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on May 23, 2019 in Aviation

YOU Make it Happen!

Advance the clock a few years, a few client air-to-air photo missions in the can and there I was in California’s Central Valley photographing “Betsy” just after she got out of restoration. It was a pretty sweet honor to be invited to the private event and be accepted by basically all strangers who only knew me because of my images. I was sharing these photos with a friend after the fact who asked, “How’d you make that happen?” And that’s the key, I made it happen by simply pursuing a passion as professionally and with all the talent I could muster. This all manifested itself in the final photographs that the pilot received as big arse 24×30 prints. He is one happy client! But it didn’t happen overnight, I made it happen … you can make it happen and that’s the point! Years ago I did an air-to-air photo mission and those prints and the story of that shoot reached Scott. He then hired me to photograph his aircraft...

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on May 2, 2019 in Aviation

Planes of Fame this Weekend

I regret we won’t be there this year but want to pass along a couple of speed tips. So I thought I’d cap the most common ways I like to put the action in my stills. Now of course, buying a copy of Takeoff would be a great start! Realizing most learn best from watching rather than reading, you can head to my Kelby Class on Aviation Photography for more in-depth explanations. But just because you see planes here, these techniques apply to ALL moving subjects! Start with understanding that shooting unrestricted is essential! The less you carry, the more mobile you are, the more mobile and limber you are, the sharper the photos and better composed they are (here is a complete listing of the gear that’s with me, most in the vehicle just in case). With that in mind, here are some tips that you can apply to any action photography and airshows. Put yourself in relationship to the action in a position where it performs around...

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on Apr 15, 2019 in Aviation

Statics, May Take Twice … or More

It’s such an awesome plane, I wish I had seen it fly (probably did but I don’t remember it). When it was first delivered to Dakota Territory Air Museum, I was fortunate to “play” on the Dart while it was in the hangar getting restored. Then I was there right after it got parked and its head on profile grabbed my attention. It still does. This is definitely a static aircraft and as such, the background is essential to make “the” photograph come to life. Is it possible to improve a static portrait the second day? These two different photos were taken actually two months apart. Though I saw the Dart numerous times in between, it wasn’t until I saw the second possibility did I see I could improve on the first. That’s really the secret to this whole thing, make the best possible photograph you can at the time you shoot but realize you can always improve. Shooting long and compacting was important to the shot so improvement...

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on Apr 2, 2019 in Aviation

It’s All in the Dew Point

Telling visual stories, weather (wx) is a huge factor that when understood can make the telling simpler and cleaner. If you hadn’t noticed, I use it a lot. I was very, very fortunate to have a father who was trained by the USAF about wx that he passed along to me. But a common question I get is, “How do you get that fog, you have a fog machine?” The ground fog you see in my photographs all comes from Mother Nature and whenever it’s possible, I’ll be out at the crack of dawn to incorporate it in my story. “Hit or Miss” resides outside Tampa, FL but her true home and heart are in England, Spanhoe to be exact. How can I bring her home when it’s 4000 miles away? Wx or fog is one quick and easy way! How do you know if it’s possible though? Ground fog occurs usually (no guarantee as it can be regional) when the dew point and air temp are the same....

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on Mar 13, 2019 in Aviation

Dustin Off the ‘Ol Light

“I’d like a photo of the Speedmail in front of the old terminal at night.” A simple enough request from my client (who is simply the nicest guy) which we had talked about before and which I had scoped out a few years ago. Easy peezy I thought, what could go wrong? I’ve light painted for decades but I’ve done very little if none in the last five or so years so I thought I should brush up. I headed to KelbyOne and watched my buddy Dave Black’s lighting Painting classes to get my mind thinking about light painting. Then I contacted Dave (such a great guy) and told him what I was thinking and what light recommendation did he have. “The Larson Electronics 5″ should do the job nicely” (he was right, it did). With my homework and notes and light in hand, off I went to work. What could go wrong? We had checked out the terminal the previous night and that’s when I found that they...

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on Mar 6, 2019 in Aviation

Plane Portrait – Sept Fate

It was one of those deals where the wife of the pilot of the plane talked with my wife wanting a Moose Peterson plane portrait of his plane for a BDay present. At the same time, I was to “come up with the idea” of taking their portrait as well. Sounds simple enough, not like I hadn’t done all of that before. But here’s the rub, this plane is so small and so low that a simple portrait wasn’t going to be simple. You could put the plane in the back of a pickup truck and so low I couldn’t get my fist under the plane. And to top that off, it’s highly reflective surface was, highly reflective! And if that wasn’t enough, it has a very unique gull-wing design. How I love challenges! My biggest challenge and it’s all mental, is I have to LIE on the tarmac to make all the shots. That means when I go down, it has to be the right place because otherwise,...

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