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on Jul 1, 2020 in Aviation

Where’s the Canola?

450 Stearman
captured by D6 / 70-200f4

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.

450 Stearman
captured by D6 / 70-200f4

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. Once in the air it was obvious to me that the time over the biggest Canola field would be less than 30 seconds. They aren’t very big or wide! The first pass was a bust as the yellow didn’t fill the background but I still managed to make some clicks. Next pass we went from corner to corner of the field providing the greatest coverage and for one or two clicks, the Canola filed the background. It was definitely a learning experience that next year, we’re going to do a whole lot better!

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