Working that Rainbow Background

If you follow my blog or my Dad’s, then you’ve no doubt heard about how much we like clouds in the background of our plane shots or landscape shots or really any shot that has sky in the background. It really does make a big impact on the overall image. Well this is a bit more than we usually ask for especially since we were in Chino and this particular day it was almost 100 degrees out but there happened to be some ice crystals in the air which formed a rainbow affect in the clouds and they just so happened to stick around for quite a while. As the planes were going by occasionally they flew close enough to get some color in the background.


Dad and I made a little game of this and every time a plane looked like it would go by that one tiny stretch of color we just let the shutters rip! Everyone around us in the media pit looked our way, always with the same expression, “what are they taking so many shots of?”


Well it was these planes going by in these certain spots. Using a D4 and 200-400 VR, I waited for that right moment. The A-2 Skyraider had the most consistency as it flew higher than most others. The Mig 15 and F86 Sabre were next best as they too were flying high at times.


The true winner was the P-47 Thunderbolt. The four ship went right over the spot and then as they did their break a ways and single passes, old Snafu here, a P-47 bought from the museum in Duckshire, flew the best line through the best section and gave us that brief moment of joy.

The P-47 Thunderbolt on the ground

I honestly couldn’t wait to talk about this plane. I just had so much fun photographing them. I mean it’s not everyday that five P-47’s are in one location at one time with a chance to get each one in a frame. Now the fifth one in this case is part of Yanks Air Museum and it was on the other side of the field so it wasn’t in the lineup Saturday or Sunday morning. But the other four were. Now obviously this one frame doesn’t have all four in it but it does have three. Now two of the P-47’s are privately owned while the other two are part of museums. The green with a red cowling Razorback is part of Planes of Fame while the silver bubble canopy is part of Tennessee Museum of Aviation.


I do love line shots. You have to really watch the background as well as how much is included in the line to really set the tone in the image. In this case at the end of the row was an A-2 Skyraider which didn’t quite work with the P-47’s. Using the D4 and 24-70 AF-S and just enjoying going down the line shooting, it was truly a simple click. Of course lucking out and having pretty clear skies helped too.


Now this particular Razorback was one of my favorites as it actually was restored here in the stats, won Grand Champion at Oshkosh in 1982 and was flown to Ducksford to be part of their collection. It was recently purchased and is now privately owned. This particular Razorback is painted in the scheme of Lt Severino B Calderon part of the 84th Fighter Squadron P-47D 42-74742 – ‘Snafu.’

The Mighty Jug

The P-47 Thunderbolt, more affectionately known as the Jug by those who piloted it, was one of the heaviest, largest and toughest fighter aircraft that relied on a single radial engine. The Jug was built with heavy armor and a massive offensive capability. With four .50 Caliber machine guns in each wings and able to haul up 2,500 lbs of bombs which is over half of what a B-17 can carry. Although the P-47 was not used in long range bombing attacks, it was used for short range ground attacks. It was widely used for long range escort for the flying fortresses. It was made famous by the 56th Fighter Group, part of the Eighth Air Force, which had a number of top aces, as they flew missions further and further into Europe. When looking at this plane it’s almost like watching a flying tank.



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

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