A Quick Change of Pace

It’s been one heck of a summer so far with different projects popping up every month. It occurred to me that I really haven’t done that much with airplanes since this past April when I was down at Chino for the Planes of Fame Airshow, so why not throw something up here. This is one of two F-22’s that were participating at the airshow. One of the great things about Chino is the sunrise passes they offer to get in before hours on Saturday and Sunday. Well naturally Dad and I couldn’t pass that up so we spent both mornings out on the tarmac. The F-22 was parked at the end of the ramp and the crew had a flood light lighting up the plane. It was a pretty cool setup that doesn’t usually happen at airshows.

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The Return of the Military Performers

Yes! Finally after much waiting the military performers are back and they are a welcome sight. I’m not a huge jet fan but I do enjoy when the come out and do their demos. The F-22 is one that always has my attention. First off it just has a bad ass look. when flying, static, profile or even from the tail it just looks like it means business. Then once it starts its performance you just can’t keep your eyes off it.

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Using the D4, 200-400 VR and SunSniper Strap, I really like this combo, it’s pretty darn simple to get that shot of this plane. Unlike when photographing prop powered aircraft, jets are very simple. Why is that? Well I can shoot in aperture priority at 1/1500th a second and that fast shutter speed makes a huge difference. I can’t do that with a prop plane because I want that prop to be blurred not frozen. Pilots don’t like frozen props and somehow they have this uncanny ability to always find images of their planes. This means having to shoot in shutter priority at less then 1/125th to get a blur. This past weekend it was 1/80th and 1/60th the whole time. Now I’ll be honest I ended throwing a lot away due to being a little rusty but the keepers, as you can see in my last blog post, have great props.

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I’ve seen a lot of great heritage flights but this one I really liked. It was just a great combo between the rugged P-47 “Jug” Thunderbolt, the P-51D Mustang, the Fork Tailed Devil P-38 Lightning, and the F-22 Raptor. From then till now it was great to see the evolution.

The F-22’s Sure Make Their Presence Known

After a busy day of working on articles and images there’s nothing better than working on the blog. I know i could be playing games or watching movies but I felt the desire to bring more to the site and the photographic world. I might have been starring at this monitor to much today because i cannot believe the words i just typed nevertheless I do have a fun blog to post. One of the great demos that we had this past week was of the F-22 Raptors. Now my brother had been talking about the F-22’s for sometime and are his favorite aircraft, but for myself i haven’t had a chance to photograph them. Until now.

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The power, prescion and performance of these planes is very impressive. Now the part that i found funny is that they brought in two in case one breaks. Well the first day of the demos, one broke down. They then flew in a third plane and sure enough the second plane broke down. So it was an interesting to watch that whole military event. The planes themselves are awesome, the capabilities of the thrust and turn radius are truly impressive. It was fun watching. Although very difficult to get a shot during the high speed pass. Go figure right.

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

Why do i Keep Getting Asked This?

It seems like every time I tell people what I do and I explain that I photograph airplanes, i get the usual excitement. Then they ask is there a preference in the planes, older planes as opposed to newer ones. I always answer “I prefer working with the Warbirds.” Then they always seem depressed with my answer. I never understood that. A preference is a preference nothing more that my own like. It’s not like I photograph only warbirds merely i enjoy them the most. It’s hard to beat the stories that they tell.

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The reality to photography that most people outside the business and even some in the business don’t understand is that you can’t always work with that one thing that you want to work with. Photography has always been about following ones passion even if that means photographing what normally one wouldn’t. In order to succeed you have to be flexible and do the work that not only comes your way but at the same time going after the jobs that no one is offering you. Flexibility is the key to success.

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Before I was taught anything else about photography my Dad told me that there will be those times when it just sucks to be a photographer and then there are those times that you are glad to be one. Those are the good times. All of that goes into the next project and it’s how we become better. Here in this post I show four images that I have taken within the last couple of years of basically all modern military aircraft. The A10 is a little stretch but still well within the last 20 years recent activity. The L39’s are the only one well dated. I decided to post these shots because i wanted to show that even though they aren’t my favorite shots, even though i have no plans on using them anywhere, and even though i know no stories about any of them, I still enjoyed photographing them. Each one taught me something new about photography and that made them worth while.

