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on Aug 29, 2019 in Aviation

What a Storyteller – Bob Hambley Wildcat Pilot

“My last interview I did with a videographer was 5 1/2 hours.” When Bob, 98, told me that on the phone, I knew Sharon and I were in for a helluva an afternoon. Most of the Vet Chronicles we film don’t last more than half an hour. Bob was going strong after two hours! A Hellcat and Wildcat pilot during WWII, Bob saw it all and escaped death, well I lost count how many times. A midair collision during Advanced Training, ditching in the water, landing during a tropical storm, going off the end of a carrier on the launch, flipping over upon landing on a carrier, Wildcat missing the barrier and crashing on his plane on the carrier deck, those are just SOME of his stories. He’s such a good storyteller, even though he was sitting in front of us, we kept wondering if he was going to survive each adventure! It’s going to be a one challenging interview to edit, but then, they all are! Just want...

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on Aug 27, 2019 in Aviation

The Art of the Formation

Pilots love to fly in formation! This in large part is because it takes a bit of skill to not only do it safely but with visual elegance. Pilots practice their formation flight over and over again. Aviation photographers love to get up in the air with aircraft. You would think that with all that desire that hooking up would be a natural. And actually, it’s very possible. The trick, if you can call it that, is to get in with one of the many RV clubs across the country. These folks are very passionate flyers and love doing formation as you can see here. RV’s are great little “kit planes” whose owners love to fly. Many are retired military pilots so they have a ton of skills they like to keep sharp. In this flight, you have retired military, retired flight director for the Space Shuttle and climb rate holder. Pretty darn impressive skill base making the flying a ton of fun. Using a Skyvan as our photo...

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on Jul 29, 2019 in Aviation

The Formation

I was standing on the hot pad when a TV reporter came up with his camera and asked me if I knew anything about the planes I was securing? With a big smile, I said, “some.” He then asked if I would mind going on camera to talk about the airshow to get folks to come and see it. I said I’d be happy to. He fed me one question and I was off to the races talking. I came to the headliners of the Dakota Territory Air Museum 4th of July show, the Canadian Snowbirds and said they fly an amazing show, an “aerial ballet” that often leaves me chocked up. He clicked the camera off, grabbed it and started to run off. He turned to say that was great, aerial ballet, and he was rushing back to the studio to put the interview on the air immediately. Bringing that aerial ballet to a single click, it’s all about the formation and how you place the symmetry in...

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on Jul 10, 2019 in Aviation

Comin or Goin?

There are many ideas on where you should place in the frame a moving subject. I’ve read them all during the years in the hopes of their helping me with my own photography. And what I have come up with after years is purdy darn simple, do I want to say are they coming or are they going? Since I want to in large part tell a story with my photography, giving a reason to the movement is a large part of my style. For example, a moving subject dead center to me says the subject is, “just moving.” But when you place them near the edge of the frame pointing into the frame, they are comin. If they are near the frame edge and pointing out, they are goin. The movement is, of course, implied so we are looking for other elements such as gesture to finish the storyline. In this case, you have the smoke of the aircraft as well as being able to see the pilot...

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on Jul 3, 2019 in Aviation

ND is Where Flying is Fun!

It was a challenging night of photography up in ND last night. Not because of the thunderstorm that just kept spraying, it was because I was flying more than shooting. I did have enough time to get the PA-11 right out of the pattern the moment the sun squeaked through the clouds for a little drama. Shooting with the Z6 / 180-400VR, I saw what was going to unfold and clicked the built-in 1/4 so I could shoot at 560mm. And as soon as I made the click, I was in the Cub and up joining the fun in the skies. It was one of those times the camera got left down on...

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on Jun 18, 2019 in Aviation

Stop & Go is a Challenge

A common question reaching my inbox asks how do you get parked aircraft and flying aircraft both in the frame, sharp? This is a real challenge especially if you are using a slow shutter speed to capture prop blur. There are a couple of variables that are in our control and a couple that is not. Because you have some aircraft not moving and one or more that is, the timing of having them both in the frame is crucial but you can’t pan. Getting physically in the right spot is in your control. Because of this, I like to get close physically and then use a shorter lens. In this case, I went with the Z6 / Z24-70f2.8 and zooming back as the Cub approached and the Z6 ripping the frames. I knew where the plane would be flying but often that is out of your control. I wanted the kids in the frame to move your eye to the approaching aircraft and went for the shot when...

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