It’s hard to believe that our trip to Hawaii is already over and that we are now making our way to Photoshop world. It seems like like those past couple of weeks went by way too fast. Before heading to the convention we spent some time in Punta Gorda attending the Florida International Airshow. This was the first time that either Dad or myself had been to this particular show and we were pleasantly surprised to it’s format. Every museum and airshow has their own unique style of presenting the planes. Museums are definitely more difficult for photography due to the amount of planes in hangers and their tendency to be next to active airfields with lots of security measures, including fences. This Airshow was great. It was huge, it didn’t have a ton of planes but it did have some very nice planes. It was setup around a big grass field so the background was clean which is always a plus and best of all the planes flew overhead close up instead of way out in the distance.
We spent this past weekend photographing the event. If you’re wondering why we were cramming this in before Orlando, and i do mean cramming; the three of us got back to Reno Thursday at midnight, spent four hours in a hotel room, repacked and went to the airport for a 6:15am flight Friday morning to Orlando to be here for the airshow. We did this for one reason, Dad was filming another Kelby training video on aviation photography. It’s a whole new idea of his, which is kinda typical of him, that will hopefully get more people interested in these planes. As some of you might know Dad and I have been working hard to get into this community of aviators, so that we can get access to more planes. These planes, especially warbirds, are a piece of history that sadly are vanishing. These planes that flew in WWII are 70-80 years old and will eventually stop flying. It is a sad truth that the airframes eventually will not be able to support flight so it is imperative that people get interested in the planes before they become statues.
Now on thing that makes these shows is the people, the volunteers and the veterans. Most of these airshows are completely run by volunteers, this particular one had 300 volunteers working this past weekend. That’s truly awesome to have that many people spend their time with these planes. From what i saw most of the volunteers were kids, which is even better. As i said it is also about the veterans, the guys that actually flew the planes. This event we were fortunate to have three of the five remaining Dolittle raiders present signing autographs. For those of you that don’t know, the Dolittle Raid took place on April 18th 1941 against Tokyo. 16 B25’s Bombers, the plane above and below, took off from the USS Hornet in Japanese waters knowing that they would be unable to return to the carrier due to a lack of fuel. This attack struck a blow to the hearts of the Japanese after their attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a battle that changed the way we perceived war, for both sides. It was great to see these guys even better to get a book signed from them, stories of what happened during the raid. The sad truth is that the vets are disappearing faster than the planes. Just last year was the B25 Dolittle Raid Tribute reunion, 17 B25’s came in to Dayton, OH to fly for those that took part in that raid. At that time 4 of the remaining 8 showed up to honor that event in 2010, this past weekend 3 of the remaining 5 showed up for this event. In 1 year three of those members had passed away. All veterans play a big role in history and we are losing them faster then their stories can be brought to people’s attention.
Photography isn’t just about making pretty pictures and trying to make money from them. It is about telling those stories that not everyone gets to hear but everyone should know. At the top is a photograph of the F22 Raptor, the armies top of the line aircraft at present. At the bottom are two B25J’s, the Killer B and Panchito. The great thing thing about Airshows is they show the evolution of aircraft. From where it came from to the where it is today. What got me during this event was not only the amount of people at this small of event, but the amount of people that came up to me asking when did the jets go up, especially the F16. It amazed me how few young people knew about the prop planes and what they were used for. These planes are a big part of our history, and which needs to be preserved for our future. Photography can do that.
Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 24-70, AF-S 70-200, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film