Inspiration

This is the second part in a series I call “Exploring My Creativity”. An examination of MY creativity. Being a creative person, this is something I feel I must do to expand my creative thinking. Know one self.  A very large part of who I am is my creativity. As long as I can remember, I have been creative and doing creative things. And it seems to grow more complex the older I get. At the start of 2018, I told myself I wanted to embrace the idea of “Concentration and not Validation”. To focus on me and what drives me to be creativity. Check here to read part one of “Exploring My Creativity”.

The second part of my creativity is my Inspiration. If Passion is my fire, then Inspiration is my fuel. Without it, the fire does not burn bright or fierce. It keeps my creativity going. And like any fuel, the quality of it is what’s important. You don’t want to fill up a Ferrari 812 Superfast with 87 octane. You want 93 or better! I’m not looking for material that is “kind of cool”. I want amazing, beautiful, captivating and most of all it must inspire me to keep being creative. Things that get my gears turning and or gets me to think about something differently.

My Inspiration has is a routine. Like my Passions, it must be nurtured along with be well maintained. My routine to find inspiring material is search, review, weed out, search more. It comes for various and sometimes odd places. So, everyday I take time to search and look for new inspiring material. Doesn’t matter how I feel. If I’m upset, frustrated or just tired. Most times it helps me get out of whatever funk I’m in and loosen up my gears of creativity. It doesn’t mean I find new material everyday. But went I do find something, I save it to my PC and on One Drive (Microsoft cloud storage) so I always have access to it from my phone. I have a folder for each of my Passions, model making, photography, artwork (for illustrations) and writing. These are my digital inspirational boards or Vision walls.

What I find inspiring in the past, may not speak to me the same today. Because of that, I must maintain my inspirational material. About once every few months, I’ll go through my  folders and remove any material that no longer inspires me. Two or three images at the most. What inspires me is different for each of my Passions. For example, things that inspire me about photography does not inspire me with model making along with things that inspire me about writing and blogging does not inspire me to do illustrations.

I want to go through a few of my Passions sources of Inspiration. Let’s begin with photography. I search Flickr for generally all-around photographic subjects. I’m not saying the best images are there, just that there is something different every day. Everything from landscapes, wildlife, floral to portraits. Both black & white and color. As I look through those images, it reminds me of when I first started my adventure into photography, shooting anything and everything. It helps me keeps that mindset of discovery and playfulness fresh in my mind.

Some days it is painful, browsing through countless images. And other days, it can be refreshing and re-energizing. It’s those days I can get lost into the “rabbit hole” in the search for material. One thing I find wonderful about Flickr, is went you find someone who has a ton great image. It’s that discovery and seeing the work from of other creative souls, I find that incredibly inspiring. One thing I must be conscious of is to just seek out what I find inspiring and not critique and judge other’s images. No good will come from me looking down on ANY one’s images. We all must understand that everyone learns at different speeds. And not everyone will like YOUR images. 

photography image

On to Aviation photography, back in the day we had Fence Check. Which at it peak was nothing short of amazing. But now it is long gone. And there has not been an equal in aviation photography forums to fill that void. I tried Instagram for a while and did not like it. I felt it was more a popular contest then anything else. Along with the limited image size, which I did not care for. There are a few aviation threads on various photography forums. But I find these threads move fast, and images get buried in the thread due to the speed of the forum. Yes, these threads are a great source for inspirational material, but they are not consistent. I have found that Airliners.net proves a good mix of aviation subjects consistently. Yes, there are ton of documentary photographers that shoot nothing but airliners and are set in their ways. Not everyone who post images there share that mindset. It is those who think outside of that box are the photographers I’m interested in seeing their work. Photographers who understand and use the elements of design in his or her images. Over the years, surprising I have managed to find a fair number of inspiring images there. There is also AirFighter.com but there is more to aviation photography then just war machines.

