It’s Finally Time to Go!

That’s right today’s the day that I fly down for Photoshop World. I don’t know where the last six months have gone but I don’t really care at the moment because I’m just that excited about going to Vegas. Photoshop World is always a ton of fun and I always leave feeling both tired and wanting to do more with my photography. What’s in store I don’t know but I’m sure it will be great!

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Now I wish I could say that I will be flying this down to Vegas…..but I’m not. Commercial as usual. This is from a previous Precon at Stallion 51 down in Florida which we had three P-51 Mustangs and a L-39. What’s in store for this Precon? I don’t know.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 24-70 AF-S f2.8, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

A Couple Patriots for the Weekend

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

Props aren’t everything

Props aren’t everything

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.

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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.

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

It’s Time to Get Out

It’s Time to Get Out

Over this last week i have blogged about office work and techniques that can help get things moving faster. Well as useful as some of that might have been, truly the most useful advice is just to get out of the office. It’s the sad reality of our work that we have to spend time behind the computer in order to push forward with any photography business, but that can’t be the only thing. So as the blog title says, it’s time to get out.

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It doesn’t really matter where or when but at some point it’s necessary to get out shooting this weekend. I implore all of you to do just that because the drive of the photographer must always be the capturing of that which hasn’t been captured. As important as technique might be it’s certainly not everything.

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Whether it’s a sporting event, an airshow, a concert whatever go to do something. It really doesn’t matter try something new, or something familiar anything is good when you’re out with a camera in hand.

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For those of you in the wildlife realm it’s a perfect time to be out. The Fall migration is here, ruts are happening and the critters are starting to look there best. Especially those mammals whose thick winter coats are coming in.

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Sometimes it’s best just to take a drive and stare at the Fall color. It’s better than staring at these monitors.

Why do i Keep Getting Asked This?

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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Heavy Metal Jet Team

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

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

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

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

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

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