It always amazes me what people are able to create to accomplish certain jobs. The NASA Super Guppy is one of those creations. This very odd shaped plane was designed to carry equipment that was too long or tall for commercial cargo planes. The Fuselage was actually taken from a C-97J Turbo Stratocruiser, which was the military version of the Boeing 377. There are only two survivors in the world one of which can be seen regularly in Houston, TX as it is being used by NASA.
A couple of years ago Dad and I were in Houston at Ellington Field and had the chance to photograph this very bizarre looking aircraft. When we first saw it he said to me, “doesn’t that look like one of those aliens from Mars Attacks!?” I just laughed. Every time I think about the Guppy it makes my head hurt trying to figure out how something that bulbous could actually fly. I found it somewhat fitting today since my head just stopped hurting from a cold. Designed to carry massive parts for NASA, this Super Guppy is one of two left airworthy in the world. The nose came off of a 747 but everything else was custom built around it. Amazing piece of engineering in all honesty.
If there is one thing that I have learned shooting airplanes is that the sun while able to create some of the most beautiful light, can also be one of the best backgrounds. Everyone has seen an image with a starburst in it. It was a very popular trend for a while, then it died away and no it was come back. That little pop of light peaking through some corner of the image usually behind some object. Well between the shots of the light hitting the subjects and the starbursts, come the backlit subjects in which the sun is just a glow. With the power of programs like Adobe Camera Raw, being able to photograph a subject that is silhouetted against the sun, can easily have the shadows brought up to see all the details. These three images, all shot with the D4 and 24-70 AF-S, are great examples of backlit subjects with the fuselages brought out with just one slider. Easy finishing technique to make a big impact.
Here’s my fun Friday post. At Wings over Houston I had the great opportunity to go inside NASA’s Super Guppy. It’s just an amazing plane that has such an irregular look to it that it makes you scratch your head and ask, “how does it fly?” Seriously it’s funky looking, but it actually has a purpose. It’s one of only 5 ever built and it is the only flying example in the world. It transports big oversize equipment. It can hold a 747 fuselage inside of it! It was originally a 747 redesigned a built to accommodate bigger equipment. the front nose swings off and the items are pushed into it’s belly. the inside is 111ft long and 25ft high. It’s impressive!
This is inside looking towards the tail. Geometrically it’s an amazing pattern with the ribs but one can only imagine how long it would’ve taken to fasten all those panels down. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.