For the next couple of days the Unlimiteds are flying at the Reno Championship Air Races, truly an amazing spectacle to behold! The planes are loud, fast and cool. I spent a lot of years at the Air Races and they were always a ton of fun. This shot of Voodoo was taken three years ago the last time I was there. I hope everyone at the races have a good safe racing weekend.
This past week I was home in California with the folks working on a few projects with them and yesterday after they got back from their trip to Minot we met up in Reno at the Reno Air Races. Now for those that have followed my blog for a while you probably know that we started going to the races in 2009 and took an absence the last couple of years. Well a very good friend of ours who is part of the crew on Voodoo asked us to come up to take a couple of pictures. An unplanned, spur of the moment idea turned into a really great day which brings up the lesson behind this post. Just show up.
A lot of people ask how you make these great opportunities happen in aviation and the answer is you show up. We didn’t plan on going but we had a friend who wanted us there so we went. Now if you’re starting out the answer is real easy. You go online to find a list of airshows that are happening around the US, like this one, then you just go. A day pass is $10 and you walk around, take pictures and talk to people. It’s amazing what happens when you just be sociable. Every aviation project I’ve worked on has basically started with this process. It’s really basic but it works. This shot of the P-51 Mustang Voodoo was taken with the D5 and 70-200 VRII in high speed crop. As I said I wasn’t planning on going so I didn’t have my 200-400 VR with me. But by showing up I got a couple shots and kept those connections I’ve made over the years alive and that’s what you need to do.
There are some things we come to expect from the Air Races and one of those things is the lack of clouds. Normally we get lucky and have just one day of good clouds to go with the planes but for some reason this year we had clouds almost every day. Heck the day i drove in it started snowing outside of Sparks! That same night they had an amazing thunder and lightning storm over the field. Sadly they couldn’t find a subject to put with the skies.
Thursday we had another great cloudy day with amazing thunder heads brewing to the east. They never got to Stead nor did we have much overhead but with the combination of the 200-400 and getting low, Voodoo stacked up pretty nicely with the sky. Voodoo was pulled out to do a maintenance warmup, testing the engine making sure it was ready for the next heat.
Voodoo is always an interesting photo subject, the paint scheme and team shirts just stick out with every background. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes it doesn’t. The problem i seem to find is that good time to shoot Voodoo when the paint scheme isn’t overpowering to the point that you just can’t look at it. The mid afternoon light works decently here but it still could’ve been better. It was still fun to watch the team do their usual drills as they were getting ready for the next race.
Images Captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400 VRI, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film