Photographers love having lots of gear, that is a known fact in this industry. The reality is sometimes having all that gear is justified because different scenarios result in needing it. Now how to know what is needed and what is not can be tricky but often comes down to experience. I knew when I got the call to fo flying this one beautiful Sunday afternoon that I would not have the right lens. Having been in biplanes before, the 18-35mm would just not be wide enough. A fisheye creates a better perspective but since I didn’t have it I had to make do with what I did have. Now the question is, is it worth getting?
Over the years, if you are a follower of my Dad and thus me, then you’ve probably heard the sentiment that it only takes one to make a shoot worthwhile. That’s a very true sentiment! While it’s always nice to have diversity it can also be very overwhelming to have too many options and thus you might end up not seeing all the details or best photo opportunities of just one subject.
Photography has a lot of ups and downs and it’s important not to get discouraged on those down days. The old saying all good things come to he who waits seems to apply really well in this profession because as quick as we can take a photograph these days, the results of the image are not always so quick. It can take time to see the results and when they are good it’s important to rejoice. We’ve all had to work other jobs sometime in our lives where it’s easy to see the achievements we’ve made at the end of the day. But none of those stack up to when you achieve a single success in your own business. So keep working hard and keep your head up to the sky.
If you ever need a way to help hide a really bad background while adding drama to your aviation images then getting down lower and shooting up can do just that. Whether static or taxing, finding a ditch to stand in or a by just kneeling down you can give that little extra attitude to your shots. Take these Stearmans for example. They were taxiing by at Culpeper and between them and me was a cement rain ditch that was perfect to stand in. Moving forward a couple feet down into the ditch was all it took.
While I was working on some of these images, my roommate looked over my shoulder and said, “you’re still working on that same image?” To which I replied, “no this is another one.” He said, “they all look the same to me.” I can understand why someone would say that or even think that. Same plane, same desert, same photo shoot. But each one has a different story. Those stories are told in the nuances of each photo.
In the direction of the light.
In the background.
And of course in the attitude of the subject. Every little detail changes the story. Even if 99% of the image is the same as the last, that 1% percent difference changes all the rest. Recognizing that difference and showing it, is what makes us photographers.
In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 70-200 VRII, TC-17e, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
I got an email this past week that got me thinking, far more than I care to do but nonetheless some thought. The jist of the email was I should be working with more than I already am. Well, I didn’t know the person nor was their any disrespect in his email but it made me think about what I am doing and what else I could be doing. The reality is there are shots being missed every second I ‘m not behind a camera, and that goes the same for every photographer. There is just no way to be out shooting all the time, capture every photograph, and still make a living.
The images present are a great example of exactly this. Although they were taken a couple weeks ago, I am still working on processing everything to get sent out to people, and happy to do so. That’s just the way it goes. More work comes in, shooting time goes down. Although it may sound like a bad thing, keeping busy right now is a really good thing. Shooting without anything to work towards, although relaxing isn’t really productive.
As I responded in my email, you never know what the future might hold, all you can do is work through what you got and keep planning for the future. In this sense even if I might not be photographing more today, tomorrow I just might be.
In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 200-400 VRII, SunSniper Strap, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
Stearman are just great planes. Don’t need to say anything else about them except that. They certainly don’t have the speed as other fighters do but they have that classic look which i think looks the best when in a sunset. This is a new performer to me, Eddie Andreini and his Super Stearman, modified PR13D. It started out as a primary trainer and was gradually updated to be a performance piece. Eddie isn’t the first Stearman performer to draw in a crowd but definitely has a great show to see.
For several months now Dad and I have been planning our trip to Oshkosh. Oshkosh is one of the largest aircraft gatherings in the world and supposedly one of the most fun. Now I have never been there before so I am totally PUMPED! From everything i keep hearing it sounds like one massive great time that is almost too good to be true. Best part is getting to be there all week!
In the past months I have been on many new adventures, flown with amazing aircraft and met some truly awesome people. All of that has brought me to this point, ready to go to one of the best airshows in the country. From flying with B17’s and P51’s to working with kit planes smaller than ones car, it’s all been one long road of fun. Each new plane and each new experience is just another reminder of where aviation has come from. The same could be said about photography.
Now with every plane comes a whole new history to learn and a new style in which to photography the planes. It becomes clear that with the evolution of aircraft comes the need to photograph the planes in different ways in order to truly show off the planes. Amazingly with all the work with warbirds a new fascination with jets has emerged. Jets allow for more graphic images, harsher shadows and brighter highlights creating contrast between the planes and their environments. With all the variety out there i can’t wait to see what might be at Oshkosh awaiting fresh blood to capture their images.
Even though it has been a long week, i still wanted to show a few images from Gillespie Air Show. These are all Steerman shot from outside a local pilots hanger. He was very nice letting us putz around his hanger for the evening, enjoying the planes the nice evening and particularly his collection of aviation memorabilia inside his hanger. The planes are actually his, three went up and i believe he was in the Steve McQueen plane the silver and blue one. It was a nice simple sunset shoot with the planes heading off into the sun.
The last plane in the line up that Sunday morning was the beautiful Red Baron Steerman. It has a beautiful red paint job that makes it stand out against any background especially with the light that morning. We had a great time shooting it last time and yet again we had another great time. When we first photographed the Baron we had a great red rock for the background, this time it was the green shubberies of the desert. Not sure which one i liked better, it was the light on the ground that was great about this last time. The patchy light added a bit more drama to the ground which i tried to incorporate as much as possible. It was more of a challenge and definitely more on the mind this time, using the background to the best of my abilities.
At first i thought the background was what it was. Since we were working with planes i didn’t think we could change it that much. Keeping the background in mind it easy to get used to when to zoom in and when to go wide. When there was buildings it would be tight, when there was clean backgrounds it was wide. Didn’t always stick to that formula but it was helpful to have.