It’s always good to have an outlet for your images no mater what the outlet is. With all the processing I’m doing I decided it would be a good time to put up a few new galleries and park a few more planes in The Shed. The L39 and P40 are not new but I did expand both of their galleries with new images. The PITTS S-1, TS-11 Iskra and L29 Delfin are all new to the site. Each of those planes i have photographed for the last couple of years but am just now having an outlet worthwhile to put them in. Hope you like em.
There really isn’t anything that compares to the Air Races, it truly does stand out on its own. Besides the volume of aircraft that comes to the event, the access we media guys get is just great. Unlike most airshows where there is a rope that we always have to be behind at Stead we get to go right up to the planes. One of the most unique features, which truly makes the Air Races what they are is getting to go out to the Pylons where the planes fly around and shoot from the base up at them.
As the day moves forward we rotate around the different pylons. There is an outer and inner course for the various planes types. The inner course is used by the biplanes, formula one, sport, T6 and part of the Super Sport. It’s very diffuclt to shoot, the planes go by and you follow with them. The challenging part is the steady panning needed to go with the planes as any prop plane needs a slower shutter speed in order to get a blur in the blades. The biplanes are by far my favorites that go around the inner course except for the T6’s. Sports are cool, no doubt but I tend to lean more towards the classic fighter look.
There was one exception this time around, a new plane that none of us had seen before at the pylons. This is a Radial Rocket which has a great look to it. We all gravitated toward it looking like a P47 or even a Hawker Sea Fury. It definitely had that great fighter look to it. Unfortunately I didn’t get many good clicks of the plane. Hopefully it will be there at Reno this year for another crack at it.
Then of course is the T6’s. The T6’s have been a favorite for some time. This year there were eight T6’s at PRS and 4 of them belonged to our good friend Denis Beuhn. Denis is quite a character and won the T6 gold last year. The silver T6 is the newest edition to his fleet fits his style perfectly. What with a red, blue, and yellow plane why not a silver one to balance out the mix. Even though the T6 Texan is a rather common warbird it is great that he keeps so many of them going.
The one unlimited that grabbed the most attention was Rod Lewis’s F7F Tigercat. This is one massive fighter that is flying around the pylons with ease. The unlimiteds and jets are the two classes that most tend to enjoy the most myself included, because we get to be out at pylon 4 which is locally known as the ridge. It’s the one spot where we get to see the planes coming right down at us. It’s a really freakin cool experience seeing them come screaming down at you.
The pylons end up being a long, tiring day of shooting with thousands of images to go through but all well worth it. Time to get back to processing.
Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 VRI, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
Today was the first day of the Pylon Race Seminar. It is the prelude to the Reno Air Races where pilots come with there aircraft to get experience of the track, test plane mechanics or new modifications, and for new racers to get qualified. Now this is my third time to PRS and each time is a little different and all have been just a boat load of fun. This is time is a bit different because the three of us got up here yesterday for the plane flyin. Everyone who is flying this week was supposed to be here yesterday so that they can get there classes done. It was very interesting being here this early, not as many people out, things weren’t quite all setup, and planes kept arriving. It was actually quite relaxing.
Dad and I spent most of the day out amongst the planes watching them come in. We of course talked to a number of friends and even made a few new ones. Now along the way we managed to get a few clicks off, it wasn’t nice morning light nor did we have any clouds. Nope we had full sun light and a rather comfortable day. Not the best shooting conditions but it was shoot or go inside, we went shooting. Now when I go out shooting statics, like any other subject, i look at the background. It really is an important thing to consider especially with planes at an airshow where they are surrounded with other stuff. Whenever we see a plane pulled out with no ropes around it or cars or people it tends to be a good subject. I have no clue what this plane is, nor does it have any really great light on it, it’s afternoon light but it was a nice clean simple shot with no real post processing that made for a good start.
Now I started this week and this event with one real goal in mind, to get a great vertical static shot. Going through my images lately I noticed I didn’t have any great vertical that i would really want to do anything with. I have strong images but nothing that would say, “you should have been here.” Now yesterday as we were talking and walking along we heard that there were a lot of jets this time, the jet class had a lot of new entries. Well that’s kinda cool new planes right. Well the jets are all parked the furthest down the ramp from the media center, it’s a ways to get down there. Having walked it a couple times over the last couple years, especially when the Blue Angels came in 2009, I knew that it just isn’t fun. One of the perks we got his time was a golf cart that made for much smoother sailing.
I talked about my first goal but it dawned on me that there was another one that i might be able to achieve this week with all the jets present, and that would be getting a shot with all the canopies, tails and fuselages together in one shot. See my first Air Race there was a lot of jets and we walked quite a bit of the ramp. Well one morning I was with the guys and Bill Fortney got a shot of the Vampire along with a whole bunch of other jets in the background. It was a really nice shot that I always kind of liked and wanted myself. So i thought, okay I have the 200-400 it’s perfect for compressing the background lets see what happens. So i went around shooting the jets trying to find good groupings with clean backgrounds. Some turned out well, some didn’t but then that’s photography.
The L29 dead center is probably my favorite from the other day, that nose it has just sticks out. The skies were uncooperative as far as clouds go but the foreground had lots of painted lines, which were markings for planes to park and that created a nice lead in which i incorporated as much as i could. Since there was also heat shimmer, getting low and eliminating the sky and background helped reduce the amount of visible shimmer.
Now i got to admit i don’t normally walk around with the 200-400 shooting statics, it tends to be too much especially inside a museum, but this time it was perfect. I didn’t want any other lens to go wider, detail shots were spot on yesterday. We continued around the field watching the planes come in which was fun. The F7F Tigercat came in, as well as the two P51D Mustangs, a P40, a Hawker Sea Fury, lots of L39’s and L29’s and even a couple of Iskras. From everything we saw it seems to be a good event, which means that September Races should be even better.
This last shot seemed fitting because it was not only the reverse of a GA aircraft which was where we started the day but it was also the most complicated in post processing. Not quite as simple as my first shot but still a nice little find. In case any of you were wondering why i put in so much foreground and had the plane so high up in the frame, it’s simple because the sky sucked in that direction. It was washed out icky nothing sky. In that scenario it just seemed wiser no to include too much of it.
Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 VRI, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film
One of our favorite pylons is number four because it has this terrific ridge that we can stand on to photograph the planes that come over it. This particular L39 Jet was flying low one afternoon and decided to fly a little to inside the course, it happens that’s what PRS is for getting used to the course, and went right over the road that marks the boundary. It’s great to see and even better to get a shot of but boy is it hard to get a good shot of. He came over that hill so fast that he was gone in seconds.
Then there are those truly great days when we get the clouds that make the planes shine. Without the clouds the planes just don’t look the same. They look like models against a blue wall. The great thing about June is we get some of those clouds. The pockets are the best part, seeing a plane come whizzing out of one or going into one. Just makes the whole day of standing out there worth while.
Images captured with D3, 200-400 VR, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film