N3N-3 on floats captured by Z 9 / Z70-200f2.8

The A2A mission last week was such a blast! The N3N-3 photo above (the sweet images under embargo) was taken with my being stuffed in the back seat of the PA-12 below. Mike is a great pilot and formation member doing an outstanding job getting me where I wanted to be to make the shot. It was the first time ever that I was able to shoot a water landing while, making a water landing and coming back with sharp images. Mike is that good! That’s one set of very skillful pilots! Those pilots make the whole shoot happen, I’m just the guy with the camera along for the ride. Back to that setting …

Shooting out of the PA-12 is a challenge I have conquered a number of times. It requires first, bending way over and twisting to the right in the most uncomfortable final position. This is because the seat sits back in the cabin and you have to get past the door frame, wing strut and able to shoot back behind you and the photo platform. We normally shoot to our left, that’s how we handhold our camera is for left handed shooting. The PA-12 requires right handed, completely opposite of normal shooting. Doing these gymnastics (which I start practicing at least a week prior to the shoot so my body will make the twist) messes with your hand position. It really hampers handholding, zooming and pressing the AF-ON button and Shutter Release while just seeing through the viewfinder. Stuff yourself into a ice chest and give it a try, it’s not easy! The one setting that can make it easier is to return the focusing operation to the Shutter Release from the back button. This sounds like a simple, too simple a fix to make any difference but it’s important enough to me that it’s on the laminated settings check list I have attached to my A2A camera strap. Once back on the ground, I reassign the focus back the back button. But in A2A, changing that setting can make all the difference!

PA-12 Amphib captured by Z 9 / Z24-120

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