Something that i always try to encourage is to look for the shots that not everyone else sees. This is actually very important in aviation because when you work at an airshow everyone is shooting level with the planes. There is nothing wrong with this but it’s not always the most interesting. When you have the time and the subject is not moving then why not play around with the angles? Here’s an example.
Again I refer to the P-51C Mustang, “Ina the Macon Bale” as my example. Two different angles same plane, one difference. The image above is eye level with my camera. Now the one thing i look for in my static work is a clean background. This is as clean as it gets, and it’s green! That’s always a plus. Problem is the clouds disappeared so there is only bright blue sky above the plane if I were to get low. You can see some patches on the top. Well that just wouldn’t work. What you can also see is all that detail in the foreground that isn’t so great. But it’s better than black tarmac.
So here is the same plane from the other side, now the clouds are back. By getting low, and I mean laying on the ground, I get that nice sky in the background and less detail in the foreground. It’s a just a green blur and that’s sweet. It’s a little bit different, it’s a little cleaner and it’s less for the mind to get stuck on. The eyes go to the plane. It’s those little details that make your images stick out more when you do a submission to an editor. One tip though, if you do get low and blur out the foreground make sure to put a gradient on it so that the eye doesn’t get stuck there and goes to the subject.
In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
Here in Bozeman we get some very weird weather. It’s amazing how often we get rain, snow and sunshine, at the same time. The way the Bridger Mountains and the Gallatin Mountains are shaped, Bozeman sits at basically a bottle neck between them. The weather then goes through this long valley to get here and then through the pass it gets narrow. Well yesterday we had an odd day.
It started out with snow on Saturday and it finally looked like we were going to have some snow for a while. Yea right. It all melted. It warmed up yesterday, all melted. It went from sunny and blue skies to overcast in the afternoon. Well right around 4 o clock i was thinking about going out for a quick sunset shoot but with the low clouds to the west the sky wasn’t going to light up. Instead this thick layer of fog came in and immediately i thought of this shoot down in Florida from this past April when we had amazing fog. I was so longing to have a plane to go photograph right then. Nice thing is that fog will be back.
In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
Probably seems like I’m still going backwards blogging what happened a week ago. Well I still think it’s too fun, not to share it would just be wrong. Flight days were Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Saturday was three beautiful planes the P-51C, a T6 and the Duck. The only catch with this whole adventure was that Kermit wanted to fly every plane. So in order to make the transitions better without any dead air time waiting for the next plane, we were able to get the T6 from Stallion 51, the guys just down the road who are incredibly friendly and great to work with. The T6 wasn’t bad either.[swf]http://www.jakepeterson.org/swf_imgs/AVFOFFT0524.swf, 585, 435[/swf]
We started with the P-51C which was has an amazing finish. Any background that is put with that plane will look good. It’s just how that plane is. Now normally we would be in a Skyvan shooting out the back at the planes. Due to a mechanical issue at the last minute with the plane we were forced to work with a substitute plane, a Twin Otter. Seven of us were shooting out the open side door. It was an interesting experience. For myself i was behind the three front guys who were at the edge and i was leaning over them to look down and out. Not the most comfortable position but well worth it for the images produced.
Then of course was the T6 when Kermit was landing the P-51C. Now T6’s are rather common, they are inexpensive and easy to get parts for still. However, there are some really nice looking T6’s and then there are some not so nice looking ones. This one is definitely a very nice looking plane. One of the best parts of the flight was having KT in the back while Syd was piloting so that both seats were full. That’s cool to see because the plane is a trainer and normally would have two people in it.
Finally we are down to the Duck. Wasn’t really sure how this one would be photographing because it looks bulky. Not big just bulky. Now obviously it’s a float plane and that extra boat like fuselage is what makes it look bulky, so in the air it makes you wonder how it can fly. Then again when you see it land on the water it becomes this awesome looking plane.
It’s pretty sweet. Challenging though, the Duck is slowing down and we can’t slow down to much or the plane will stall, so getting the shot becomes very tricky requiring perfect timing. In the end it all worked out well and everyone got the shot. Now you might be wondering what else is there could top that first flight, well you’re just going to have to wait.
Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 70-200 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
With so many great subjects to work with it’s hard to find time for them all. Well some of my favorites I tended to work with more so than any others. The float planes and fighters were just too awesome to pass up. Now we ended up spending about 4 hours shooting the statics that morning which meant a lot of differences in light. The first few statics shots i posted were from very early morning light. These next four are later in the day when the fog burned off and the sun was high.
As you can already see the shadows are much more distinct already and spots on the plane are beginning to get blown out. It doesn’t take much for the metal airplane sides to get over lit creating blinkies. Thankfully it’s a really easy thing to fix in ACR with the recovery tool or in photoshop afterward. One of the benefits of having a private group go into FOF is that we were able to go out onto the grass runway and shoot back at the planes. This made for some great shots with the hangers and the pond where the planes reflections were. It’s kind of one of those quarks, a float plane with its reflection in the water. Simple things really.
Of course the TP-40 couldn’t be ignored. It’s just to rare and to cool to pass up. I shot it forwards to backwards trying to capture interesting angles. This is one of those planes that does look really good with hangers somewhere in the background and even though i don’t post any of those images rest assured that i do have them.
Now it’s back to the P-51C Mustang. This plane just glimmers, one can’t help but be awe stricken when looking at it. It’s a beautiful plane that shows the amount of love put into it. There is one little thing i noticed when processing the images of the P51C and that is when in ACR in the Luminance tab, if i wanted to darken the sky with the blue slider making the sky look better, the plane was affected to. Because the plane is polished aluminum it is reflecting the blue of the sky so it is important to watch the plane when messing with the sliders if it has a polished finish. Just a little trivia for ya.