Saying Real Large with Real Short
The DC-3 #43-48950 of our Normandy Bound project is a BIG bird! Its wingspan is 96 feet in length! That’s a lot of plane to visually talk about. The process of restoring it back to its WWII glory as a C47 starts with removing its previous life as a mosquito sprayer. While it sounds simple, it’s anything but as tanks, hoses, feed lines, wiring, Dell clamps, that are squirreled away with great care from inside wings and fuselage are carefully removed. It’s a helluva process that the dedicated folks at Turin Aviation are taking on with the greatest professionalism. At the same time, the Turin crew sets about stripping out other old wiring and replacing the windows. For them, it’s just another day at the office wrenching on aircraft. And for us at Peterson and Sons Productions, it’s the kind of target rich arena we live for! That brings us down to the simple challenge of telling this story visually to you.
Our D850s during this three-day on-site work were dedicated as usual to video work. One day, 1 shot the 24hr 4k Time Lapse (which turned out so cool!) otherwise they are both in use shooting video. That leaves me with my D5 which primarily is shooting stills and on occasion, video. I have 3 lenses I use continually in documenting the work, the 8-15, 24f1.4 & 105f1.4 (basically glued at f/1.4). Why these lenses? The 24 & 105 is because of the need to isolate the subject and minimize all the background clutter that is a restoration project. Now the 8-15Fish might take you by surprise because the first thing when you think of that lens is, “fisheye” distortion and look. Ah, but if you want to say “really, really, truly big,” then this is the lens to use. So the trick then is knowing the technique to show big but not the fisheye!
I simply love the 8-15 as its a killer lens! At 15mm, it’s image quality is gorgeous but more important to my photography is that is doesn’t grow noses. Linear lines like the wing and fuselage might have that curved look but not people. Now that is in large part because of where I place the people in the frame. If you look, they are typically close to the horizontal middle of the frame. That’s really key to keeping them looking true to themselves. That’s the only real “limitation” of using the lens when photographing people. Then it comes down to the basics of light and telling the visual story. I have to admit that it’s so simple that at times I have to force myself to change lenses so not every photo is taken with the 8-15. The only real challenge is those times I need to use flash. We’re there to document the story, not get in the way of it. With the limited space and all hands working, there is no VAL or lightstand available. For me, it’s still a work in progress to combine flash with the 8-15 to get the photo I want. And that’s one other great thing about the 8-15, one hand photography.
Brent, Jake & I besides there to record the story love getting hands on with our subject. The Peak Anchors work great so I can have the D5 on a strap with the 8-15 attached. With this body/lens combo I can have one hand holding up a bracket, pulling on a cable and the other hand be shooting. This happens more often then not because we all can use a helping hand at times. And in the process of it all, I can visually tell the story saying real large with real short.