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on Jan 18, 2019 in Aviation

“Hit or Miss”

In 1943, #43-48950 left the factory and was flown over the northern route to England. There she served for the next two years. She finished up her amazing WWII career as the lead plane for Operation Varsity, taking the British 6th Paratroopers over the Rhine. She came back to the states and for the next thirty years sprayed mosquitoes in Florida. Then she was parked, forgotten. That’s until two years ago! “Hit or Miss” is returning to England this June to be a part of the 75th Anniversary D-Day tribute. She will be amongst some forty odd C-47s / DC-3s flying over the Normandy beaches on 6 June, a site not seen since March 1945 and Operation Varsity. She will make at least two drops of skydivers over France as part of the tribute. You can follow the journey of “Hit or Miss” from the beginning two years ago, current progress and her flight to Greenland, Iceland, the UK and beyond on Twitter and Facebook and be a part...

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on Jan 16, 2019 in Aviation

The Elusive Air-to-Air

Gaining the elusive air-to-air photo mission seems to be the quest of every aviation photographer. The question is, how do you make it happen? My flight with the amazing, gorgeous and one of a kind, Boeing 40 took me three years! Others I’ve done were never planned and happen spur of the moment. In either case, first and foremost understand many, many photographers have lost their lives or been severely injured in air-to-air photo missions. Safety is way more important than photography and that has to be the number one agenda. This means you need to know the pilot, not just fly with someone who says they will take you up. I understand the temptation but I’m here to tell you, I’ve have not flown with every pilot that has offered me a ride. How do you know if a pilot and/or plane is safe when they are really all new to you? Getting to know a pilot comes from YOUR photography! You want to learn all you can...

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on Jan 2, 2019 in Aviation

New Year’s Resolution – Panning!

There are lots of great New Year’s resolutions but one I don’t hear making the list is, improving one’s panning skills. I hear about buying gear or learning a software, but improving the most important aspect of photography, ourselves seems to get little love. Panning can only get better with practice, lots of practice! Unlike most other things in photography, if you need great panning tomorrow and you don’t have it today, you are screwed! So how about a New Year’s resolution of vastly improving your panning skills, starting today?! Here’s how. It starts by making proper hand-holding second nature so you start by practicing this technique, every day! I literally have a camera in my hand every day set to Manual, 1/20 (I practice with the D5 / 180-400VR at 400mm) focusing on and shooting items in the office getting a sharp photo. It just takes five minutes but it makes a difference. Then as often as I can during the week, I practice my panning photographing our...

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on Dec 18, 2018 in Aviation

The Seasonal Challenge

For years and years, I’ve been after just one photo, a yellow plane parked in snow on a moonlit night. In my mind, I have it all set, all the tools in place, the perfect background. And that’s where the photo remains despite many attempts to make it all happen. It’s one of those ideas that I have at the top of my Idea File waiting for the right moment. What’re the issues making it happen? The #1 issue is the snow itself. These two photos of “The Beast” and the Waco GXE you can see there is snow, kinda, and that’s the problem. There’s not enough snow to make the photo. Next, the one time we had snow we had overcast skies for three nights so, no moonlight. Why do I want that moonlight? Well with the moonlight and the snow, there’s plenty of light to make the shot. But with overcast, no moon and so, no light. The other obstacle is finding the right plane/plane owner who...

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on Nov 20, 2018 in Aviation

Underexposure To Hide the Unwanted

“Doing the Dance” is a huge part of my photography! “The Dance” is removing those elements that take the eye away from the subject while including those elements that tell the story. There are many ways of doing this from lens selection, f/stop, where the camera is located and one of my favorites, exposure. To me, exposure = emotion and when I can incorporate this with hiding elements in the frame, I’m a happy photographer! Here’s an old classic example of what I’m talking about. This C-17 Globemaster was parked down the ramp at the Reno Air Races. I fell in love with how the light wrapped around that huge fuselage. I hated all the “stuff” around it so I simply underexposed by -2 stops. Then in post, I brought up the highlights which were the underexposed to what you see here. I pulled down a Split-Grad in ACR, kissed it with Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast and I was done. The key in all of this is knowing...

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on Nov 14, 2018 in Aviation

Where & When to Crop

“The Hawk” is simply this amazing aircraft going into service back in 1959. It was to replace the Cessna L-19 as an observation aircraft. This two-seat, twin turboprop badass aircraft could operate from small, unimproved fields under all weather conditions. Grumman pulled out all the stops making it faster, with greater firepower, heavier armor and the then state of the art Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR). It’s best known for its service in Vietnam where some called it “The Frog” because of its large “eyes” observation windows. It’s all of that history and more I wanted to convey in this simple portrait of an OV-1B Mohawk. That brings up the question, where do you crop? I was shooting with the Z7 / Z24-70, the zoom being key to the answer for me and my photography. In the top photo, you can see the entire aircraft, wing tip to wing tip. I shoot from a low angle to emphasize the importance of the subject in the frame. But by including wing...

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