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.
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:
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.
Images Captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 VRI, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
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.
Bags are packed, cameras in hand, tickets in the pocket and a joy in the heart. It’s off to a new venue and some more stories!
Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
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.
Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 Vr I, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
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.
Great plane, great shoot. This is definitely a plane worth having in the files.
Images captured with Nikon D3, 70-300 Vr, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
It seemed almost customary that the two planes we saw the last time taking off were yet again taking off this time. The F18 Super Hornet and the Steerman. Big difference this time they took off and landed to the south instead of going to the north.
The Steerman looked better, but that’s just me. It caught that glint.
Images captured with Nikon D3, Nikkor AF-S 200-400 Vr, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
Saturday wasn’t the only day of shooting out of the back of a sky van, Sunday proved to be just as much fun, with a twist. The B17 and P51’s were a classic WWII shoot that was spectacular. Sunday was a mismatch of different aircraft, totally in 5 different planes that we got to photograph. It started out with this one, the A36 Bonanza which is one of the best shooting platforms for aviation work and amusingly enough belonged to one of the participants. The pilot for the craft was Casey, same guy that flew Cripes’a’Mighty the P51 the day before. Mom was also in the Bonanza photographing us in the sky van. It was crossfire shooting!
Each plane in separate waves except for the last two which i’l be talking about tomorrow. Next up after the A36 was the RV8, kind of a sporty looking plane but with classic fighter paint job. It didn’t even realize that there were two people in the plane until i looked at the images on the computer. Can’t believe they were able to cram two people into that little thing. The big thing that i noticed throughout the entire shoot, both days, was the light. As we were making the left turn orbit the light constantly shifted lighting up different sides of the aircraft. Everything from back lit, to front lit, to side light, both sides, were happening. The pilots afterward said the best time for the photographers was the worst time for them; staring right into the sun.
The RV8’s are good examples of this fact. The one top one is back lit and the bottom one is top coming out of being front lit. I like both shots it shows what the pilots had to go through and it just creates more variety. At times i would switch exposure comp to try and help a little but it got the point where it was hard to keep up and i was ultimately missing shots.
The third guy up was the Steerman, also known as the Red Baron. There were two Steerman’s in the hangers at CAF a yellow one and the Baron. Out of the two i have to say that the Baron was much more appealing. The red just glimmered.
The Red Baron is definitely one of my favorites form the shoot, from the angles, to the way the light shinned on it, to the background that popped out so well with the plane. It all just came together. Now as i said earlier there are two more planes that we photographed in that shoot, but you’ll have to wait till tomorrow to find out who they are.
Images captured with D3, AF-S Nikkor 70-200 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film