 Into my love of model making. I been building models since I was seven. 35 years later, I still love playing with plastic. One source of inspiration for me to building anything, comes down to a single question, “What if…” I’ve built models for competition in the past and all the research and kit correcting is no longer enjoyable. So, I started to build the things I wanted to make. That’s where my favorite question comes into play. What if Israel had A-10 Thunderbolt II? What would they look like? How would they modify them?  What I find inspiring in model making, is the imagination of the idea along with the craftsmanship of the model. This doesn’t mean that every model I find inspiring is a “What-if” builds. It could be the way a model is weathered, a paint scheme or the level of detail in a scale. Even difficult paint jobs have always been a source of inspiration. Like natural metal finish, splinter pattern or a digital camouflage.

Model making image

My current builds. From the top down, 2 seat Su-33, a Forward-swept wing Su-33 and a Carrier based Su-34. All 1/48 scale

Craftsmanship is huge for me. Doesn’t matter if it’s a “What-if” or a “Real world” build, a well-built model is always motivating. Some of the best model I’ve seen are ones that when you look at them, you can’t figure out what scale they are. I have seen 1/72 scale model with so much detail, you would think it is 1/48 or larger. Something else I love, is when someone takes a substandard kit and turns it into a thing of beauty. Like Cyrus Tan 1/48 Monogram F-14D Tomcat. If you have ever put together this kit, you know just how much work he put into his build. Also, I find inspiring is when someone kit bash or modify something that looks believable or turn it into something even more interesting like this, 1/18 Spitfire Mk. XIVe – Race #80 built by Peter aka “Airscale” over on Large Scale Plane forum. He started with HpH 1/18 Seafire FR47 which has fiberglass fuselage and resin detail bits. Then he converted it into a Spitfire Mk. XIVe and skinned with it in aluminum litho plate! The amount of time and work along with research that going into a project like this is absolutely astonishing. His work in progress thread is over 160 pages! But if you are like me and love model making, it is worth spending some time going through it.

He does truly mind-blowing and inspiring work. Which pushes me to try to do more with my models. To experiment with new techniques and materials. It sounds so cliche but thinking outside the box. To be outside of my comfort zone. With all of Passions, if I’m just doing that same thing, using my same techniques, I’m not growing.

Blogging, my newest Passion. 2018 is my second year of sharing with you all some of my thoughts. I posted more last year then this year. I’m still learning each time I post and I’m not sure what direction it is headed in. Yeah, I struggle with grammar and spelling. But I’m not going to let that stop me. I can’t, I enjoy sharing too much. So, what inspires me to write? My personal drive to be heard and to share my experiences that taught me something valuable. I have always liked the idea of passing on knowledge I have learn from other or from my own experiences. I’m still sorting out what it is going to be. Just like my photography, I’m looking for unique and personal experiences to share.

Blog image

I wanted to share my inspirational folders with you all, but I don’t feel it is right to share others images and work with out their permission. But my goal is to have my work fit into my inspiration folders. Not trying to match or copy someone else work but to have my work look as if it belongs in my inspiration folders, having the same flavor and feeling. To sum it up, I’m inspired by Photographers whose images can tell a story, Model makers not kit builders along with great Storytellers. What inspires you? Feel free to share in the comments below. If you like what you see and read here, click the “Like” button or start to follow my blog.

 

Until next time,

Steven

 

 

A Beginners Guide to Aviation Photography: Part two

Types of Aerial events and locations

Troll disclaimer. This is not the only way to photography aircraft and aviation events. This is information that I have learned and what works well for me. My tips and tricks may not work well for you. My goal is to share what I have learned with others.

Knowledge without application is meaningless. –Thomas Edison

Hopefully you have read part one of this series and have some idea of what you want to shoot and maybe started to form your own opinion of Aviation photography. If not, go and hit up this, Part one: Some thoughts on Aviation Photography.  This series is for those photographers whose passion for aviation is just as strong as his or her love for photography. Creating unique and lasting images of aviation subjects that are more than just snap shots. If that is not what you are looking to do, then click away.

If you are still with me, Part two is to help shed some light on what types aviation events and locations there are to choose from. I’m going to try and do my best with a breakdown of the types of show and events. Here’s what I came up with the following: Airshows, Fly-ins, Air races, Spotting, Aviation museums, Bone yards and Base visit/Exercises. Note I did not include air-to-air photography. Most likely someone beginning in Aviation photography will not get a chance to do air-to air. Nor am I saying that these are the only events and locations to photography aircraft, just a good base to start with.

