Wings Over Waukegan

With the growing number of overcrowded “cookie-cutter” airshows, I feel this event is a hidden gem. Wings Over Waukegan is Warbirds Heritage Foundation’s one-day annual airshow which is held at Waukegan National Airport. For me, I fancy this event due to the well-lit show orientation and the closeness of the crowd line to both the taxiway and the active runway. Photographically, this combination never disappoints. Huge shout out to the members of Warbird Heritage Foundation as well as the dedicated staff and volunteers for their amazing efforts during such a unique event.

Click on Thumbnails to view larger images.

Gear used:

Canon EOS 90D DSLR

Canon EOS 5DSR DSLR

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Canon EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

Canon EF 500mm F/4.5L USM

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BE SURE TO CHECK OUT

Return to Thunder Over Michigan

Seattle Seaplanes

For my next adventure, I headed to Seattle, Washington for a long weekend. And due to my wide variety of activities, I’m going to split it up into three posts.

Part Three: Seattle Seaplanes

During my adventure in Seattle, I wanted to do some seaplane spotting. I knew that there were many seaplane services in the area, but I felt finding a good location was going to be problematic. “Which Sea base would be most spotter-friendly? Along with how are the lighting conditions? And if I manage to find a location, would I have enough focal length to capture the action?” My first attempt was less than desirable. I googled “Seaplane spotting in Seattle” and got a bunch of locations to spot at SEA. Which is the airport code for Seattle-Tacoma Airport. I did come across Seattle Seaplanes on the east side of Union Lake, but they are a smaller operation with few arrivals and departures. Plus, the location was limiting photographically. But on Sunday, I was determined to find some seaplane action. After a brief trip down the rabbit hole, I came across Kenmore Air on the south side of Union Lake. I don’t know why I didn’t find them sooner, being one of the larger operations with tons of arrivals and departures. I managed to find a wonderful location, Goose Beach on the shore next to their sea base. And with my 90D and the 100-400mm Mk2, I had plenty of focal length to capture the aquatic aviation action. From there, I was able to catch the last few moments of landing, then taxiing to the Sea base along with the unloading and loading of passengers. For departing aircraft, the location provided a unique viewpoint to photograph the pushing away from the pier, start-up, and taxiing out for takeoff. Was there about half an hour before noon and the Sun was overhead but was behind me which lit up not only the props of approaching Seaplanes but water splashing from under the pontoons. I vigorously shot there for about 2 hours and took more pictures than the previous two days in Seattle. The time I spent there surpassed my expectations and it would be an understatement to say that I had a blast.

Thanks for looking,

Steven

Click on Thumbnails to view larger images.

Gear used:

Canon EOS 90D DSLR

Canon EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

If you like what you see, consider hitting the “Like” button or maybe start to follow my little blog!

Check out Part One, Photo Mission: Seattle

Don’t forget about Part Two: Street Photography Around Seattle

Seattle Adventures

For my next adventure, I headed to Seattle, Washington for a long weekend. And due to my wide variety of activities, I’m going to split it up into three posts.

Part One: Photo Mission: Seattle

After the electric-charged photo flights above LAX, there was no question whether I was going to schedule one for my upcoming Seattle adventure. Classic Helicopter Corp is based out of Auburn municipal airport which is south of Seattle and offers a range of services to suit your needs. I chose an hour-long Instagram photo flight that covers both the views of downtown Seattle and the beauty of the natural landscape of the surrounding area.

I’m not going to share a play-by-play commentary of my photo flight. I hope my images will speak for themselves. I do want to share a fun moment of a series of images of the Space Needle. At the time of my flight, a TFR (temporary Flight Restriction) was about to go into effect over the downtown area due to a Mariners game. Meaning, we were not able to spend as much time above the downtown area as I wanted. One image I had envisioned before the start of this adventure, was of the Space Needle with the Seattle skyline in the background. And with minutes to spare, we did two quick orbits around the Needle. To put into perspective how close we orbited, I was using my 18-135mm lens and as we got closer and closer, 18mm was just barely wide enough to show the needle and whatever was behind it. While caught up with the breathtaking point of view and the pace of the circling, I felt I had missed my shot. It wasn’t until after the flight and back in my hotel looking at my results that I realized I did indeed have captured the shot I was after. I was so intensely focused on the Space Needle itself and composing the shot, that I never saw the Seattle skyline pass by in the background.

Here’s a list of things I saw during my Photo flight. 

Boeing Field, Blue Origin Headquarters, Starbucks Center (Starbucks headquarters), T-Mobile Park, Space Needle, Lake Union, Gas Work Park, Husky Stadium, Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, The house of Bill Gates along with Jeff Bezos, Bellevue skyline, Snoqualmie Falls, and Mount Si from Twin Peaks.

Click on thumbnail to view large image.

Big shoutout to Craig Simon and Catroins “Cat” Adam for their friendly service and amazing hospitality. If you’re on Instagram, check out and follow @seattlehelitours.

Until next post,

Steven


Gear used:

Canon EOS 90D DSLR

Canon EOS 5DSR DSLR

Canon EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

If you like what you see, consider hitting the “Like” button or maybe start to follow my little blog!

Continue the Adventure with Part Two, Street Photography Around Seattle

And don’t forget about Part Three: Seattle Seaplanes

A Beginners Guide to Aviation Photography

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.

Disclaimer

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,

Steven

All images in this post were shot on iPhone 11 Pro Max.

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