I have thousands of images of Rod Lewis’ F7F Tigercat, but these are the first with the new paint. You can see it as “Big Bossman” on both of my sites and even air to air, today was the first time I got glass on its new color. I wasn’t too sure at first but then once it hit the sky, schweet!
But it was the going away shot after running the course that I liked the best shooting with the big glass. The thunderheads made for a great background and in this case, a monochromatic one. Great first day!
I just love this going away shot. The ridgeline, clouds and plane attitude come together to say one thing, bye-bye!
I LOVE shooting on the ridge! Long before you see them, you here the Unlimiteds racing up behind them. Then they burst over and just 100 feet above your head go screaming by. It’s when you experience this that this large plane seems like grace in the clouds. Can you say…PAN! You surely get your workout keeping up with them but oh man, what fun! Notice how with clouds, the plane seems to moving faster then the image without clouds. Tuck that one in the back of your head, it’s important.
Photos captured by D3x, 200-400VR2 on Lexar UDMA digital fiml
The Tigercat was designed to be carrier based but size and other issues kept it from seeing that duty. But the folding wings is still present which you can see opening up here on the way to take off taxi. This is one big ass plane and it’s always hard for me to imagine that it is not only a fighter but was purposed to be on a carrier. A piece of trivia, it was originally called Tomcat but that was change because it was felt to be too racey. I just think it’s cool to watch the wings and wanted to share that with you.
Photos captured by D3x, 200-400VR2 on Lexar UDMA digital fiml
And then the sun came up, I went down and the Tigercat just shinned!
The morning I had with Rod Lewis’ F7F Tigercat “Here Kitty Kitty” was really killer. I say morning but in reality, we had only about 50min with her when we had light to work. We (Scottie & I) arrived long before sun up to get things like the ladder and Gtizo set up, trash cans moved, ropes lowered so when the light start to happen, we’d be ready to go. As you can see, we had bald skies which means the light would change fast and not for the better. I had talked to Rod the evening before and he was very kind to have Here Kitty Kitty parked how you see it and with the wings left down. I asked for the plane to be parked as you see because of past experience shooting in the morning. See the light on the nose of the plane, those nice highlights on both side? That’s a common thing at Stead for a short time each morning. It’s great light and I wanted to take advantage of it.
Photographing a dark blue subject against a black background can be a crazy scenario. I have that combo because I went up on the ladder. Many have asked why did I do that? The main reason is because it’s a vantage point you normally don’t get. Having the plane to ourselves and parked as I wanted, going up made sense. Normally it’s parked wherever it’s parked and you’re shooting from eyelevel. Once I went up, I had that color combo to deal with. With that, the yellow tips on the props became pretty important. The hint of color really catches the eye. That’s why I kept moving the tripod up on the nose to make that final vertical which I really like. After all of that, there is the light itself and the desired results. I blogged on Monday two images from this seen and commented on how I went. Well, the question I have for you now is, are these single clicks or HDR images? I’m actually not going to say, you’ll have to look, think and feel the answer out. I’m just glad it’s one of those morning when I was able to grab the tiger’s tail and hold on!
Photos captured D3x, 70-200VR2 on Lexar UDMA digital film
“I’m halfway through “Captured” and the amount of effort and study you put into your subjects is impressive and inspirational. It’s a great motivational read, especially when a day comes along that I feel lazy. Time to get off my butt and shoot!” So far in my 30yrs, I’ve not found another method to move me down the road other then the way Jim pointed out from reading my book. The end of last week is a perfect example. I just celebrated the beginning of my 5th year working in aviation photography. I have so far to go after coming such a long ways already. There is no doubt I had some good friends help me along the way who opened doors but I had to walk through them. All of my peers that I’ve talked to have the same stories with the same basic thread, someone opened the door but they walked through them. Didn’t burst through them or crawl through them, but walked through them. That translates to taking the time to do the homework, hone the skills and making the most of the opportunities provided you. This of course means, making things happen for yourself, not waiting for them to happen. As my good friend Joe likes to sum up as, “Going outside you comfort zone.” This weeks blogs (which everyone will forget by Tuesday) is about my going outside my comfort zone to find success and moving that forward. Yeah, it will be a bunch of plane pictures but the photo subject matter really matters not. In fact, not sure why so many look at the photo in a blog and make a judgment call without reading the blog is beyond me. I am always taken aback when folks ask me how I got so good in aviation so fast when I’m a wildlife photographer. When I tell them, “I’m just a photographer,” all that comes back to me in a puzzled look (30yrs chasing light does count for something not matter what that light was falling on).
I thought I’d start off with something that might grab your attention (or not). One of those opportunities I made for myself was with this gorgeous plane, Rod Lewis’ F7F Tigercat “Here Kitty Kitty.” I talked with Rod and arranged for the plane to be parked as you see it so I could photograph it at sunrise. It’s then upon me to make something of that opportunity. I could have shot it ground lever (and did) or at eyelevel (and did) but I wanted to shoot it at level that is not only cool, but typically not possible. So I grabbed the ladder out of the truck (surely you have one) and shot from it. I put up my “teepee” tripod (really tall Gitzo 5560SGT) and went to work. With such an opportunity, you might just make one click and call it a day, that is totally valid. I wanted to cover myself so after making my primary shot (the top photo), I decided to try some HDR (bottom photo). Personally, I’m really glad I didn’t just go with HDR because I really don’t like it, not at all. The top photo though, it was a good start. There are a lot more from the morning of “Here Kitty Kitty” but an image or finishing technique is not the point of this blog. Just six months ago, I couldn’t have done this. I couldn’t have arranged for the plane, I wouldn’t even have had the ladder in the truck. Photography, no matter the subject matter takes time to master and even more time to make your own. The key is, if you don’t start today, you won’t have it tomorrow because it takes time to make it your own.
Photo captured by D3x, 70-200VR2 on Lexar UDMA digital film