technique I applied to this photo. There are two directions of movement in this photo. Direction A is the direction the subject aircraft (Zero) and the photo platform (A36)...

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on Oct 20, 2015 in Aviation

Sunset Portrait Passion

It was simply an amazing flight! The best part was it wasn’t planned, not even hinted at. It just unfolded. What you’re looking at is a piece of living history, a Spitfire mkIX built in 1944 that flew over Normandy D Day +9. But is actually is much more than that because the reason I’m able to be photographing it in the United States is a story of passion. It starts with the person who restored it then continues with the person who wanted to own it but missed it when it was available seven years ago but didn’t make the same mistake last week. It goes further with the pilot flying the plane who, since he was a teenager and painted one on his bedroom wall wanted to fly one and me who only for the moment, continues the circle. I received a couple of days notice that the Spit (a gorgeous plane!) would be at Wings Over Houston. Acquired by the Texas Flying Legends Museum, its chief...

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on Oct 16, 2015 in Aviation

Tips for Saying 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 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 the D4s, 200-400VR2 (could be substituted with 80-400AFS which I’ll have for my air to air work), 24-70AFS and 14-24AFS and that’s all (and of course AN-SBR2 Black Rapid Quick-Draw Strap). I love it being so light as that permits me to easily...

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