Just a heads up, this is going to be a lengthy post because of amount of information. I recommend you click on, read the various links within this post along with doing some research on your own. There is more information out there than what is here. And again, this is not set in stone, the events and locations that I list are not the only places to see and shoot aviation subjects. My hope is that this can help you find locations where you can capture your images.

Airshows

 The most common and frequent events are Airshows. Airshows are held in various locations. On military bases, at beaches and at local airports. Not all airshows are the same. I like to break them down to Traditional, Military open houses, Warbirds, Beach, Helicopter and larger International Airshows. Each has something different to offer. Let’s start with the traditional airshow.

 The traditional airshow will be most common event to attend. It’s the run of the mill show with a mix bag of civilian performers and military demos. These shows are great for those who are just “getting their feet wet” so to speak. With many different opportunities to help you figure out what you enjoy shooting.

Here’s a few good starter airshows

Cleveland National Airshow                          Burke Lakefront Airport                                 Labor Day weekend

Wings over Houston                                        Ellington Airport                                                Late October

Vectren Dayton Air Show                              Dayton International Airport                        Late June

London Airshow                                                London International Airport                       Early September

 

Military Open house shows like NAS Oceana in VA Beach, VA and Nellis AFB Aviation Nation in Las Vega, NV, are superb opportunities to see many types of military hardware. Open house show is very common in the US and Canada. Most of the larger Air Force, Navy as well as Marine airbases has some type of Open house event.  Some are annually, and others are bi-annually. In the US, they are free to the public. It’s a good chance to see other units and squadrons other than the demo teams take to the skies. Open house show has a higher number of military demos than civilian performer and most likely have a jet team like the USAF Thunderbirds, USN Blue Angels or RCAF Snowbirds as the headliner.

Here’s a few well liked Open house shows

MCAS Yuma Air Show                                     MCAS Yuma, AZ                 March

Andrews Air Show & Open House              Andrews AFB, MD,              Sept

NAS Oceana Airshow                                      NAS Oceana, VA                  Sept

MCAS Miramar Air Show                               MCAS Miramar, CA            Sept

NAS JAX Air Show                                             NAS Jacksonville, FL         Nov

Nellis AFB Aviation Nation                             Nellis AFB, NV                     Nov

Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show           NAS Pensacola, FL               Nov

 

Warbirds shows like Planes of Fame out at Chino, CA and WWII Weekend at Reading, PA focus on WWII aircraft of all types, from the P-51 Mustang to the B-17 Flying Fortress. You are likely to see reenacted, warbird aerobatics, along with some formation flying. Most are organized and or hosted by museums like the Military Aviation Museum in VA, Beach, VA and Warbird Heritage Foundation in Waukegan, IL. Military Demo sometime perform at a warbird shows but not all the time.

Here’s a few of the more popular Warbird shows

Planes of Fames                                               Chino, CA                                          May      

Mid-Atlantic World War II Weekend           Reading, PA                                      June

Duxford Flying Legends                                 Duxford, UK                                     July

Shuttleworth Military Pageant                     Bedfordshire, UK                             July

Thunder Over Michigan                                 Ypsilanti, MI                                     Aug or Sept

 

Beach Airshow are just like traditional airshows, but the flying and performing it’s at a beach and not at an airport. Beach shows has its pluses and minuses. Let start with the good, a very good possibility for vapor. Water evaporating for a body of water into the air equals humidity. Also, your background most likely will be uncluttered. The horizon and sky make for a simple and clean background along with shows a sense of location. Shows at the beach are great show to bring the family along. The sand, the surf and the sun is a great entertainer for those who are bored with the flying and the noise.

For me, the biggest negative of a beach show is the location of the airshow box. The air space where aircraft are permitted to perform during a show or aerial event is called the airshow box. The show line, a visual reference line to aid pilots with orientation during the performance, runs down the center of the airshow box. 1,500 ft from the show line is the crowd line/spectator area. At most aerial events, one of the active runways is the show line. Most likely the show line at a beach show will be marked with a ship of some sort, large and very noticeable. 9 times out of 10, the water 1,500 ft from the shore is not deep enough for a ship. Remember, it must big enough for pilots to easily spot. With the show line so far from shore, more focal length is needed to obtain a larger view of your subjects.  To get closer, one could shoot from a pier or even a boat anchored close to the airshow box.

