How Valuable is it To Finish an Old Image?

It’s quite common to get so wrapped up in current shoots that you only finish the images needed for whatever purposes you have and then leave the rest for another time. I’m guilty of this myself. In past years I would finish images for blog posts and articles and then leave the rest for later. Problem is the more you shoot the more images tend to stack up so you never really find that time to finish the images. The other downside is it is easy to forget not only what you photographed but the conditions in which you took the image to begin with. This makes it harder to finish the images at a later point. So what do you do?

The images have to get finished one way or another but if the argument is if there is value to finishing them later after you’re out of the moment of capture, then is it worth the time, time being money after all or hardrive space? Well personally I hate leaving images unfinished. Even if they are old there was value in them to start with or you wouldn’t have taken the image to begin with. Leaving them to be forgotten is not only a waste but isn’t a good business practice. Part of the answer comes back to proper time management. Taking less images but still good quality images means less computer work which is a better business practice. There’s another potential answer to the question.

So yes there can be value in old images but it comes from recognizing that value and applying it to your business.

Enter the Bearcat

One big engine in a small plane. The F8F Bearcat never saw combat in WWII but one could imagine what would’ve happened had this 455mph fighter/interceptor entered service. Powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-2800, the Bearcat was designed to be operated off of escort carriers, which were smaller and lighter, with a high rate of climb, maneuverability and speed. The first operational squadron was ready May 21st 1945 but with the war over in Europe, production orders were vastly reduced and eventually only 1265 were built. The Bearcat first saw combat in the French/Indochina war and then again in Vietnam.

The Bearcat’s true fame came from the Navy’s choice for the famed Blue Angels squadron, then being raced for decades at the Reno Championship Air Races and for setting the 3km World Speed Record as well a the time to climb record. The speed record was of course broken later on.

Still this marvelous aircraft graces the skies of North America at various airshows throughout the season. It’s short wings, short fuselage and high profile make it hard to miss among the other aircraft on the ramp. In the skies, the sound of that R-2800 is unmistakable as it thunders overhead.

What a Week in Houston

It’s been one heck of a week here in Houston but it’s coming to an end. I’m heading home today after a great week of shooting planes. The Wings over Houston Airshow was great. Only being two days long I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the airshow was crammed pack with warbirds. Being on Ellington Field has a couple of other perks, NASA is across the way and the Texas Flying Legends Museum is based at the field. The combination of everything made for six days of fun.


To say that Sunday was a wet day is an understatement. It poured that morning and the evidence was all over the field as puddles lined the tarmac. We ended up sitting in a hangar watching the storm role by and afterword we headed out for a little shooting. I heard some grumbling from other photographers about the weather but I liked it. Besides having clouds that were moving through we had these puddles with reflections in them. As if it isn’t cool enough to see one warbird but having two at the same time is just awesome. Historically the the rain added another factor in that made the shooting great. We had a number of Navy Carrier based aircraft at the show which all flew over water during their careers. Take for example these F8F Bearcats, both planes were Carrier and island based fighters that fought in the Pacific Theater. Usually these planes are on boring asphalt but the water just brings the planes to life.

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

Some Old Friends

Last year at the races I was able to work with some really great people and some great aircraft. The CAF SoCal out of Camarillo, CA has some great aircraft and for the last couple of years they have brought a large portion of their fleet to the air races. This year they brought their Mustang, Bearcat, Hellcat, Spitfire and Zero for rides, opening ceremony and simulated dogfight. Having worked with the wing previously I knew that they would always want more images. The second morning I was there, Dad had already set up a great morning static shoot with the aircraft from the wing, minus the mustang. Now we had been having great clouds that whole and thankfully they lasted a little too much towards the end as Saturday rolled in with a massively heavy storm. It poured. Nevertheless the Thursday morning shoot was great!


Of particular interest to us was the A6M3 Zero, an original Vet from the Solomon and one of only five flying originals left in the world. We parked it separate from the others in order to get more time with it and more detail shots. One of the benefits of working a subject for the second time is knowing what images you already had and what ones to work on. In this case having previously worked with the Bearcat, Hellcat and Spitfire, quite successfully I might add, my attention was on the Zero.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Fun with Statics

One of the best parts of Reno is working with the static planes. Every year it’s basically a tradition to get a bunch of aircraft out early in the morning for a sunrise shoot. Why do we do this? Well quite simply it’s a ton of fun! It’s not always easy to get rare and unique aircraft in a place with a clean background, so while at the races we take advantage of it.


For instance last year we brought out a 3 Grumman “Cats,” a Wildcat, Bearcat, and Hellcat. It’s rare to get all the planes out together so we made it happen, just to recreate that history.


Then there is always the chance of meeting a rare racing plane that hasn’t been seen in years. This is Race 15, a P-51 Mustang that lives at the field and hasn’t come out to play in a number of years. We got it out at PRS and it was by far one of the best subjects we have ever had to work with. So you never quite know what will show up and life’s opportunities will bring you.

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

One beautiful Static Subject

Same plane, different photos. The first morning I got to Stead Airport, my Dad told me that there was a Bearcat down at the end of the runway worth photographing. So we get up and drive down in our borrowed golf cart and there at the end of the runway was the Navy Blue Angel Bearcat. Now there was a number of rumors as to why it was there that week and how many hands it changed during the process of it trying to race. The only thing I know for certain is that it did not qualify. Which is sad because it’s a beautiful plane. That being said it still made for a great subject.


