As Usual, Dad Says it Right

Earlier this week I received my latest edition of EAA Warbirds which I knew had the upcoming piece that Dad and I did together on the Planes of Fame Airshow. When I opened it I couldn’t believe my eyes to see 29 photos used between the two of us. While I was planning out blogs for the week I was thinking about this one and couldn’t decide when to blog about it. Naturally Dad beat me to the punch, this time. He summed it up pretty darn well in his post yesterday and I really can’t think of anything else to add to it. It’s been one heck of a great year and to end it on a six page father son piece, can’t ask for more.

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The Mighty Eighth

The whole theme of this years show was solute to the Mighty Eighth. The Eighth Air Force based out of several bases throughout England were responsible for breaking German manufacturing throughout WWII. The Eighth, although not the first to commit to daylight bombing operations, were the first to make daylight bombing raids effective. The British had tried daylight bombing and found that the losses were too great for the reward. With the need to keep planes in the sky over the enemy the British switched to night time bombing raids. Many considered this to be the best way to fight for night time bombing greatly reduced the risk for the bombers as they did not have to deal with enemy fighters. However, accuracy dropped during such raids so the USAAF, through much debate, stuck to daylight bombing. The main aircraft for such roles was the B-17 Flying Fortress.

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You can’t have a solute to the Eighth without these big birds and as luck would have it two showed. The B-17G Flying Fortress Sentimental Journey out of CAF Airbase Arizona and the B-17G Flying Fortress Fuddy Duddy out of Lyon Air Museum were at the Planes of Fame for the Airshow. Both days included a time slot where planes from the European theater flew. Besides the B-17’s, P-51’s, P-47’s, a P-63, a P-40 and even a Focke Wulf were up in the sky at once. It was pretty darn impressive to see how many planes were up in the sky. In total 52 warbirds were at the show.

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All of this was shot with a handheld D4, 200-400 VR and a SunSniper Strap. One thing to really notice and watch for when photographing planes with polished aluminum fuselages is how the light changes on such a surface and where the shadows are. Both of these planes have a polished fuselage and during the panning of the plane there was a time when you could see the light not curve around the plane but streaked across it which wasn’t as pleasant. When the skies are filled with planes and you don’t want to waste an opportunity training your eyes to know when to click and when not to is can really make a difference.

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Playing with the Jets

For the last year i have been fortunate enough to be included in my my Dad’s adventures in aviation photography. This past weekend we took a trip to Chino, California to a place were the planes fly high and still shine like new, the Planes of Fame Museum. It was a whole new experience. The amount of flying restored aircraft was enormous compared to most places which was quite impressive. One of the highlights of going when we did was seeing the F86 Sabre Jet in flight. Which when not in flight is parked in this hanger with a number of other jets, including another sabre, a Mig 17, a D-558 Skyrocket and numerous other jets. Shooting in a hanger is not real hard with the D3, just set the iso to 800, -5 exposure comp and your good.

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One of the things i liked best about that hanger besides the jets, was the inside of this engine. I think this is the inside of the Skyrocket but I’m not sure. It was just awesome to see all the metal shears inside this thing designed for wind flow and then to picture that moving, spinning around, just too freakin cool. To think someone had to go around and check each of those little shears to make sure none were bent or starting to break, that would suck.

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One of my favorite planes there, also one of the most hidden and tucked away, was the P38 Lightning. This twin boom fork tailed plane design by Lockheed during WWII was a successful plane in the Pacific theater. A truly beautiful aircraft that is definitely on my list to shoot, but that’s not what caught my attention. It was the artwork on the nose. This image of “23 Skidoo”. I’ve looked for the origins of this phrase but have turned up little only thing i could find was that it meant “Get Away Quick!”, needless to say it made me laugh when i saw it on the nose. It reminded me of those cartoon planes. Somehow fitting for the P38, got in got out. It was good seeing all these classic vintage planes restored to there former glory, just too much history too lose.

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

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