P-40 captured by D4 / 200-400VR2
There are a number of elements that go into the successful photograph at an airshow. There is no doubt that gear is part of it, but the gear won’t get you the photograph if you don’t get the gear where it can be the most effective (check out my class on photographing an airshow)! This photograph is a classic example of what I’m talking about. This photograph was takin at Osh many years ago. It’s part of the CAF amazing Tora Tora Tora display. I have watched, set the pyro and photographed the show many times so knew the movement pretty darn well. You can learn it too by simply watching it on YouTube. I knew when the Wall of Fire would go up and the P-40 would be flying through it. Based on the wind and knowing the pattern the P-40 would be flying, I walked to the north end of the ramp to shoot. Wind is everything in this shot as it’s what moves the flames and smoke around. Shooting long at 400mm, I didn’t need much of the wall to fill the frame.

When the first explosion went off, the P-40 was the furthest physically from me and that’s when I hit the shutter release. The camera did all the heavy lifting as the P-40 approached, I just panned keeping the P-40 dead center. I continued the pan until the P-40 had only blue sky behind it. I had not noticed that a good friend and pilot I work with was sitting behind me during my shooting. He said, “I could hear your camera like it was a machine gun during that pass. You get the shot?” With Alan looking over my shoulder, we went through them. The best part was not seeing that I had indeed captured the moment, it was what Alan learned about me and photography from it. The next A2A we did together was the best as Alan now understood how important the background is to my photography. It really can make a big impact, right place, right time!

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