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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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on Oct 31, 2018 in Aviation

It’s All Fun & Games Until …

It’s nose art time for “Hit or Miss” and progress continues towards Normandy Bound! Lots of the work being done on #43-48950 by Turin Aviation as “behind the panels” stuff that is required to make the C-47 fly (kinda important) gets done. And while we’re documenting that part of the restoration, it’s just not hard hitting photography. But with Joel here (a real famous artist) painting the nose art on, well that’s big-time visually exciting. So with the sun coming up, it’s work time! I’ve been shooting with the Z7 now for a while, fun stuff and landscapes but this is its first opportunity to earn its keep. Shooting with the FTZ mount (8-15Fish, 14-24AFS, 105f1.4 & SB-5000), I’ve been using it like I would the D5. That means tons of use and abuse! The file size is at Medium for most images but otherwise, I’ve giving it no breaks. I gotta tell ya, so far it’s doin a great job and with its silent shutter, some of the...

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on Oct 17, 2018 in Aviation

Aviation Scale?

Just how big is that airplane, September Fate? If you’re fortunate to be around and love aircraft, you have a general idea just how big a particular aircraft might be but you still wouldn’t have guessed the size of September Fate. Even if I told you that I couldn’t get my closed fist under that fuselage (and that’s where the pilot sits), that wouldn’t help. And even though you might not know the size of an FG-1D Corsair, at least you can tell September Fate is a small aircraft since it appears to fit underneath it. Scale even in aviation photography helps tell a story! Admiditly you can’t always park an aircraft next to an aircraft for scale (or have them fly that close to each other). You have lots of other options if you need to show scale. The easiest is simply having the pilot stand by the plane. You can actually manipulate this scale by how close or how far from the aircraft you have the pilot...

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on Sep 14, 2018 in Aviation

Reno Advice … Pit Pass!

“What’s the best way to shoot the Reno Air Races?” I’ve seen this email a few times this past week and my advice is simple, get a Pit Pass! The Pit Pass which costs a few dollars more gets you in close to the action, both in the pits and on the flight line. You want to get in close for so many reasons, all are obvious. But here’s the caveat to the Pit Pass, arrive before the sun and stay until it’s gone! Credentialed photographers at the races (they’ll be wearing the vests) often stage morning and evening shoots. While you won’t be able to go past the barrier, with a lens like the 70-200 or 80-400, you can get that same shots as these. I selected these two photos because I had my feet up against the barrier when I took these photos. Rare Bear was at first light, the Mustang at last light. So my Reno Advice is simple, get close and chase the light! Note:...

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on Sep 12, 2018 in Aviation

Practice … It was Needed!

We had a KILLER weekend at the WAAAM fly-in at Hood River, OR this past weekend! Along with catching up with old friends, both people and aircraft, we got in some great shooting. The most essentail shooting was the time on the runway photographing launch and recovery. At Airfield 4S2, you can stand right next to strip and shoot all day. We did just that Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. I started with the D5 and 180-400VR, D5 AF set to Auto Area AutoFocus, Shutter Priority 1/50 and the VR on the 180-400VR turned off. Then, using proper hand-holding and panning technique, shot and shot and shot and shot. It had been a little less than a month since my last outing out with this gear photographing aircraft and even in that time, I felt rusty at first. But by Sunday morning when I photographed the Lockheed 12 taking off, I was shooting at 1/50 and nailing the focus with ease. The most interesting thing was Brent (who shot...

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on Sep 5, 2018 in Aviation

Working the Magic of f1.4

Depth of Field, which I think of as depth of focus, for many is mysterious and confusing. It is one of the most powerful tools we have to smack the viewer right between the eyes with our subject! Now where things get murky is when the concept of sharpness comes into play. That’s in large part because sharpness is a vague term that many, including myself, try to spell out in words when the reality lies with our vision. And when you use things like underexposure to trick the eye to see “sharpness” when it’s not really there, the whole idea is really unclear. So when I say I shoot the 105f1.4 at f1.4 and only at f1.4 and folks see images like these, they find it hard to believe. That’s because so much appears to be sharp. But that’s the magic of f1.4 when used as an effective tool to smack the viewer between the eyes with the subject. How do you make the magic happen especially on...

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