I couldn’t really think of much to blog about today so I figured I would just sum up how the year is going so far. It’s flying by! I ain’t complaining it’s been a great year so far and it seems to just keep getting better and better. That’s always a good thing. What better way to sum things up then to have a couple jets going by and 500 mph.
Prop planes aren’t the only thing to have fun with this week. The skies are usually filled with one or two jets buzzing about. The L29’s and L39’s are always there sometimes in great number and sometimes in few. Pylon Race School is just as the name says meant for learning. It’s there as the practice session for planes that aren’t usually at Stead. For that reason planes of all types show up.
The funny thing, or at least what i see as funny, about all of these airshows is the amount of different camera equipment seen. Never ceases to surprise me how much of a difference there is between events and photographers. The two items that seem to be with every photographer at every event is a hat and a strap. Carrying that 200-400 around for a few hours gets old and anything that can make a difference is nice. For me it’s the Sun-Sniper strap that saves my shoulder. Light, adjustable strong, and easy to remove when needed. It does a great job of staying out of my way and being non restrictive when panning with those fast movers.
Nikon D3, 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed between aviation photography, wildlife and landscape photography is that in aviation I’m spending a lot more time editing and processing my images. Since Pylon Race Seminar three weeks ago I have processed about 150 different images and have added them to my galleries. Now not all of these images are up on my blog yet but all good things with time. It has occurred to me over the last few weeks just how many images can accumulate in just a couple days of airshow photography and how important it is to keep up to date on getting them processed. Sadly however time doesn’t always allow for playing with images.
These three images are some of my favorite statics from PRS and are ones that I had fun. The top one comprising of 2 L29 Delfins and a Mig 15 jet is a shot that just caught my eye as Dad, Mom and myself were going by. It was simply the pattern of the red, black and grey that I just liked. One of the best things about aviation photography is the patterns that can be seen with the different planes.
This is a T-33 Shooting Star another great jet produced from the late 1940’s – 1950’s. It was original designed as a fighter but as more jets came online it was turned into an impressive jet training plane. It’s amazing how often a simple image is usually my favorite and this is just that. One click with little post work. Some of you might by wondering why this is my favorite shot, considering it is kind of a boring static image, well it’s one i didn’t have before in my files and with new planes even the basics are needed.
The last one here is the F7F-3 Tigercat another fighter, and one big ass plane to have flying around the Reno. This particular image is why i continue to shoot. I wasn’t aware of this at the time but when i took this image i was busy moving around, didn’t notice that i cut off the tail, or that the tail blended in with the folded up wing. A simple five feet to the right would have solved both of those issues making for a just a little bit stronger image. It just goes to show that more practice is needed even for the little things.
Images Captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
It’s always good to have an outlet for your images no mater what the outlet is. With all the processing I’m doing I decided it would be a good time to put up a few new galleries and park a few more planes in The Shed. The L39 and P40 are not new but I did expand both of their galleries with new images. The PITTS S-1, TS-11 Iskra and L29 Delfin are all new to the site. Each of those planes i have photographed for the last couple of years but am just now having an outlet worthwhile to put them in. Hope you like em.
It seems like so long ago that all of us were at Pylon Race Seminar having fun photographing the planes as they go by. It was only a week ago but man are the images piled up. That’s the one down side to all the shooting is the amount of time it takes to process all the images. The one most time consuming process up these shots is always dealing with the dust. It’s kinda unavoidable out there, the planes just kick it up but thanks to ACR it is really easy to open multiple raw files, remove all the dust in one image and then synchronize them all to those changes. These four images were all done that way and it saves one heck of a lot of time. Just another one of those quick tips that can make a difference.
Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 VRI, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
Today was the first day of the Pylon Race Seminar. It is the prelude to the Reno Air Races where pilots come with there aircraft to get experience of the track, test plane mechanics or new modifications, and for new racers to get qualified. Now this is my third time to PRS and each time is a little different and all have been just a boat load of fun. This is time is a bit different because the three of us got up here yesterday for the plane flyin. Everyone who is flying this week was supposed to be here yesterday so that they can get there classes done. It was very interesting being here this early, not as many people out, things weren’t quite all setup, and planes kept arriving. It was actually quite relaxing.
Dad and I spent most of the day out amongst the planes watching them come in. We of course talked to a number of friends and even made a few new ones. Now along the way we managed to get a few clicks off, it wasn’t nice morning light nor did we have any clouds. Nope we had full sun light and a rather comfortable day. Not the best shooting conditions but it was shoot or go inside, we went shooting. Now when I go out shooting statics, like any other subject, i look at the background. It really is an important thing to consider especially with planes at an airshow where they are surrounded with other stuff. Whenever we see a plane pulled out with no ropes around it or cars or people it tends to be a good subject. I have no clue what this plane is, nor does it have any really great light on it, it’s afternoon light but it was a nice clean simple shot with no real post processing that made for a good start.
