The Usaul Duo

It seemed almost customary that the two planes we saw the last time taking off were yet again taking off this time. The F18 Super Hornet and the Steerman. Big difference this time they took off and landed to the south instead of going to the north.

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The Steerman looked better, but that’s just me. It caught that glint.

Images captured with Nikon D3, Nikkor AF-S 200-400 Vr, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Take off Before the T33

The flight demo was at 2:30 so we had a little time to kill after the presentation on Guadalcanal and Midway. As we waited outside along the fence, yes i said fence those lovely objects that surround airports that make life so much fun while shooting, we heard the sounds of jets taking off behind us and turned to see two F18 Hornets and two AV8 Harriers. Both F18’s took off low providing little room to work with, the fence was the issue.

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The Harriers took off in different styles. The first one went straight up and then off quickly, while the second one took off low and slow. Not sure what was going on, the Harriers chased after the F18’s towards the mountains to the north. Probably some training exercise. It was a nice warm up before the Shooting Star took off.

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Images captured with D3, Nikon Nikkor Vr 200-400 f4, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Flying high and fast

Oh those jets just scream by and they make it look so easy. The F18 was there doing more demos and thrills then my trigger finger could capture. The take off alone was great. The F18 just whizzed by and left a nice vapor trail to pick up. This the first time i was able to pick up that jet wash on take off. Kinda fun.

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As i said this guy kept doing stunts back and forth across the sky. The sonic booms that came from the plane made the whole media center shake. Those were the good ones. This was one of my more favorite ones, just casually going across the sky….upside down. Why not it can handle it, my stomach probably wouldn’t but he can.

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Then there was the C-130 during take off before the air to air shoot. Just a massive transport that kicks up more dust than our sensors can hold. The light was great on it as it always is late in the afternoon. It flew off carrying a load of eager photographers with one awesome opportunity. While the rest of us stayed behind enjoying the ones we were given.

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Images captured with D3, AF-S NIKKOR 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Early bird catches the worm

O the early morning static shooting, it’s so much fun and exhausting. It’s the good kind though. Nothing like waking up before sunrise, walking out onto the runway and seeing the great looking planes begging to be photographed. The Corsair F4-U has been a favorite of everyone. It just has that great look to it. It’s the bend in the wings that i like. No other plane here has that u shape in them. Of course that’s partly cuz they would be folded up on the aircraft carriers. The light hit the side and began to sparkle. Shooting in low light, with a shutter speed of 1/30s made it a fun shoot.

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As the shooting with the Corsair winded down, some of us headed towards the jets at the end of the runway, where we found this Super Hornet F18. It was lit up even more spectacular than the Corsair. The really cool thing was the wing tips were folded up which added a bit more drama and pattern to the plane. One of the tips is right over the canopy. A few more clicks then it was time to go, short session with that one but worth every second. Can’t wait to see what else will come out today.

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Images captured with D3, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200 VR 2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Planes Again?

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Well i know i said that i was done blogging about the planes at the Air races but last week was kind of a doozy for me. I ended up getting sick, i caught the bug floating around campus on Wednesday probably in part to the lack of sleep i was getting, but that’s another story. Well the bug made me want to sleep even more so naturally i didn’t get out shooting over the weekend like i normally do and that actually bums me out cuz it’s really the only time i have to go out shooting. Unless it’s a slow week, which they aren’t from now on, i really don’t have time to shoot. That also bums me out. Starting to sound like im depressed, good thing im too tired to be.

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Anyways, for one of the projects i was working on for one of my classes i used some of my shots from the races. For the project i had to turn them into Black & Whites which isn’t a big deal but it dawned on me that i hadn’t blogged any converted shots and i needed a blog so, there ya go. These are just some simple Black & Whites of the Blue Angels one morning as they were going through their routine of getting cleaned, folded and pressed.

Images captured with D3, 70-300 AF-Svr, on Lexar UDMA Digital

On lights grace

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Wednesdays are always a tough day during the average week. There is so much that needs to be done. Its not like Mondays that just suck because you know the weekend is over and work begins again. Wednesdays are the days when half the work is over but you still have another half to go. This thought is in my head as i write this, ya see i was up most of the night get work done, playing catch up for my taking off last week. I’m not complaining cuz my professors have been very nice, giving me a few breaks. But its still work. In light of that i thought it would be good to have a nice mellow day of blogging. These shots were taken Saturday morning before Scott and I went out onto Home Pylon.

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This was the day with the best clouds out of the whole week. They were just great, nice simple fluffy clouds. The light bounced around in them creating just outstanding skies. It was so good that i didn’t have any work in post to do. It helps of course setting the camera’s white balance to cloudy, it made the skies warmer and more colorful. Now you can do the same thing in post but that’s just more time wasted. As you can see i tended to like these F15’s, the Blue Angels just had too many people around them.

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As we were heading back in to get ready for the morning rush, Brent and I stayed out a little longer. The day before Kevin and I were in the right spot to catch a couple planes come down the runway to get some runs in before things began. Well with that knowledge i knew i wanted to be in position in case they did that again. They did. This here T6 known as Big Red came out first and the light was hitting it just right. Slowly the light wrapped around its wings, down the fuselage and disappeared by the tail. It was one of those mornings.

