One of the very first lessons I was taught when I started photographing planes is to always shoot the planes as they are flying away. It’s a shot that not everyone focuses on or remembers to do because it’s not the head on shot or “action” shot. Therefore it some instances it can be considered a more unique capture. If you think about the psychology of the image the tail shot is the going away, ride off into the sunset, heading home feeling. All of this can be transferred to static aircraft as well.
Here’s one of my favorite planes as an example. This is an FG-1D Corsair painted in the colors of the VMF-312 “Flying Bulldogs” squadron. It is distinct in the checkered tail and cowlings. Both of these are simple shots. Taken with the D4 and 24-70 one is head on the other from the tail. From head on the plane appears thinner and lighter.
From the tail the planes looks heavy and thick. In truth it’s a bit of both. This was one tough plane. Two things of important to notice is first the clouds, they are very different looking west as opposed to east. If you’re out shooting this one factor might decide what the photograph is. The second is from the tail you can see one of the Corsair’s nemesis the Japanese Zero under the right wing. Another little detail that adds to the story.
One of the great things about having friends with airplanes is the occasional flight. Taking good photographs doesn’t hurt either. While down in Houston I got to go flying with the Texas Legends on a couple flights, partly through projects my Dad was working on. The day after I got to Houston they put up all their ships on another photo shoot for another photographer, one of those aircraft was the B-25 bomber. Their B-25 “Betty’s Dream” is one of three B-25’s that are most accurately restored in the country. IT is absolutely beautiful inside the plane. The nice thing about a B-25 is that their are a lot of seats. In the back there are three seats, radio operator, tail gunner and waist gunner. I got to be in the back shooting out the escape hatch, which comes out, and the two waist window plexiglass windows.
The one plane that does stick out in the group is the Zero to the far left. It actually isn’t a Zero but a modified T6 from the Tora! Tora! Tora! performing group. It was flown by a friend of the Texas boys and the main photographer was in it. With a swivel seat it makes shooting out of a T6 much easier. I have to say though my seat in the back of the B-25 didn’t suck either.
In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
At the end of every trip is that lull period of wondering how it all went by so fast. After all the anticipation and planning the trip is over, the work is nearing completion and the next one begins. Although I’m not complaining that the work is done and it’s on to new work, it just always amazes me how fast it goes by. This whole past week has been a great reminder of how much fun Ohio was. Even now while it’s snowing outside and I’m writing this I wonder what will happen tomorrow?