Here’s a few major beach shows around the US.

Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach           Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh, NY                 May

Miami Beach Air & Sea Show                     South Beach, Miami Beach, FL                               May

Milwaukee Air & Water Show                    Bradford Beach, Lakefront, Milwaukee, WI      July

Chicago Air & Water Show                          Lake Michigan Lakefront, Chicago, IL                 Aug

 

Helicopter shows are not as numerous as the other types. But helicopters are powerful and diverse aircraft that are very photo friendly. Helicopters present the same shooting challenge as shooting a prop aircraft. Shooting slow enough to blur the main rotor and still maintain a sharp image of the subject. There is a wide range of different types that could attend. From air ambulance, aerial cranes, firefighting, law enforcement, media/news, search & rescue, military to personal craft. I searched the web for countless hours and only came up with three heli shows and one of them is in hiatus. And have no idea if Rotors and Ribs will ever be repeated. If you get a chance to go to a helicopter only show, defiantly go and photo it up.

American Heroes Air Show          Lakeview Terrace, CA                     November

RotorFest                                        West Chester, PA                                 hiatus due to budgetary constraints

Rotors & Ribs                                  Goshen, ID                                             ???

 

International airshows are where you’re going see a bunch of new toys from many different countries from around the world. These are larger multi day shows that show typically attracts over 150,000 spectators over a weekend. Some of these shows cater photographers with early morning photo tours, arrive and departure day as well as photo pits. These features are not free so be prepared to spend some coin.

Royal International Air Tattoo                  RAF Fairford, England                July

MAKS                                                              hukovsky Airport                        Biennial

Avalon Airshow                                            Avalon Airport                             March

Abbotsford International Airshow           Abbotsford, Canada                    August

Aero India                                                      Bengaluru, India                         February (Biennial)

 

To find shows near you, check out this site http://www.milavia.net/airshows/

 

You can search airshows by location, US and Canada, Europe and rest of the World. Has links to shows websites and lists aircraft that are scheduled to attend. One feature I really like is the Google Map link of the airport, so you can get an idea of the runway orientation along with where the tarmac is. Knowing where the tarmac is will you good indicator of how and where the show will be laid out. It’s not a sure thing but what also helps is an airshow map. On some (not all) airshow websites, organizers will have a map showing the layout of the show. Where the active runway, crowd line, static display, tents, bleacher etc… From this you can start to think about possible shooting locations, for takeoff and landing along with during flying. Also start to think about the path of the sun during the day. On Earth (I know some of you are from another planet LOL), the sun rises in the east and set west. What direction is the crowd line facing and how does it relate to the path of the sun? Are you facing the sun or is it at your back? Will the sun cross over the runway? Is their better light in the morning or in the afternoon? These are some of the questions you need to think about whatever airshow or aviation event that you are planning to attend.

 

Fly-ins

 A fly-in is a pre-arranged gathering of aircraft, pilots and passengers for recreational and social purposes, define by Wikipedia. Offer a up close and personal view of owners and their aircraft. Yes, I have Oshkosh under fly-in’s, it technically is. The fly-in’s that I have attended were laid back and casual. In the morning aircraft start showing up and parking. Pilots, family and friends welcome one another. There may be a late breakfast or lunch. Some might have seminars or not. Not all fly-ins are the same. But don’t expect any aerobatic, demos and or photo passes. It is not that kind of event. It’s local pilots meeting up, hanging out and talking shop. And at the end of the day, everybody says their good byes, do their pre-flight checks, take off and head back home. The Larger fly-in like Fun & Sun and Oshkosh does have daily airshow. Like airshows, fly-ins are always one going on. Fairly easy to find, you can google “fly-ins (your city or state)”. You’ll be surprised how many will pop up. I came across that site that I like, http://www.flyins.com/Has an easy to use search function.  Can search by airport code, zip code, state and time frame. There is a calendar as well.

