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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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on Aug 8, 2018 in Aviation

Decade of Improvement, Thank Goodness!

I was so happy with this photo, the first I’d take of an F-22 Raptor back in 2008. It was sharp and all of it was in the frame. The fact the light sucks, the gesture, well there is none, didn’t even register. At least, not that first day, week or month. But going over my photos as I normally do after the glow of success has warned off a few months later, ya, it sucked. It’s then I analyze what works and what doesn’t work and just being sharp is not a mark of success. There was a ton of room for improvement. While gear has changed in the last decade (shot with D5 / 180-400VR) making focus pretty much a slam dunk, that wasn’t where I need to improve. It was the STORY I wanted to tell that needed the vast overhaul. Learning when to depress the shutter release and when not to, not settling for just sharp. Light and gesture are so important in grabbing the...

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on Jul 27, 2018 in Aviation

A Gooney Day at Osh

It has been an absolutely marvelous Osh! It’s been like a Photoshop World in that Sharon & I have been seeing tons of old friends, making lots of new ones to the point that the aircraft have taken a back seat. In my book Takeoff (which I’m here signing everyday) there is a section about Osh and my meeting Stanley who turned my head to understanding that Osh is really all about people. And this week simply underlines and emphasizes that. The fun has been doing unique shoots with them here and planning some really over the top exciting things this year and next. Sharon an I have been averaging nine miles a day walking and we are so pumped by all that we’re not even tired! But late this evening I finally got back in the groove of making some aircraft art. I didn’t really wonder far, went back to my old friend the Gooney for inspiration. You know of my love for the DC-3 / C-47 with...

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on Jul 25, 2018 in Aviation

What a Marvelous Osh Day!

It was anything but a typical day for us at the EAA Airventure, commonly known as Osh. It’s the first time I’ve even presented at Osh and when I got off the stage, I was told it wouldn’t be the last. Such a marvelous audience! At the end a gentleman came up upset that he had missed it all, time change got him so he was an hour late. The nicest guy, he had so many things, all very kind that he got a little chocked up. That’s why we come to Osh! Then we did the first of five book signings this week. Man, that was still more amazing folks coming up to talk and share. Then if that wasn’t enough, saw some great old friends that we’d lost touch with, that was special. And then, yes there is more, our dear friends Flydaddy and family arrived who we spent most of the rest of the day with. Enjoying Osh through the eyes of twelve year olds what...

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