The Mighty Eighth

The whole theme of this years show was solute to the Mighty Eighth. The Eighth Air Force based out of several bases throughout England were responsible for breaking German manufacturing throughout WWII. The Eighth, although not the first to commit to daylight bombing operations, were the first to make daylight bombing raids effective. The British had tried daylight bombing and found that the losses were too great for the reward. With the need to keep planes in the sky over the enemy the British switched to night time bombing raids. Many considered this to be the best way to fight for night time bombing greatly reduced the risk for the bombers as they did not have to deal with enemy fighters. However, accuracy dropped during such raids so the USAAF, through much debate, stuck to daylight bombing. The main aircraft for such roles was the B-17 Flying Fortress.


You can’t have a solute to the Eighth without these big birds and as luck would have it two showed. The B-17G Flying Fortress Sentimental Journey out of CAF Airbase Arizona and the B-17G Flying Fortress Fuddy Duddy out of Lyon Air Museum were at the Planes of Fame for the Airshow. Both days included a time slot where planes from the European theater flew. Besides the B-17’s, P-51’s, P-47’s, a P-63, a P-40 and even a Focke Wulf were up in the sky at once. It was pretty darn impressive to see how many planes were up in the sky. In total 52 warbirds were at the show.


All of this was shot with a handheld D4, 200-400 VR and a SunSniper Strap. One thing to really notice and watch for when photographing planes with polished aluminum fuselages is how the light changes on such a surface and where the shadows are. Both of these planes have a polished fuselage and during the panning of the plane there was a time when you could see the light not curve around the plane but streaked across it which wasn’t as pleasant. When the skies are filled with planes and you don’t want to waste an opportunity training your eyes to know when to click and when not to is can really make a difference.


Overhead Visitor

One of the great things about Oshkosh is the constant sound of aircraft engines turning over. Well of those planes was the B-17 Flying Fortress, “Aluminum Overcast,” which is EAA’s B-17 that is constantly selling rides over the show and throughout the country in Summer months. It’s cool sight to be able to look up and see that beautiful silver plane flying overhead. I don’t usually go with black and white on my aviation images but I thought I would give it a try to bring back that feeling of when they were always flying overhead.


In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

A New Bird in the Area

Just like last summer some of the warbird tours from various museums and groups come through Bozeman. This year we are very fortunate to have Collings Foundation to come through on their Wings of Freedom Tour bringing along their B-24, B-17 and P-51C. Unfortunately due to some bad weather in Seatle they arrived a day later than planned but they couldn’t have picked a better day to arrive in town as the weather was beautiful. Too clear if you ask me, the sky is pretty darn boring in the mid afternoon light. Not all the planes arrived before I had to leave but the beautiful B-17 “Nine O Nine” was there.



In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 24-70 AF-S f/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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