Sun ‘n Fun                                        Lakeland, Florida                            Spring

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh               Oshkosh, Wisconsin                      July

 

 Spotting

I know there are some photographers look down on spotter and spotting. I’m not one of them. Shot what YOU love! If your new to aviation photography, spotting offer a great opportunity for you to try new techniques as well as it’s great to try out new gear in a predicable environment. My definition of spotting is simple, hanging out at an airport of some sort and photographing what’s going on. If it’s taking off, landing or flying by a known area. It’s not just airliners taking off and landing. You can spot around military bases, locate municipal airports, heliports and known low level training routes use by various nations. But there are a few things you need to be aware of. Especially around any military bases. There are a bunch of unwritten rules on spotting. There are a bunch of good site out there with a shit ton valuable info to help you spot safely and hassle free. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to research the location as well as the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of spotting.

Good source of spotting info

http://openspotting.net/

Plane Spotting Etiquette

https://www.thebalance.com/plane-spotting-etiquette-do-s-and-don-ts-for-beginners-282641

As well as know you rights as a photographer

https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/photographers-what-do-if-you-are-stopped-or-detained-taking-photographs?redirect=free-speech/know-your-rights-photographers

Do your own research as well, the more you know, the better off you will be. Google is your smart friend, use it! Along with your cell phone. It is a powerful little tool that can help you while spotting or any other type of aviation events. There are a few helpful apps you can use while out shooting. One would by some type of weather radar app, so you see if any bad weather is move your way. I like and use NOAA Weather Radar – Weather Forecast & HD Radar by Apalon Apps. The app is free and has a paid Pro version with no ads. The ads on the free versions are just banners at the bottom of the app.

iTunes store

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/noaa-weather-radar-weather-forecast-hd-radar/id749133753?mt=8

And over on Google play

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apalon.weatherradar.free&hl=en

Other types of apps that is useful while spotting airliners is a flight tracker app and an app to listen to Air Traffic Control.  For flight tracking, the apps that comes to mind is FlightAware and Flightradar24. Both track flight in real time, over 10,000 aircraft. Bunch of cool and useful features. Below are links to each.

FlightAware app

http://flightaware.com/mobile/

Flightradar24

https://www.flightradar24.com

Listening to air traffic control(ATC) is a very useful while spotting aircraft. You can find out what runways are being use for arrives and which are used for departures. There is an app, but it is not free. You can also use a scanner to listen to ATC.

https://www.liveatc.net/

Here are a few well know spotting locations

Nellis AFB Red Flag                                    Las Vega, NV                           http://www.nellis.af.mil/Home/Flying-Operations/
Mach Loop                                                    Wales, UK                               https://machloop.co.uk/
Rainbow Canyon                                        Death Valley, CA                     http://www.rkellenaers-photography.nl/RainbowCanyon
St Maarten Princess Juliana (SXM)      Saint Barthélemy                    Look Here!!!

More spotting location here, http://www.spotterguide.net/

 

Aviation Museums

I feel there are two types of Aviation museums, non-flying types like the National Museum of US Air Force and the flying type like Military Aviation Museum. I prefer the flying museums due to there are more possibilities for getting a unique shot. Yes, there are a ton of historic aircraft in non-flying museums but remember this, those aircraft are in fixed positions and will most likely be never moved again. Meaning if you see a great image, most likely someone else will too and repeat what you shot or vice versa. I am not saying don’t go to them. Go and enjoy them. But with the mindset of creating images, flying museums are constantly moving their aircraft around and there is a lesser chance of aircraft parked in the same location from day to day.  Most flying museums have an annual airshow featuring their collection along other visiting aircraft from other museums. Some also post on their website their fly dates along with which airshows their aircraft are planning on attending. Museums are always looking for volunteers. Some even have applications on their website. You can offer your photographic services to a local museum. Photograph their day to day operations, restoration projects along with museum events.