I imagine it’s pretty easy to tell what the difference between these images is. The top one is a straight shot and the bottom is a seven frame HDR. Why did I do both and post both? Well, i like them both. Simple as that. I love finding backgrounds that i can get good silhouettes with and that usually works the best by getting low and having an unobstructed background. At the same time the plane has so much character that i wanted it to show. The only solution was to shoot the plane both ways.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

The Sizzling Bearcat

Despite the rather stubby appearance of the Bearcat’s fuselage this particular fighter is one very fast machine. While other planes were doing banana peals around us, this guy was just hauling ass as he went by. The Bearcat’s came out to late for WWII but did see action in the French Indochina War all the way up to Vietnam in 1959 when they were retired and replaced with other aircraft. The most popular use for these planes was air racing. The first ever Reno air Races was won in 1964 by a Bearcat, known today as “Rare Bear.”

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

The Grumman Family

Lately I have been busy getting images ready and out to people, trying to get as much work done as possible so i can go do what i love to do which is taking pictures. This next week I’ll be at the Reno Air Races, an event that i look forward to every year since i started going to them a couple years ago. Why am I telling you all of this? Well lately I haven’t spent a whole lot of time behind the camera coming up with new content so i thought this would be a good time to add another plane to the hanger.

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This is the Grumman F8F Bearcat. It’s design was partially based of off back engineering the FW190 Fockewulf. It was meant to a successor to the Hellcat in which it would be an interceptor. It was made to takeoff and land on the smallest of carriers. It was lighter, faster and more maneuverable than the Hellcat but fell in speed to the F4U Corsair. It still had an edge on the A6M5 Zero. Even though it came out later in “43” is provided a pivotal role in the Pacific Theater.

F8F Bearcat
Images Captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

A New Museum to Explore

This past Saturday Dad and I went down to the Palm Springs Air Museum to see what treasures it would yield. The museum was holding a 65th anniversary to island hopping in the pacific specifically Midway Island and Gaudalcanal. Neither of us knew anything about their speaker format or what their flight demonstration would be like, so it was a good time to go learn especially since we had nice weather there and back. Now Dad spent a lot of time in the mountains and valleys in southern California but i hadn’t. Even being born in Santa Barbara and the occasional project Dad was working on, as a kid i wasn’t down in the area much. So along the way down to Palm Springs, Dad was pointing out places he had been when he was a kid and how much everything has changed.

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The Museum was quite impressive, inside and out with an F16 and Tomcat on display in the front yard and a memorial honoring some of the fallen. Inside the first thing that stood out beyond all else was a painting that expanded across most of the wall above us. It depicted the battle of midway with extraordinary detail. After admissions we started wandering looking at the displays and variants of aircraft. We later found out that the founder Robert Pond had between 25-30 planes in his collection, this included a B25 and B17. The first couple of planes that stood out were the Bearcat and Dauntless parked outside near the fence. Great looking planes, so unaccustomed to seeing a Bearcat that wasn’t modified. Outside was also the PBY which was amazing to see, so few exist nowadays.

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Walking around inside we saw a number of good looking planes. In the “Pacific Theater Room” was another Dauntless, Wildcat, Hellcat, Corsair and one of my new favorites the A26 Marauder. I saw one for the first time down at CAF Headquarters Arizona. This one looked even better, sitting inside helped, it had great yellow and red wings that just stood out in the room. Moving around we found the room with the B25, along with it was a P51, Spitfire and of course the P40 Warhawk. You just can’t not love this plane. The look of those shark jaws in the front just makes it look mean. It was of course replaced with the P51 during the war so it must not have been mean enough. Mousing around we found the room with the B17. Not quite as polished as the one at CAF but still great looking. This one was open to walk inside of seeing what it would’ve been like to be crammed inside of one.

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As we were waiting outside watching the T33 Shooting Star get ready for its flight, it was the plane doing the flying demo that day, i looked back across the yard to see if there were any missed shots. I seem to keep missing them, it’s definetely difficult with fences and hangers surrounding the place. I never got a good shot of the PBY with 24-70 while walking around, so perhaps the 200-400 would be better. That’s when Dad pointed out the nose art and i had to get the click. Next up was the flight!

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Images Captured with D3, Nikon Nikkor AF-S2.8 24-70, Nikon Nikkor Vr 200-400 f4, on Lexar UDMA Digital film

Last Day Round Up

Yet again the week long event of following up on the races is over. Sure there are more images to share but never enough time too. The stories we came back with were great, as they always are. The people are awesome, the planes are even better. Nothing so far gets the addrenaline pumping pumping faster than watching those planes buzz over my head. With that i share a few of my favorite planes.

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“Rare Bear,” F8F Bearcat

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Lady Jo, TF-51D Mustang

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Lou IV, P-51D Mustang

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What Da Fockewulf, FW-190 which showed a bit more of the other side of history.

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Finally the F7F-3 Tigercat and P-38 Lightning. They flew away toward the distant future awaiting what history will have in store for them as does us all.

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