I love and hate how photography changes. It is constantly evolving and sometimes that can be super fun because you get to learn new things and try out new things which can lead to some really awesome images. On the flip side it can be really frustrating especially when you get behind the curve and then you feel this tremendous pressure to catch up. But that’s how the business goes and there’s no way around it.
Well one way in which photography is always changing is our own eyes. We grow as photographers by incorporating our life experiences into our photography and sometimes that means going back to somewhere you’ve been countless times and just seeing the world around you a little differently. I’ve gone to this place many times to fish, I’ve photographed it several times but I never saw this. I always thought this dam was ugly but not this time. The way the light moved through the canyon and lit up the water was something I had never paid attention to before and it just goes to show how little it takes to come up with something new.
Images Captured with Nikon D750, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
I actually have more of a question then a lesson here. If you get the chance to go up flying is it worthwhile to photograph the earth below you or not? Since I have never considered myself an aerial landscape photographer I can’t say that I really got into this sort of thing. But it comes down one of the basis of photography and that is every opportunity is a chance for another photograph. Since you never know when or where you might need a certain photograph, often times it’s best to just keep shooting so that you have plenty of options, right? Well that’s my thinking at least.
But to add another layer of thinking to this. When you’re flying and you have the chance for an aerial landscape shot, do you leave the strut of the plane in or take it out? The same could be said with a commercial plane if you have a seat over the wing. Do you even have to choose or can you just take both images? If both options are presented and you can do both I tend to lean towards that. Again it comes down to taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. In a travel piece having that strut in the photo could add a little more backstory. For an environmental or commercial purpose maybe having a clean look is better. These are things to think about when you’re out shooting because you just never know.
Images Captured with Nikon D5, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
My Dad found this article but I felt it was worth sharing since I spend a lot of my time on the rivers of Montana these days. While this is my blog and I spend a lot of time sharing my own personal insights on photography here, I try to avoid politics and other such hot button topics. However; having spent most of my life in outdoor recreation, taking pictures, and enjoying the world around me, I can say that this is an important issue and it cannot be ignored. It’s a good read so I hope you click on the photo and it give it the few minutes that it deserves.
I just got done reading this book and I have to say it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It came out in 2003 so it has been around a while but it’s worth purchasing a copy of. It’s all about the history of the USA and Japan before and during WWII. The early history of our nations in the 1850’s is staggering and how the interactions affected our servicemen during WWII is kind of mind blowing. There are some parts that are unbelievable and then there are the parts that are just gut wrenching. I highly recommend this book for the aviation enthusiast or the general historian.
Of course you can! Many an airshow I have spent walking around with the 200-400 VR slung around my shoulder looking for those moments worth capturing both on the ground and in the air. In some cases that’s just too much lens so the question is is there a lens that can do it all or can YOU do it all with one lens? It really comes down to the event. Each airshow and flyin has it’s own restrictions as far how close you can get to the flight line. Flyins tend to be a little less restrictive but that relies on YOU being safe around the aircraft. Remember no photograph is worth getting yourself or anyone else hurt. Now this flyin I was able to get pretty close to the subjects so I had no problem using the 70-200 VRII for a lot of my shooting. From people, to statics, to flight shots you just have to practice and really look for those hidden moments where everything comes together but it can be done.
Well it’s a simple enough question that demands a good answer because anyone that has been to an airshow can tell you that there is a lot going on throughout the day and the majority is happening when there is harsh light. Most people fly airplanes when there is a lot more light out, we photographers are kind of picky and only want the best light in the early morning and evening. But the rest of the crowd tends to sleep in and get there later in the day. So how do you cope? For starters you can’t be afraid to go out in the harsh light. Be smart and picky with your subjects, don’t just blast away. No one needs a hardrive full of bad images trying to find that one.
Next up, watch your backgrounds. Try to minimize the amount of background by not shooting real wide or angling up. If you can look for clean background with colors that aren’t in the blue gamut range you’ll make your life a whole lot easier. It’s real easy to have washed out blues in the middle of the day.
Always remember that under exposing in the camera is your best friend and finally be smart with your finishing. Thanks to the tools in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom, like the shadow slider, shooting in the middle of the day is a whole lot easier. These are just a few things that I have noticed from my time on the tarmac but there is always more if you go out and play.
Images Captured with Nikon D5, 70-200 VRII on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
This is the best part about Aviation Photography and the fun that can be had at a simple Flyin. No matter which way you look there is always something to photograph. The best part is it only takes one airplane to make something happen. This 1939 Taylorcraft was taking off early Saturday morning to head over to Butte for the annual flyin breakfast. I got there in the nick of time for the taxi and takeoff. With the D5 and 70-200 VRII, I got close physically, kneeled down and got some clicks. Now getting close isn’t always an option but at small flyins like this one it was and I knew that beforehand. That morning was a gorgeous one at that as the cold front moving in pushed all the ugly smoke out of the way which you can see in the background.
The best part of photographing this plane was later that evening out of sheer happen chance I met the couple that owns the aircraft and we talked for quite a bit. Bev told me about her father and how he flew mustangs in the Pacific doing bombing and straffing runs. He flew 113 missions which is an insane amount! It was great hearing her stories and then being able to share my photos with her of their Taylorcraft. But it all comes back to having that one subject and making some clicks happen with that one plane.
Panning can be very difficult to master. It comes down to muscle memory and practice. After a while it becomes second nature and then it’s easy. Now one would think that if you get used to a heavier lens, like the 200-400 then a lighter lens like a 24-70 would be easier, but it’s not. It’s just as hard because of that muscle memory. Then there comes the angle. If you think you have it down pat try shooting at a different height, for instance crouching down. Not only does this make for a unique vantage point between the foreground and the background it also will really challenge your skills.
The Three Forks Flyin was a blast this year and sadly it’s already over. With roughly 50 GA, Antique and Warbirds in attendance, the flyin was a huge success as people came from all over to enjoy this yearly event. I spent Friday evening and Saturday at the Flyin and in those short hours managed to shoot roughly 6K images. Not bad for less then a day. Addison Pemberton and his Grumman Goose were certainly a big hit at this years event having flown over from Felts Field, Spokane, WA. Addison being himself opened up all the panels on the plane and happily stood under the wing talking about everything that made this plane so unique. There are more great stories to come and more images but I wanted to get something up as I’m still going through images.
Image Captured with Nikon D5, 24-70 AF-S, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
It’s that time of the year again for the annual Three Forks Flyin sponsored by the Montana Antique Aircraft Association. This will be the 41st Flyin and each sees a variety of aircraft from all over the west. Some pilots travel as California and Washington to be a part of the Flyin and this year Addison Pemberton and his Goose will be attending the Flyin. It’s one sweet plane! I’ve been going to the flyin for the past couple of years and it’s always been a blast. It’s this Friday and Saturday so if you’re in the area stop by for some fun.
If you need more inspiration, head over to the MAAA’s website and click on the gallery where you can see a bunch of photos of mine from last years event.
Images Captured with Nikon D5, 24-70 AF-S, 70-200 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film