 

Air Races

The history of air racing dates to May 23, 1909 in Paris, France; where the Prix de Lagatinerie was held. Four aviators entered, of those two started and either of them finished. And pilots had been racing aircraft ever since. At its height, there were numerous events in North America and Europe but now it has dwindled to two races. The most popular being Reno Air Races held annually in Reno, Nevada and the other is the Red Bull Air Races series, held in various locations around the world. I consider the Red Bull Races more aerobic than racing but still entertaining in its own way. The two are very different from one another. Red Bull fly’s modern custom made high performance aerobatic aircraft like the Edge 540. And at Reno, pilots fly highly modified WWII aircraft like Voodoo, a modified P-51 Mustang. The Red Bull series has two classes and about 8-10 races around the world. As at Reno, there are six racing classes, with three trophy classes in each category, Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

Reno Air Races                                   Reno, Nevada                                                   September

Red Bull Air Races series                location varies                                                   Feb-Nov

 

Aircraft Boneyards

Boneyards are where retired aircraft go for long term storage, to be parted out and or recycled into scrap metal. One of the most well know is 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group or AMARG at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. AMARG is the largest aircraft storage facility in the world with over 4,400 aircraft in its care. Because AMARG is a controlled-access site, it is off-limits to anyone not working there or without the proper clearance. The Pima Air & Space Museum does have a bus tour for the public. AMARG maybe the largest and most famous boneyard but it not the only one. There are others, like Southern California Logistics Airport and Mojave airport, both in California. There is Alice Springs Airport in the Northern Territory of Australia. To find more aircraft boneyards, check out this site below. It has list and maps of boneyards all over the world.

http://www.airplaneboneyards.com/index.htm

One should observe the same rules as spotting when one is in or around an aircraft boneyard. Remember, it’s much better to ask permission then to beg for forgiven with the Cops!

 

Base visit/Exercises

Base visits and exercises are unique opportunities to see the day to day operations of a military unit. From maintenance of aircraft to flying training sorties. Most are organized through public affairs with some legitimate reason for the visit, like writing an article on a unit or squadron for a major publication. That mean having a letter from the editor of the publication stating your intent. And then having Command OK the visit. After that, you or your group must clear a background check before setting foot on the base. If you think you’re going contact the public affairs officer of your favorite squadrons and they’re just going to let you have access to shoot their aircraft, your gravelly mistaken. Base visits are planned months in advance through the proper channels. If you’re fortunate enough to take part in a base visit or exercise, be sure to follow all the rules that your given. You do not want to ruin your group or future groups.

There is Ian Allan Aviation Tours that offers some fantastic tours all over the world, but they are pricey. For more information on these tours, look here

https://www.ianallantravel.com/aviationtours/

 

Again, what I listed is not the only events to see and photography aircraft. What I listed is what I feel is the most popular and readily available aviation’s events. There are other events like night engine run ups and evening/twilight light shows. Which are rare events but are still wonderful opportunities. There is also ultra-lights and home built, sea planes, blimps, ballooning, gliding, hang gliding, crop dusting… Again, there is a lot more information out there than what’s in this post. Again, do your own research on shows and events you want to attend. The more you know the better off you will be. Now hopefully you have an idea of what you want to shoot along with where to find your subjects.

Feel free to share in the comments below as well as if you like my content, click the “Like” button or even start to follow my blog.

Until next time,

Steven

Mos Eisley Cantina

“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy”…. Obi-Wan Kenobi

Space Dive in Detroit hosted a May the Forth celebration.  Here’s a few images of the fun!

May the Force be with You!

EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH

Show 4, Post 2, Part 3: Saturday and Sunday

Day 4 at EAA Oshkosh

Saturday morning in the kitchen and there was Vincent and Chuck eating breakfast, talking about Vincent’s P-51 mustang Ride he got the day before. After a while the rest of the house had woken up and made their way into the kitchen. We all figured out what we were going do for the daily events. It being Saturday that means there is a night show after the daily show. Vincent and Peter were planning on staying for the night show, so they drove over together. Bonnie, Scott and I were planning to meet up with Craig, Gary and Gary in Warbird alley. There we were to try to find some re-enactors to pose for the group around various aircraft. Larry was going drop Scott and I off in warbird alley and we were going to meet back with him later.