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Preferences aside I enjoy aviation photography. Basically anything that flies is worth while to shoot. The difference is that which i can do something with afterward and that which the afterward is only another file added to the collection. Everything comes down to time. The one disadvantage to Aviation Photography is that everything needs to be processed in post afterward. In wildlife nothing gets post work. Deciding what to spend time on is the difference between success and failure. If it’s not evident enough I try to do a little bit of everything. For me if it flies it’s in the files or at some point will be. Perhaps the best answer to that first question that people ask me is, “I photograph whatever is in front of my lens.”

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The Air Show

Tomorrow is the start of Photoshop World. Before I get started sharing some of what goes on at this marvelous and overwhelming event, i wanted to bring to you some of the aircraft that was at the Florida International Air Show. Everything you see was up flying both days, giving some fantastic performances.

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

From Hawaii to Florida

It’s hard to believe that our trip to Hawaii is already over and that we are now making our way to Photoshop world. It seems like like those past couple of weeks went by way too fast. Before heading to the convention we spent some time in Punta Gorda attending the Florida International Airshow. This was the first time that either Dad or myself had been to this particular show and we were pleasantly surprised to it’s format. Every museum and airshow has their own unique style of presenting the planes. Museums are definitely more difficult for photography due to the amount of planes in hangers and their tendency to be next to active airfields with lots of security measures, including fences. This Airshow was great. It was huge, it didn’t have a ton of planes but it did have some very nice planes. It was setup around a big grass field so the background was clean which is always a plus and best of all the planes flew overhead close up instead of way out in the distance.

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We spent this past weekend photographing the event. If you’re wondering why we were cramming this in before Orlando, and i do mean cramming; the three of us got back to Reno Thursday at midnight, spent four hours in a hotel room, repacked and went to the airport for a 6:15am flight Friday morning to Orlando to be here for the airshow. We did this for one reason, Dad was filming another Kelby training video on aviation photography. It’s a whole new idea of his, which is kinda typical of him, that will hopefully get more people interested in these planes. As some of you might know Dad and I have been working hard to get into this community of aviators, so that we can get access to more planes. These planes, especially warbirds, are a piece of history that sadly are vanishing. These planes that flew in WWII are 70-80 years old and will eventually stop flying. It is a sad truth that the airframes eventually will not be able to support flight so it is imperative that people get interested in the planes before they become statues.

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Now on thing that makes these shows is the people, the volunteers and the veterans. Most of these airshows are completely run by volunteers, this particular one had 300 volunteers working this past weekend. That’s truly awesome to have that many people spend their time with these planes. From what i saw most of the volunteers were kids, which is even better. As i said it is also about the veterans, the guys that actually flew the planes. This event we were fortunate to have three of the five remaining Dolittle raiders present signing autographs. For those of you that don’t know, the Dolittle Raid took place on April 18th 1941 against Tokyo. 16 B25’s Bombers, the plane above and below, took off from the USS Hornet in Japanese waters knowing that they would be unable to return to the carrier due to a lack of fuel. This attack struck a blow to the hearts of the Japanese after their attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a battle that changed the way we perceived war, for both sides. It was great to see these guys even better to get a book signed from them, stories of what happened during the raid. The sad truth is that the vets are disappearing faster than the planes. Just last year was the B25 Dolittle Raid Tribute reunion, 17 B25’s came in to Dayton, OH to fly for those that took part in that raid. At that time 4 of the remaining 8 showed up to honor that event in 2010, this past weekend 3 of the remaining 5 showed up for this event. In 1 year three of those members had passed away. All veterans play a big role in history and we are losing them faster then their stories can be brought to people’s attention.

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Photography isn’t just about making pretty pictures and trying to make money from them. It is about telling those stories that not everyone gets to hear but everyone should know. At the top is a photograph of the F22 Raptor, the armies top of the line aircraft at present. At the bottom are two B25J’s, the Killer B and Panchito. The great thing thing about Airshows is they show the evolution of aircraft. From where it came from to the where it is today. What got me during this event was not only the amount of people at this small of event, but the amount of people that came up to me asking when did the jets go up, especially the F16. It amazed me how few young people knew about the prop planes and what they were used for. These planes are a big part of our history, and which needs to be preserved for our future. Photography can do that.

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Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 24-70, AF-S 70-200, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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