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As good as the T6 was, the P51 D Mustang known as Ridge Runner III was that much better. It slowly came down the runway, the light just shinning brilliantly off its silver fuselage. That red tip nose just glowing like Rudolph’s, it was a sign that it would be a good morning.

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The planes never actually took off as it turned out. They went down towards the end of the runway and stopped right before where the Blue Angels were parked. This is the T6. The propeller was spinning so fast that it’s hard to make out but it’s there. I wish the clouds had stuck here but unfortunately they had slowly moved off and the light was no longer making them look spectacular. With this last moment caught, i headed back to the Media Center shaking with excitement for the things to come later that day.

Images Captured with D3, 70-300 AF-S vr, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Blue isn’t always Melancholy

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I said i would get back to the Blue Angels so here it is. These were the shots i took during one of their practice runs. It was actually pretty impressive to see the tight formations they were able to do without crashing into one another. These are the F/A-18 Hornets, and they just rip, capable of speeds over 1200 mph. They are by far a sight to see.

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The smoke they produce was somewhat of a mystery until a good friend Kevin Dobler explained that it was actually an oil that was heated an released on command by the leader. Well it didn’t take long for them to start showing off their impressive formation skills. They began with simple flyby patterns and gradually moved up to more advanced ones.

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The paint job was one of my favorite parts. Simple and yet stood out very well against the sky and clouds. The yellow striping just brought it all together. I know obvious right, Blue Angels being blue but hey its an important detail.

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They did a couple flybys like this with the landing gear down. It seemed a little odd when they did this one. Almost like they wanted to look as if they were landing on top of each other. Definitely well coordinated, the formation was well done.

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This was the last image that really stood out to me. I liked the pattern and proximity of the planes. Another well performed formation. Couldn’t understand why only one jet released smoke and not all of them, i guess it means something that i don’t know about. Unfortunately i don’t really feel too chatty at the moment. Lack of sleep is making me a bit loopy so ill just leave it at this. The Blue Angels were impressive if not a lot rusty at first. But rusty or not they are doing something that most people couldn’t which makes it amazing.

Images captured with D3, 70-300 AF-S vr, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Having fun with the Blue Angels

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My apologies for not getting more blogs up this past week. Just too wasn’t quick enough nor awake enough. Good news is i will be continuing showing images of the races throughout the week cuz frankly its the only current images i have. Well the Blue Angels were the show piece for the Air Races and us photo guys got to go out and shoot the planes and pilots. I didn’t get any pilot shots i particularly like but i did get a couple plane shots. I like these kind of shots, they have a unique perspective on the planes that i find interesting. These jets do have osme character to them hopefully these express that character.

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Now for those of u that remember Dad had a shot similar to these ones which is probably where i go the idea for them. But hey if you’re going to borrow an idea why not from the best. The five jets were parked on the ramps as we did this shoot, they all had this wonderful profile to them. These are only a hint at the shots i got of the angels and since my flight is about ready to board, u’ll just have to wait for the rest.

Images captured with D3, 70-300 AF-S vr, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Morning Glory

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It’s day two of the Air Races here in Reno and they are shaping up to be very exciting. 4 F14’s came in the night before and were resting on the ramp in the morning. Along with them were the Blue Angels but since i had already showed them i thought i would go to these guys. Plus there is no telling how long these guys will be around. The light was great, there were a couple clouds and the right amount of light to make them pop. I got down low and shot up into the sky trying to eliminate that pesky ground. It seems to be the favorite approach out here with static planes. You can go to Dad’s, Scott’s or Bill’s blog to see more spectacular static plane shots.

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I was working with the F14 when Bill walked past me rather quickly. I asked him why and he said there is a A10 down the way. I said what and he replyed an A10 Worthog, one of my favorite planes. I followed him down the ramp and there it was parked in a little fenced off area, waiting to be photographed. Well the background sucks, just filled with cars and buildings and junk, far more stuff than i wanted to deal with in post. I therefore stuck to close up shots and it appears that the rest f the guys did the same. It turned out to be a rather cooperative subject, just wish it was out on the ramp.

Images captured with D3, 70-300AF-S vr, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Watching life go by at supersonic speeds

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This past June i had the privilege of going to the Pylon Racing Seminar which are some of the practice runs for aircraft that plan to be in the Reno Air Races in September. Well here it is September and I’m back at the air races. I gotta tell you i haven’t had this much fun in some time. The people are great and the aircraft are just awesome. Take for instance the Blue Angels, they will be here for the weekend and I’m glad to say that i will have more time to shoot them; but these shots were taken Wednesday morning while they were doing engine checks.

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The angles, the lines and the shapes just make those beautiful planes. They are F/A-18 Hornet and are magnificent. The group includes this big guy above called Fat Albert. Fat Albert does some aerial maneuvers with the F18’s but a more limited basis. It was at the end of the runway past the F18’s and the guy inside had just put out the American Flag. I thought this would be the best way to start the races, great light on a gorgeous subject. Right now I’m dead tired and my eyes are blurry, most have been a good day. I will be blogging a lot more during the rest of the week and through the weekend, so don’t worry more will come along with better stories.

Images captured with D3, 70-300 AF-S vr, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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