Down in Warbird alley, we found Ryan and Steven, two great guys willing to pose for us. After Ryan was all suited up, we made our way over to Eric Hollingsworth’s P-40 Warhawk. It quickly became clear that this was not the first time Ryan, Steven and Gary Daniel has done a photo shoot like this. Ryan and Steven both were great, patience, took suggestions very well and suggested ideas themselves. Gary Daniels too was just as great, he did a wonderful job with Ryan and Steven fine turning their positions as well as asking the group how we felt. Everybody was very respectful of each other and our sounding, we played very well with each other. After we felt we had enough of the P-40, we move on to Jack Larson’s beautiful P-51 “Sierra Sue II”. There we continue the same routine of position, shoot, experiment, shoot, all the while being mindful of others and we were starting to draw a crowd! For me, that shoot was the most memorable during my 2017 trip to Oshkosh!

After that charged shooting sessions, Gary Daniel, Scott Slingsby and I slowed down and got a bit to eat. From there Scott and I made our way over the vintage area to see one of the award-winning aircraft.

Later we met up with Larry at the media center, where he got Scott and I a better shooting location in the VIP area. Which was far less crowded than the rest of the show line.

Saturdays airshow was a special for aviation enthusiasts. We got to see all the iconic WWII bombers we all love. Flying in formations that has been seen in well over 60 years, with Fifi and Doc, the last two flying B-29s. This was Doc’s first time at Airventure after a malicious 16-year restoration. Which was followed by a parade of bomber was next with 2 B-29 Superfortresses, 4 B-25 Mitchells and a B-17.

Then the USAF brought all 3 of its heavy hitters together in a rare formation. Leading the pack was the sleek B-2. On one side was the aging B-52 soldiering on with over 50 years of service. And on the other, was the B-1. Also known as the Bone (B-one), looks like it feared the B-2 by how far out of the formation he was. But oh well….

Each of the bombers performed various passes. It was refreshing to see the B-2 do a photo pass. Here’s a little fact about the B-52 that performed at AirVenture, B-52 number 61-0007 was brought back into service after sitting in the Bone yard for 7 years.

2017 marks the first time the USN Blue Angels flight demonstrate team perform at AirVenture. I have seen the Blues many time and there are always entertaining as well as very photogenic in the afternoon light at Oshkosh.

The finale of the show was again the USAF Heritage flight. The F-35 lead two P-51 Mustangs on its wings and an A-10 Thunderbolt II in the slot position.

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With the aircraft in the heritage flight landed marking the end of the daily airshow along with the end of the Blue Angels show line. The strangest thing happened, as if someone said “Ready, Get Set, Go!” Everybody grabbed their chairs and started running full speed to the original closer show line for the night show. I wish I took a picture of it but by the time I had figured out what was going on, it was too late.

Making our way to the media center, I realized just how many people were here. During the week, the crowd was not so big, which is understandable. But come the weekend, everywhere you looked there was a sea of bodies. With the number of people there and how traffic was going to be after the night show along with there were no jets flying in the night show, we decided to head back to the house.

Back at house, time to dump cards, find something to eat and prepare for the morning like we did all week long. But Saturday night was a little different, it was the end of the weekly grind. Most of the members in the house was leaving tomorrow and heading home. Scott packed up, said his good byes to everybody and was off to Milwaukee to catch his flight home in the morning. I think everybody went to bed early, but Peter and Vincent stayed for the night show and returned late.

Sunday, Last day at Oshkosh

Time to put the House the way we got it. Making beds, cleaning dishes as well as packing up our cloths and gear. We all said our good byes and exchanged information. With everybody’s car packed and the house locked up, we took a quick group selfie and we all parted ways. On the drive home, I reflected on my experiences from the past week and begin to process the whole trip. My takeaway from EAA AirVenture is that it’s a photo grind. I mean that in good way. The repetition of each day but still looking to do things differently from the day before. Trying to contain the feeling of being overwhelmed by enormous amount of aviation stuff and yet stay focused on my task. AirVenture is something I know my photography (as least now) cannot do it justice. It is something every aviation and photography nerd must experience as least once in his or her life time.

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Until next time,

Steven