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on Oct 28, 2020 in Aviation

Too Cold to Fly … ?

4e Stearman Speedmailcaptured by D5 / 70-200f4 “Do you do any air-to-air in the winter?” Ted emailed me this great question. The quick answer is yes, but as you might imagine, there is more to the answer than just, yes. On this particular evening shoot (the sun was below the horizon for our altitude when this photo was taken), it was -1 as I hung out of the 185 and that doesn’t include the wind chill. While that sounds really cold, keep in mind one of the weird things about me, I tend not to get cold. The pilots, that can be a totally different story. Addison in the Speedmail, while he has the “heater” on in the cockpit, he is exposed out in the slipstream. He has on the classic airmail suit of past with modern materials so he was “warm” for the flight but we were only airborne for a little over 30 minutes. The pilot of the photo platform, Ryan, had the cabin heater going at...

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on Sep 30, 2020 in Aviation

The Fall Aviation Challenge

Cessna 206captured by D3x / 200-400 The best way I know of saying in a photograph that it’s fall, that magical time of year, are colorful trees. When it comes to saying it’s fall flying season then is, fall color in the background. It sounds so simple. Well let me tell you, it’s not! There are many photographs in aviation I have at the top of my list to get, this is #1! This photograph was taken back in the day in Maine when we were after Moose photos, not aircraft. We just happened to come around a bend in the road and saw this 206 taxing with great color. I made a couple of clicks and that was it. Ever since I’ve chased more but …. FG-1D Corsaircaptured by D4s / 80-400VR With this in mind, I headed to Maine a decade back to what I thought would be a slam dunk. Though the back story is lengthy, bottom line I was with great friends and aircraft in...

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on Sep 3, 2020 in Aviation

Keep Up the Panning Skills!

B-17Gcaptured by D4s / 200-400 Panning in its most basic form, is moving the film plane in sync with a moving subject. This synchronization nullifies the movement of the subject as far as the camera is concerned so we have effectively, frozen a moving subject. This is a very old technique and for it to be effective, as far as rendering a sharp, frozen moving subject, it must be practiced on a continual basis. I’m talking about a minimum of once a week in order to make it a took in your arsenal that will serve you whenever you need it. This is basic, human, muscle memory training which is what panning boils down to in its most simplest terms. These days of being “stuck” inside, you can’t let this skill you’ve built up slip away. Waco UPF-7captured by D5 / 180-400VR But just capturing a sharp image cannot be an in point to our photograph. Panning is a technical tool that is reduced to this and what the...

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on Jul 24, 2020 in Aviation

Just Around the Corner

Been cooped up for a while, looking for something you’ve not photographed inside your house? Yeah, cabin fever can really put a damper on the old creative juices. But you can’t let that happen, you gotta keep moving photographically forward. Perhaps while social distancing (driving around in your car by yourself) find that subject you’ve seen a million times and though it could be a photograph, it never has been, yet. The one thing it was missing was, light. Now might be the time to visit that subject with a longer lens at times of the day you’ve not seen it before. Like this photo, I headed out during a thunderstorm to see if the clouds would break in my favor to spotlight the hangar. Tucked away in the corner of nowhere, MT, this grass strip hangar has long caught my imagination but never my camera. Finally, the light worked in my favor and I made a click. While I think I could do better, I’m happy to finally...

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on Jul 1, 2020 in Aviation

Where’s the Canola?

Most air-to-air photo missions are all about the plane, less the pilot, and always about the moment. But this was my first where it was all about the flower! I have a well-earned reputation for not being a posey shooter. So when I received the request for a very specific photo mission over yellow flowers, I did a double-take! I love a challenge and working outside my comfort zone (the flowers, not the planes) I embrace but as always, what was in my mind wasn’t what transpired. The Palouse in WA is green and gorgeous with many hills blanketed in yellow from the blooming Canola plants. From the road they appear vast, they even do flying overhead on a commercial flight. Yeah, not so much at 1500AGL doing 120knt indicated. We headed out with five aircraft to capture that brilliant yellow for a background which in the brief sounded pretty simple. Armed with the D6 / 70-200f4, I stared through the viewfinder wondering what I was going to do....

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on Jun 2, 2020 in Aviation

Light the Cylinder

Many are getting ready to take to the skies again with their camera and an aircraft in their viewfinder. Light is a big part of making a successful air-to-air photo mission. How can you get ready for that flight now while still down on the ground? Breaking it down to its most basic parts, you have a cylinder moving around a light source. In that travel, there is a time when that cylinder looks good and times when it looks bad. This goes for both the path of the light and the quantity of the light. You can mimic this on the ground and teach yourself to see the light that you can pass along to your pilots. Head to your local hardware store and purchase a foot long piece of aluminum pipe. Get a piece of flat aluminum and attach it to the pipe. You now have a plane muck up you can teach yourself to see the light with. Like a little kid, “fly” that cylinder around...

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