Today was the first day of the Pylon Race Seminar. It is the prelude to the Reno Air Races where pilots come with there aircraft to get experience of the track, test plane mechanics or new modifications, and for new racers to get qualified. Now this is my third time to PRS and each time is a little different and all have been just a boat load of fun. This is time is a bit different because the three of us got up here yesterday for the plane flyin. Everyone who is flying this week was supposed to be here yesterday so that they can get there classes done. It was very interesting being here this early, not as many people out, things weren’t quite all setup, and planes kept arriving. It was actually quite relaxing.
Dad and I spent most of the day out amongst the planes watching them come in. We of course talked to a number of friends and even made a few new ones. Now along the way we managed to get a few clicks off, it wasn’t nice morning light nor did we have any clouds. Nope we had full sun light and a rather comfortable day. Not the best shooting conditions but it was shoot or go inside, we went shooting. Now when I go out shooting statics, like any other subject, i look at the background. It really is an important thing to consider especially with planes at an airshow where they are surrounded with other stuff. Whenever we see a plane pulled out with no ropes around it or cars or people it tends to be a good subject. I have no clue what this plane is, nor does it have any really great light on it, it’s afternoon light but it was a nice clean simple shot with no real post processing that made for a good start.
Now I started this week and this event with one real goal in mind, to get a great vertical static shot. Going through my images lately I noticed I didn’t have any great vertical that i would really want to do anything with. I have strong images but nothing that would say, “you should have been here.” Now yesterday as we were talking and walking along we heard that there were a lot of jets this time, the jet class had a lot of new entries. Well that’s kinda cool new planes right. Well the jets are all parked the furthest down the ramp from the media center, it’s a ways to get down there. Having walked it a couple times over the last couple years, especially when the Blue Angels came in 2009, I knew that it just isn’t fun. One of the perks we got his time was a golf cart that made for much smoother sailing.
I talked about my first goal but it dawned on me that there was another one that i might be able to achieve this week with all the jets present, and that would be getting a shot with all the canopies, tails and fuselages together in one shot. See my first Air Race there was a lot of jets and we walked quite a bit of the ramp. Well one morning I was with the guys and Bill Fortney got a shot of the Vampire along with a whole bunch of other jets in the background. It was a really nice shot that I always kind of liked and wanted myself. So i thought, okay I have the 200-400 it’s perfect for compressing the background lets see what happens. So i went around shooting the jets trying to find good groupings with clean backgrounds. Some turned out well, some didn’t but then that’s photography.
The L29 dead center is probably my favorite from the other day, that nose it has just sticks out. The skies were uncooperative as far as clouds go but the foreground had lots of painted lines, which were markings for planes to park and that created a nice lead in which i incorporated as much as i could. Since there was also heat shimmer, getting low and eliminating the sky and background helped reduce the amount of visible shimmer.
Now i got to admit i don’t normally walk around with the 200-400 shooting statics, it tends to be too much especially inside a museum, but this time it was perfect. I didn’t want any other lens to go wider, detail shots were spot on yesterday. We continued around the field watching the planes come in which was fun. The F7F Tigercat came in, as well as the two P51D Mustangs, a P40, a Hawker Sea Fury, lots of L39’s and L29’s and even a couple of Iskras. From everything we saw it seems to be a good event, which means that September Races should be even better.
This last shot seemed fitting because it was not only the reverse of a GA aircraft which was where we started the day but it was also the most complicated in post processing. Not quite as simple as my first shot but still a nice little find. In case any of you were wondering why i put in so much foreground and had the plane so high up in the frame, it’s simple because the sky sucked in that direction. It was washed out icky nothing sky. In that scenario it just seemed wiser no to include too much of it.
Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 VRI, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film