Today marks one of the largest military achievements in modern history. 77 years ago Operation Overlord, the allied plan to establish a foothold in occupied Europe, began. Thousands of naval ships launched one of the largest amphibious assaults on the beaches of Normandy, France. For months leading up to the invasion, disinformation was leaked out about the upcoming invasion to fool the German army to think the allies would be landing in Calais. A complex series of fake vehicles made of rubber were even made to fool aerial reconnaissance and German Spies. Britain was the staging ground for it all and it was one packed island before it was over.
Along with the men who went ashore on the landing, crafts were the Paratroopers that landed behind enemy lines in a joint effort to meet up with those on the ground and catch the Germans in between. It was a massively complex Operation with many variables that could go wrong. Without the efforts of D-Day, the events and longevity of WWII could have been much different.
Today marks a very important anniversary, the 76th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which were the allied invasion of Europe in 1944. This invasion gave the allies a foothold in France that allowed them to push back against German-occupied Europe. Beach heads, Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha, and Utah were the designated landing spots and were heavily fortified by the Germans. Omaha Beach was the deadliest with the high cliffs and heavy fortifications. The original plan for the allies was to link up the beaches by the end of the first day but due to heavy resistance, it wasn’t until 8 days later that they were secure. Many brave men from multiple nations helped secure this victory without which the war would’ve been much different.
The C-47 or C-53 based on its use were used to drop paratroopers behind enemy lines and push the Germans out of the beach areas and nearby towns and villages. It was the largest airborne drop in history. The planes were marked with the black and white stripes so that they wouldn’t be shot by friendly ground fire.
There’s nothing quite like the morning glow of sunrise on a freshly polished airplane. It’s a strange combination of the natural world and the mechanical. Even if the plane is backlit it will still pop. Of course, a small trick to help make the silhouetted side come out is to use the shadow slider in ACR.
Today marks the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. One of the biggest allied operations or WWII which lead to the downfall of Germany’s Occupation of Europe. Thousands of men, aircraft, machines, supplies, and more went into making the operation a success. Today you can watch as a special memorial is taking place over the skies of France as over a dozen C-47’s are taking part in a flight over Normandy.
Since the beginning of June there have been many anniversaries regarding major events of WWII. The Battle of Dutch Harbor, AK honored the 75th anniversary on June 3-4th, the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway was June 3-7th and June 6th was the 73rd anniversary of the Normandy Invasion known as D-Day.
Since I was having a little maintenance problem I missed a couple of those but I figured it would work out for today’s post.
It’s impossible to say which of any event had more significance then the other. The Battle of Dutch harbor which was part of the Aleutian Campaign was the only battle on American Soil by the Japanese. It was a lesser known but strategically important campaign that shouldn’t be forgotten. The Battle of Midway and the D-Day invasion of Normandy are far more known with movies and books written about both. The best part of this year has been seeing the amount of press each event has gotten. They all deserve to be remembered along with those that fought in them.
There are a few important dates to remember in May when it comes to aviation history but one of the ones that doesn’t get looked at as much is the first flight and first acceptance of the Douglas DC-2. The DC-2 first flew on May 11th and was accepted by Trans World Airlines May 18th 1934. The DC-2 was the precursor to the DC-3, as seen below, and while the DC-3 made a very large name for itself since it’s first flight December 17th 1935, the DC-2 had an impressive history in its own right.
The DC-2 was bigger, faster and could carry more people then the DC-1. Most importantly it was the first commercial plane to fly from coast to coast and not loose a business day. The DC-2 was the first Douglas plane to fly in an international airline when it competed in the 9,000 mile London to Melbourne race. It came in second even after picking up a stranded passenger. 198 examples were built between 1934-1939. A few examples still exist today but only a handful in the United States.
The P-40’s were certainly the highlight of Atlanta Warbird Weekend but there were many other planes there to enjoy and some of those planes offered rides. Those that do aviation photography know the joy that comes when doing an air to air shoot. Being able to ride in one plane and photograph another. The same joy can be felt when riding in these old birds. We are lucky in that sense and need to remember that because for others coming to these airshows and events is the only way that they get to enjoy these planes.
The SNJ here is on taxi about to depart. It was one of several Texans on display and while not the bearer of rides like it’s fellow planes it still put on a good show. The DC-3 on the other hand was busy going up and down selling rides both days. Just like when it comes to showing the people and the details in the hangars, the other planes tell the story too. In this case a video would’ve been better because it was the sound of these planes going up and down all day that told the story more then the image.
Today is the first official day of EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, WI! For many people this airhsow started much earlier as planes arrive early as do the people. When I tell people about Oshkosh, the informal nickname of the airshow, it’s fair to say that it is like no other event. In many ways it is one giant party. Lots of people, lots of events, shops, movies, lectures, speaking engagements, performances and of course planes. It’s just a week of fun afterward you need a vacation.
This year I am very fortunate to be back with the Texas Flying Legends Museum who have been brought their squadron to Oshkosh for years. This year they return with six aircraft that will be displayed in Warbird Alley. Since this is Oshkosh week it seemed only fitting to talk a little about aviation photography technique especially in regards to what can be found at Oshkosh.
To start things rather simple, Oshkosh is overwhelming! There are planes everywhere and your senses are easily overloaded as you take it all in. If you have been there before then you know, if you haven’t then here’s a brief taste. Now there are a few ways to stay at Osh, the best way that I have found is to camp at Scholler. The downside is it is a ways away from Warbird Alley which makes it hard to get up for sunrise. But it is so worth it! Since everyday I am out walking I keep gear light. This is year it will be the D5, 18-35 f/3.5, 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 VRII, 200-400 VR and a flash. This is all on my back so that I can do static and ground to air with ease. It’s tough but walking back and forth is even harder. Now at Oshkosh there is either bald skies or great skies and the general rules apply either way. Get low, shoot up, look for clean backgrounds which can be tough, and make unique captures. Often times there are a lot of the same model aircraft at Oshkosh, like the B-25, so take advantage of that. That sort of stack up doesn’t happen all the time. Keep in mind that lots of people photograph these planes so try and to think out of the box to make a nice capture and then finish in post.
One of the premier aviation events in the world is EAA Airventure better known as Oshkosh, due to it being held in Oshkosh, Wi. Every year thousands of planes and people arrive to see what’s new and what’s still going. I’ve had the pleasure of going in past years and the photography has always been amazing. At Oshkosh you never known what will show up and getting there to see all the different, or in this case similar, planes arrive is a ton of fun. If you’re an aviation enthusiast then July means Oshkosh.
Today marks the first fight of the Douglas DC-3. This is one of the most iconic aircraft made during the 1930’s and saw major service during WWII as it was converted to fulfill many other roles under the designations of C-47 and C-53. The DC-3 was always the commercial version made for Airlines like TWA but later grew to many others. While it’s first flight was in 1935, it has been flying around the world under multiple owners, governments, and airlines, to the present day. The history of this one aircraft can not be summed up in a single post. It extends just too far.