Ever year this anniversary seems to arrive faster each time. Perhaps as you get older time naturally seems to go by faster and thus is nothing more then coincidence or perhaps as the years have gone by and I’ve learned more about what this date meant to this country and others I have come to honor and respect its significance. For those that don’t know, today marks the 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a day that Roosevelt would later remark as a day that lives in infamy. For many it was the day that ignited a flame in Americans, a flame that was carried overseas and into the second World War for the United States.
The attack was a combination of Zero’s, Kate Divebombers and Val Divembombers spread out in multiple groups in two different waves. Their targets were a combination of the battleships that were docked at Pearl along with the air bases spread across the island. The US carriers were the primary focus but were not docked at the time of the attack. Other structures along the navy base were prioritized as well. This one event created a ripple that caused so many other events to occur. Having spent time with many veterans who were shocked into action after that day, I can say that none of them were either expecting it or wanting it to happen. Many lives were lost that day and those to come.
This is something that has come up more and more often. There has always been a discussion on when is it the right time to crop a photograph. Some folks have not problem cropping an image in post, ithers out right refuse to. I was taught that you shouldn’t in post for two reasons. One if not done correctly you can cut pixels and it will show when you make a print and two by doing so you are eliminating information which begs the question why it was there in the first place. Now for those of you using full frame cameras, you have the benefit of being able to go into Dx mode and basically what it does is it gives you a 1.5x crop factor which when turned on you will see in the viewfinder as the edges will be greyed out. Now why am I bringing this up? Well for the first time in a long time I had the need to use it.
This is from my air to air shoot over a week ago already. As you can see I’m not flying, I’m in the second seat and also the second photographer in the shoot. The plane up front is a SNJ and Dad is the main photographer in the back. The pilot in front of me is a Legal Al, a new friend from the weekend and aptly named for being a lawyer. The Dixie Wing has two Al’s and to keep confusion down each as a nick name. The plane I’m riding is a modified T6 Texan, it was extended 9ft, a torpedo was added, a tail gunner position and a lot more canopy. All this was done in order to make it look like a Nakajima “Kate” Torpedo Bomber. Well that canopy was an issue. Now this top shot is nothing more then the D4 and 24-70 while the sun was coming up, in Fx mode.
This bottom one is in Dx mode. Why the difference? Well when you are riding second seat you don’t have as much control over position of the planes. Having to work inside that closed canopy was difficult, one because of small space and two because of reflections. I usually like to shoot with a 70-200 but because of that small space there wasn’t enough room for that longer lens. Keep in mind for this shot I was twisting my body around to the left, almost shooting over my shoulder. Having that physically shooter lens really helped and being able to switch from Fx and Dx when I needed to was a huge plus. Now obviously I wasn’t worried about quality otherwise I wouldn’t have blogged it. That’s the power of the D4. It’s just an entirely different animal compared to the D3 and is something I am reteaching myself on.
Well another Photoshop World has come and gone. They always seem to go faster than the last one but hey that just means that it was one really good time. The folks and I didn’t leave right after PSW, we stayed a couple days longer in Georgia in order to do some work with the CAF Dixie Wing. The Dixie Wing was started in 1987 and houses some really cool and rare aircraft. Two of those rare planes are the SBD Dauntless Divebomber and P-51D Mustang “Red Nose.” The SBD is one of only two original SBD’s in the world, and unlike many converted T6’s, this one is a true vet. Now the Mustang has it’s own unique story as it is the first plane acquired by the CAF when it got started. Red Nose wasn’t around for us to play with this past weekend but we had fun nonetheless.</p
Now this SBD really does have all the bells and whistles. It has three bombs attached under it’s wing. The rear gunner’s station is equipped with a turret and a canopy that does slide forward allowing the guns to come out. The SBD was mainly used a carrier plane that as the name describes, dive on a target, most often a ship, release it’s bomb load and pull out of the dive before the bombs detonated. It was a very high risk job and many pilots did not return from such missions. Between fighters and flak it was a rough gig.
Now this plane turned out to be one of my favorites from the weekend. This is a replica Nakajima B5N or otherwise known as a Kate torpedo bomber. Originally this was once a T6 Texan but was converted to look like a Kate. Believe it or not it’s actually 9ft longer than a T6. It has three seats, pilot, navigator and rear machine gunner. All three stations are accessible and the rear gunner spot has replica guns in it. The one thing that I liked the most, besides the fact that the plane flies with a torpedo, is the paint job. This shade of green, don’t know why, is just a really cool color. It really pops with any background and the different color lines and markings and some character to it. This is really a simple click with a D4 and 24-70 in early morning light.
Now I can’t forget about this guy. I have spent a lot of time around Corsairs and I really don’t ever get tired of them. Still considered one of the hardest planes to fly with it’s long nose and sensitive landings, the gull wing fighter is still just one beautiful bird. This happens to be a FG-1D model which is quite rare. The most common models are the F4U-4 which came later and more survived. Early models didn’t really survive and not many were made before improvements were made and they were outmoded. The FG stands for Goodyear who made the same plane as Chance Vought just under a different designation. This particular plane is painted in honor of the F4U-1D’s of VMF-312.