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 24-70mm F/2.8L II USM
Canon EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
Canon EF 500mm F/4.5L USM
iPhone 11 Pro Max
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Since I rekindled my love of photography, I’ve discovered it has an all too familiar rhythm. One that has been secretly and deeply embedding itself into my photography over the years but has just lately moved into the light of my passion. Looking back, this unrevealed rhythm has been consistently setting the cadence of creativity and exploration in my imagery. This rhythm I’ve been subconsciously marching to for years has been a driving force behind many aspects of my philosophy of creating unique images. And has spawned numerous adventures as a result along with a multitude of blog posts. This newly unearthed rhythm has 5 key notes starting with Envision, Chase, Capture,Process,and ends with Share. Let’s take a further dive into each.
It starts with envisioning an idea and setting it as a goal for yourself. It can be as simple as “I want to take some photos of flowers.” Or as complex as “I want to capture the USN Blue Angels sneak pass with a full vapor cone.” It truly doesn’t matter what your subject is or how grand of an idea it is either. You just need to have some direction, just a hint of a loose idea. Whatever you decide, don’t think that it has to be clearly defined with every detail known. Maybe you’re going on holiday, and you want to show a sense of location, or you are trying your eye in a different genre of photography. As long as you are not aimlessly searching for that “Great Shot”. I firmly believe that “Great Shots” begins with an inspiring idea from a creative standpoint and does not just happen. Don’t get it twisted, I’m not saying spontaneity hasn’t produced any mind-blowing images, because it has. But you shouldn’t expect Lady Luck to be waving her magic wand in your direction every time you push the shutter. It’s unrealistic and your results amounts to a waste of time.
That old saying “Knowing is half the battle” is relevant when it comes to chasing down your images. The knowledge of where and when your subject is available is tremendous. Attributes such as the time of day and or season you want to capture your idea. How you want to light your subject. How often is your subject available and how long will it be around? And being patient with Mother Nature because she loves to start tripping when you need her to behave. Chasing the image in your mind’s eye could take hours, days, or even years to capture. It’s paramount that you don’t lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish. And it will test your resolve. Having a plentiful supply of vigilance along with an abundance of patience will aid you in mastering the chase. Remember, you will miss every shot you don’t take.
When the time comes and you see your image about to come to fruition, you must possess a healthy working knowledge of your gear along with an adequate understanding of exposure and composition. Knowing how to change your shutter speed, depth of field, focus point, or any other function without having to look and figure out what button does what. Developing that level of muscle memory only comes with time and experience behind your camera. How you’re going to capture the moment is just as important. What equipment along with what settings to use to successfully capture your idea. Will it require the use of a monopole or tripod, single shot, or continuous shooting to get the best results? Timing is a key factor as well. What amount of time do you have with your subject? You may be attending a multi-day event or just have a half hour with your subject. Regardless, you must make the best use of whatever time is available. Most importantly, how are you feeling? Even the slightest symptom such as headache, congestion, or fatigue can affect how focused you are on your task. Take care of yourself before heading out.
Having an effective post-process routine is necessary for refining your digital images. Knowledge of your post-processing software is crucial, and YouTube, as well as Google, are helpful resources. Whatever software you have, you should know how to import and export your files, maintain a competent understanding of the tools, be able to adjust the exposure, modify the white balance, level the horizon of your photo, and the list of edits goes on and on. A frequently overlooked aspect of post-processing is sorting. Finding that adequate set of images that perfectly expresses your vision. Because the quickest way to lose your viewer’s attention is to show them multiple pictures of the same subject that visually has little to no difference from one another. Finally, file format and location of files are essential as well. Not every platform can recognize the variety of file formats from the multitude of programs.
How you share your imagery along with who you share it with, is equally important. Receiving and learning from non-bias advice is fundamental for us to grow in life as well as with photography. Unfortunately, that doesn’t include family and friends. We all need someone who can offer us honest feedback and not give us sugarcoated responses. And the truth hurts sometimes. But that’s ok as long as we learn something useful from our experiences. On to how you share your photos. Sharing on dead platforms and oversaturated sites is not beneficial for growing your audience and gaining exposure. Knowing how to promote one’s images is not easy and doesn’t happen overnight. This too requires patience and consistency. With the numerous social media platforms, online forums to local photo clubs, there are countless ways to showcase your work and gain exposure.
This rhythm has been a major factor in my growth as a photographer. Relentlessly, pushing me further out of my comfort zone. It’s responsible for developing healthy photographic habits such as coming up with a shooting routine and help with the tedious task of image sorting. Not only has it altered my approach, but it continues to steer my journey into photography to this day. Time and time again, this seasoned rhythm has not failed me in any of my photographic ambitions. If you have been following this blog and reading my posts for any amount of time, you can see all the telltale signs of this rhythm. A prime example is Part Three of my “The Story Behind an Image” series. Where I share how I shot “My 11 Year and 16 Aviation Event Shot”. Each part of this rhythm is clearly shown from beginning to end. And I posted it back in June of 2017, 6 years before I wrote this post.