Now I started this week and this event with one real goal in mind, to get a great vertical static shot. Going through my images lately I noticed I didn’t have any great vertical that i would really want to do anything with. I have strong images but nothing that would say, “you should have been here.” Now yesterday as we were talking and walking along we heard that there were a lot of jets this time, the jet class had a lot of new entries. Well that’s kinda cool new planes right. Well the jets are all parked the furthest down the ramp from the media center, it’s a ways to get down there. Having walked it a couple times over the last couple years, especially when the Blue Angels came in 2009, I knew that it just isn’t fun. One of the perks we got his time was a golf cart that made for much smoother sailing.
I talked about my first goal but it dawned on me that there was another one that i might be able to achieve this week with all the jets present, and that would be getting a shot with all the canopies, tails and fuselages together in one shot. See my first Air Race there was a lot of jets and we walked quite a bit of the ramp. Well one morning I was with the guys and Bill Fortney got a shot of the Vampire along with a whole bunch of other jets in the background. It was a really nice shot that I always kind of liked and wanted myself. So i thought, okay I have the 200-400 it’s perfect for compressing the background lets see what happens. So i went around shooting the jets trying to find good groupings with clean backgrounds. Some turned out well, some didn’t but then that’s photography.
The L29 dead center is probably my favorite from the other day, that nose it has just sticks out. The skies were uncooperative as far as clouds go but the foreground had lots of painted lines, which were markings for planes to park and that created a nice lead in which i incorporated as much as i could. Since there was also heat shimmer, getting low and eliminating the sky and background helped reduce the amount of visible shimmer.
Now i got to admit i don’t normally walk around with the 200-400 shooting statics, it tends to be too much especially inside a museum, but this time it was perfect. I didn’t want any other lens to go wider, detail shots were spot on yesterday. We continued around the field watching the planes come in which was fun. The F7F Tigercat came in, as well as the two P51D Mustangs, a P40, a Hawker Sea Fury, lots of L39’s and L29’s and even a couple of Iskras. From everything we saw it seems to be a good event, which means that September Races should be even better.
This last shot seemed fitting because it was not only the reverse of a GA aircraft which was where we started the day but it was also the most complicated in post processing. Not quite as simple as my first shot but still a nice little find. In case any of you were wondering why i put in so much foreground and had the plane so high up in the frame, it’s simple because the sky sucked in that direction. It was washed out icky nothing sky. In that scenario it just seemed wiser no to include too much of it.
Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 VRI, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
The races are over already but that doesn’t mean that the images are gone. Between the images, the planes and the great people the whole event was spectacular. The transition from Texas birds to metal planes was a huge switch but great practice, flying caracara’s isn’t quite the same as Mustang’s going 300mph. The T6’s are always a favorite just the straight lines and motion of the plane that makes them so alluring. For this particular plane and its partner 2 numbers 43 and 94 the matching paint jobs definitely made them stand out. It’s the checkers.
Jets this year were enormous. The amount of rookies that came in were huge compared to last year. In total for the event there was 29 rookies, and some of those flew the jets. It might be my imagination but it definitely felt like the best event so far that i have been to for jets, which isn’t saying much since i haven’t been too to many but is interesting.
Images capture with D3, 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
Well it’s been a few days now and they have been busy ones. I feel kinda bad though that i didn’t get this up sooner but it is what it is. The Reno Air Races practice runs last week were awesome. The people i met there were great. People like Scott Diussa, Richard Small, Richard VanderMeulen, Joe Glyda and Bill Fortney. It was such a change going from photographing wildlife to airplanes. The panning technique is the same but the speed in which it must be applied is so much faster. The nice part is that every plane goes on a course so we know exactly where to pan from.
The unlimited class were among my favorites mostly because of the challenge they posed. In order to get the planes looking like they are moving we have to blur the props which means the shutter speed has to be low. Of course the lower shutter speed means much better panning technique in order to get a sharp image. The jets are much easier because we can be at a much faster shutter speed that can stop the motion.
Besides the challenge, the unlimited are just cool to see. A lot of these planes were made back during WWII, seeing them here doing laps is just exciting. Not to say that the jets aren’t but something makes the unlimited better. Probably something to do with the prop spinning, in my opinion.
Before i went out there my Dad said one very simple thing, “If u get addicted to this, it’s not my fault.” Throuhgout the week he said those words a number of times. Didn’t work, his fault. I say that because now i really want to get back in September for the real races. My thanks goes out to all those at PRS for getting me out there, along with the genreous people at Nikon, and of course my parents.
Images captured with D3, 200-400, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film