It’s been seven years since I’ve been to Yankee Air Museum annual event, Thunder over Michigan. And this year was great year to return. All the familiar sights and sounds of vintage aircraft coming to life and soaring above Willow Run airport. It was a good opportunity for me to catch up with a bunch of fellow aviation geeks and photographers. I had forgotten just how entertaining they can be.
I had only two reasons for attending this year’s event. The first being the Dakota Territory Air Museum newly restored P-47 Razorback named “Bonnie” was supposed to attend. Unfortunately, she had a mechanical issue at EAA Airventure and was unable to make the trip over to Willow Run. And the second was Dan Filer’s MiG-23UB “Flogger”. Which suffered an in-flight emergency during the show on Sunday, forcing the crew to eject. The MiG was destroyed in the crash. After witnessing such a horrible accident, I can’t tell you how relieved I was to hear that both pilots were safe and no one on the ground was injured.
I have to give a ginormous thanks to Kevin Walsh, all the staff and volunteers of The Yankee Air Museum for putting together another wonderful show along with the superb level of professionalism due the MiG accident. Thank You!
During the two-day event, I shoot 8,887 images. Here’s 60 of my favorites. Enjoy!
Click on thumbnail to view large image.
Canon EOS 90D DSLR
Canon EOS 5DSR DSLR
Canon EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
Canon EF 500mm F/4.5L USM
iPhone 11 Pro Max
If you like what you see, consider hitting the “Like” button or maybe start to follow my little blog!
This has been something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time now. Years in the making and I’m finally wrapping my head around how to present it into easily digestible and snack-size portions. It’s something I wish I had when I started my journey into Aviation Photography myself. A guide driven by years of experience to steer my boiling-over energy in an enlightening and fruitful direction. If you shoot Canon, Nikon, Sony, or whatever, I want this guide to offer the same advice for any aviation enthusiast that wants to begin photographing aircraft.
This is not the only way to photograph aircraft and aviation events. This is information that I have learned over the years that helped me better my skills while photographing aircraft and it may or may not work well for you. If you’re just getting into photography, this is not for you. This is not a guide on teaching the fundamentals of photography. But it is intended to guide someone who has an understanding of the principles of photography and wants to start photographing aircraft and aviation events.
Part One: Starting Your Journey
I’m sure you have a great many questions, and I will try my best to answer them all. But I want to begin by asking you some of my own. And hopefully, with your answers, you can use them as a compass as you begin this adventure. Questions such as, how do you define Aviation Photography? What are you trying to accomplish? And finally, what type of Aviation events are you interested in photographing?
When I ruminate about Aviation Photography, I don’t think about the countless airshows and aviation events I want to attend. But I do continually ponder how am I going to capture unique photos of vintage aircraft from my ever-growing list. From new restorations to specific heritage flight combinations. For me, it is a passion that is an inseparable part of my being. So much so, that somehow if it became illegal to photograph aircraft, I would be an enthusiastic hardened criminal. I would fight to the bitter end to continue to do what I love. It is something that I’m never going to stop trying to master. But that’s how I define Aviation Photography. So, “How do You define it?” There’re no wrong answers. Make it whatever you want it to be. If it’s seaplanes, gliders, helicopters, warbirds, commercial airliners, business jets, or whatever…. Shoot what you love. It will show in your images.
On to the next important question, What are you trying to accomplish with your Aviation Photography? Are you trying to capture every major airliner that flies in and out of your local airport? Or do you want to capture your experiences at air shows and aviation events? Maybe you’re combining your love of aviation with photography. It could be as simple as wanting to try something outside of your comfort zone. Again, only you can determine what it is you’re trying to achieve. If you don’t know what you want to accomplish but you still have the urge to go photograph aircraft, don’t give up. Keep experimenting with different events and venues until you discover Your Path on this new photographic journey. I’ve always felt having a sense of purpose while behind your camera is important when creating images and produces far better results than aimlessly wandering around hoping for something interesting to happen.
And the last question I want you to consider is “What type of Aviation events are you interested in photographing?” Aviation Photography offers many different perspectives and opportunities to photograph aircraft and they each have their own unique challenges. Some are fast-paced, and others are laid back and slow. If you’re unsure about what type of events you want to attend, I would say go to as many different types as possible. Just don’t restrict yourself to just one type. In Part Two of this series, I will at length discuss the many types of events within Aviation Photography.
With your answers, hopefully, you have discovered Your definition of Aviation Photography, have some sense of purpose, and have an idea of the type of subjects you’re interested in photographing. If you’re asking yourself, why did I start with a series of questions and not jump into what’s the appropriate settings to shoot jets along with a list of must-see shows or events? Because you wouldn’t learn anything, nor would it help you grow as a photographer. To creatively envision a shot, then relentlessly chase after it and successfully capture it is far more rewarding than hoping on getting lucky. Like other art forms, this is a learning process and it’s going to take time. Some learn faster than others but remember it is not a race. This is YOUR journey into Aviation Photography. Travel it well at your own convenient pace. But understand along the way you’re going to screw up a bunch of shots, use the wrong settings, pick terrible shooting locations, and totally forget about the sneak pass. And that’s absolutely fine as long as you learn from your mistakes. Remember, anyone who calls themselves an “Aviation Photographer” has made the same mistakes you’re going to make. And if they say they haven’t, they’re a fucking liar.
Until next post,
All images in this post were shot on iPhone 11 Pro Max.
If you like what you see here, click the “Like” and “Follow” button. Along with feel free to leave a Comment below.