One of the most unique and largest aircraft that I have ever had the pleasure of photographing so for is the Shorts Sunderland. The original design started in the early 1930’s when the need rose for flying boats as transports in the Atlantic. The United States already had the the Sikorsky S-42 Flying Boats for use in commercial and military purposes, Britain was in the need for a their own flying boat. In 1934 the British Postmaster General declared all first class Royal mail to travel by air thus creating the need for an aircraft capable of carrying 18tons. The contract went out and almost immediately the Shorts Brothers came up with the S.23 Empire. It would later be improved with the S.25.
The S.25 was used by the RAF during WWII through the Korean War. Against the German Uboats it was an essential tool for getting troops into battle, supplies and was even used as a bomber. Variants of the Shorts included machine gun armaments on the sides behind the wings, tail and nose. Inside the plane was rigged to hold depth charges and bombs. It had a short life after the war as the need for the large transport disappeared as well as new more efficient aircraft took its place. It was still used by the RAF in eastern provinces as in large maritime land bases where runways were not yet established. After the Korean War the remaining Shorts went on for civilian use but few remain today. Many were flown out to sea and scrapped. One example of this magnificent flying boat still remains down at Fantasy of Flight, Fl.
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.
I am a little behind in blogging again which isn’t abnormal when times get busy. This past weekend was a very busy time with very little sleep. As some of you might know from my Dad’s site, last weekend we were in Florida with another adventure in the new series of Air to Air workshops. This time we were at the fabulous Fantasy of Flight like we were for Precon this past April. Fantasy of Flight has some truly spectacular aircraft, all of which has its own unique history. Now the guy who owns Fantasy of Flight is Kermit Weeks who has in his collection over 160 aircraft, that’s a few stories! We were lucky and got to work with some really cool planes including the one up above the Shorts Sunderland. This plane usually never comes out of the hanger, thankfully there was an event that weekend and it had to come out for space. This plane used to fly but unfortunately it hasn’t been flown in some time making it in need of repairs now. It’s still a great plane, massive but great!
The night we flew in which was Friday night, there was a massive thunderstorm that went through the area and Saturday morning when we went to the airfield we had a nice layer of fog. The fog is just a great backdrop for the planes. The airfield already is super clean with a lake and trees in the background and of course the best part is no fences! The addition of the fog creates this feeling or allusion of being back in England on a cold morning right before battle, which is quite nice with some of the planes we were working with including the P51C Mustang and the TP-40. The Duck was a favorite of Dad’s for some time so naturally he wanted to photograph it. Thanks to Kermit we were able to.
The major highlight for the workshop was the P51C Mustang. Photographing the Duck, Sunderland, TP-40, and a few other planes, was absolutely marvelous but the P51C was just beautiful. The amount of detail and time spent in this plane is obvious. The plane is painted in the colors of the Tuskegee Airmen, in particular it was painted in the colors of the groups ace Lee Archer. Although not seen here, the plane actually has his signature on the armor platting in the cockpit. Most of the morning was actually spent around this plane. Once the sun came up and the fog left we spent hours working these planes from the ground all the way up to the top of a ladder. It was amazing. This one plane took over an hour to shoot all the angles and details, and even then i know there were images missed.
Like i said the sun rose and the fog began to disperse. In a normal morning shooting statics we tend to spend a couple of hours at location. Usually before sunrise to 8am or 9am. Not long, a couple of hours and then it’s breakfast. Well this morning was so good that we arrived at 6am and didn’t leave until 10am when the museum actually opened to the public. It was that good of a shoot, no one wanted to stop. I can honestly say that there are more images in my files then there is time to process them and put them up on my blog. The last plane that caught my eye, was of course the PBY which had a great background with the ground fog. I still love this plane, can’t wait to see it in the air, and i thought i would share it with you all.