A Couple Patriots for the Weekend

I wasn’t sure what to blog today. I’m still working on submissions so finding images to play with while not getting out shooting yet is making this week challenging. But I think I found something to put up for now. There are many performing teams in the aviation community each one has a unique look and act. Thunderbirds do a lot of flybys together as a team in unique formations. Blue Angels to incredibly risky formations at very close proximity. The Patriot Jet Team in my mind is best described as a ballet. They are all over the place in different directions and often come together in the middle. They do some formation work but a lot of it is flying across the field. The cool thing about these guys is that they are almost always using smoke which makes it more interesting.

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

Heavy Metal Jet Team

I am continually going through images trying to bring more and more to the blog. Some might ask why put so much into a free service on the web? Well for one thing it forces me to process more of my images which is good because aviation can really stack up on the processing bill. Next by doing all this processing and sharing it on the blog my skills are improving in post and i get more ideas for future projects. Like this one.

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Heavy Metal Jet Team

This is the Heavy Metal Jet Team, a newly formed team that just started performing the North American air show circuit this past March at the Florida International Air Show in Porta Gunda. This is one of the few civilian owned jet teams. It is a five ship team, including 4 L39’s and a T33 Shooting Star, but the T33 was not up performing this time. They fly fast, close and in great formation. They can be seen in the Arctic camouflage scheme. It’s a great group of experienced pilots making one spectacular show! I can’t wait to photograph them again but for now I’ll just have to enjoy the photos which I hope you will as well.

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

Updating the Gallery

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.

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L39

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P40 Warhawk

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PITTS S-1

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TS-11 Iskra

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L29 Delfin

Catching up on Processing

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.

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

More to the Gallery

As some of you might have expected from earlier this week, there are now two new additions to my Aviation Gallery. First obviously is the PBY. It’s just too cool of a plane not to have up there. The next one wasn’t one of my favorites at first. The L39 which is a Vietnam era jet has been at the Reno Air Races for some time and i have photographed it a number of times. Until i got this static shot last year i didn’t think it was that great of a plane. Visually of course. It just seemed to commercial looking, don’t know why just how it seemed. One morning during PRS the skies weren’t great, no clouds, just light and with some help from ACR this was the result. Now i can see the beauty in the plane.

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L39

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PBY

Stallion 51

Well after the first half of the Precon going so well with so many great images, one has to ask how is it going to get better? Good Question! I don’t know, at least i didn’t. Dad had pulled a Dad, he made a phone call and found another place nearby Orlando that had some beautiful aircraft. This is Stallion 51, a restoration and education center for planes and people. They have some gorgeous planes including, recently added, the L39, four P51D Mustangs, three T6-Texans and a various other craft. The people there were very nice including the pilot, Willy, and a very charming women KT. Now the great thing about aviation folk is that they can be very open. Lots of times just showing up, being polite and saying that you will give them images is all it takes. With this in mind we were able to get three planes pulled out and a fourth one setup for Joe to do an indoor lighting demo.

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As you can see from above i stayed outside. The models moved around the planes in various styles, and poses as models do. Dad had a stroke of brilliance, yes i know i said that out load, hopefully he skips this post otherwise it’ll go to his head, and he asked KT whether she would put on a mechanic suit and stand next to the T6. She said sure, whatever you need. She was great about it. Posed wonderfully, was real laid back easy to work with. The best part was that none of the shots required flash. It was late in the afternoon the light was setting, and with the cloud cover we had a nice soft light bouncing off of her and the plane.

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Now as we were shooting and there were participants all around us, Dad pointed out that this maybe a good time to go black and white, or to at least think black and white potential. Normally i wouldn’t go that way with a person, it just isn’t me. Then again i rarely photograph people so whats that say. It just so happens that Dad had a good idea. Black and white worked quite well. Between her green suit, the yellow plane and the variations in light it turned out pretty decent. It’s just another one of those things to consider.

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As i said earlier we had four models, not including the staff of the place working with us. I personally didn’t want anyone in the shot. I just don’t like the look most of the time, unless it is the pilot of the plane. Well it was close to wrap up, Joe was finishing the indoor lighting demo and the planes outside were quiet. Everyone had gone inside. I went out, and eventually Dad tagged too, to the mustang and started shooting. There was some great skies coming in and i thought who knows. I started experimenting, went down to -2 exposure comp, vivid, auto white balance rose the calvin temperature to A6, and shot at f2.8. Why did i do all this, i hadn’t done it before. Never had i put in all those settings at the same time to see what would happen to the plane. I had an idea of making a silhouette with a nice sunset. It didn’t work. Instead this great drama appeared in the sky and the plane had a natural vinette on it which i liked. Then in post i converted it to black and white and that made it, that was it. Getting to this point took a lot of playing and that’s really what it is all about. Playing making mistakes and making good images in the process. It was a good end to a good day, and to an even better shoot. Can’t thank the guys over at Stallion 51 enough.

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

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

The Romance of Statics

For the last two years now Dad and myself have undergone a change to photographing aircraft. In that time we have done everything from air too air, to pylons, to static work. Now Dad always said that the static was the hardest because you have to make the plane look like it wants to fly when its on the ground, he also says I’m quite good at it. Well that may be but everything i learned for photographing those planes still has come from his knowledge and those of others in the business. Like Richard VanderMeulen who has shown both us a thing or two.

Now the most helpful thing that i found when it comes to working with statics is that the plane has to be approached just like any other landscape; the only difference is the subject, in this case the L39 in the foreground, is a plane. The same emotional connection trying to be made in a sunset, a sunrise or any scenic shot is that trying to be made when the planes are on the ground. It’s not always easy but it just takes practice. O and i do like the Fantasy of Flight shot Dad.

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Image captured with D3, AF-S Nikkor 24-70 f2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

First of the show

The first day is definitely the slowest than any other only because all the planes are coming in and the booths are getting setup. Even with the slight lull there is still a lot to do and see. After the morning fun of the unlimited’s doing there last qualifying run, the afternoon was filled with the jets and they’re fast action tendencies. These things just rip by making panning that much more fun.

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

From Up High to Down Low

One of our favorite pylons is number four because it has this terrific ridge that we can stand on to photograph the planes that come over it. This particular L39 Jet was flying low one afternoon and decided to fly a little to inside the course, it happens that’s what PRS is for getting used to the course, and went right over the road that marks the boundary. It’s great to see and even better to get a shot of but boy is it hard to get a good shot of. He came over that hill so fast that he was gone in seconds.

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Then there are those truly great days when we get the clouds that make the planes shine. Without the clouds the planes just don’t look the same. They look like models against a blue wall. The great thing about June is we get some of those clouds. The pockets are the best part, seeing a plane come whizzing out of one or going into one. Just makes the whole day of standing out there worth while.

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

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