The Story Behind an Image, Part 6

Ever since 2004, I’ve had a passionate love affair with photography. And come to discover that I have a fondness with photos that comes with a story. Over the years, I have shot a few of them. Here’s the next installment in my “The Story behind an Image” series.

Part 6: The start of a new chapter

This story starts back in 2005 after months of penny-pinching saving, I had finally recovered and upgraded my gear from my break in at my apartment. I acquired at the time Canons new 20D and both their 100-400mm zoom and the 400mm F/5.6 prime lense. But after shooting with both at various events, I felt having them both was redundant. And wanted to narrow it down to one lense I preferred most.

It came down to the classic photographer’s argument of zoom versus prime. What’s more important, versatility or clarity? For me the brighter exposure and its tack sharpness of the 400 5.6 won me over. As well as its image quality was far superior to the zoom and it was an absolute joy to shoot.

Another contributing factor why I got rid of the zoom was during this time in my juvenile love affair with photography, I had a growing concern about the “look” of my images. Specifically, what’s going to set my images apart from others? Especially images from those who attend the same events as I. Since the vast majority of air show photographers prefer using a zoom lense over primes. I chose to shoot strictly prime. But doing so comes with its own issues. The most obvious is its lack of versatility in its inability to zoom. The way I coped with this inability was to concentrate on composition and trying to fill the frame with my subject with little to no negative space.

It’s worth mentioning during this time the highest resolution sensor Canon had was only 16 megapixels with the 1D mk2. Which was totally out of my price range. With such a low megapixel count to today’s standards, tight cropping was very noticeable, and you saw it in the image quality. And my 20D was only 8.2 megapixels and it struggled to shoot 5 frames a second. Without a consistent high frame rate, it made it pretty damn difficult to get a full frame uncropped image of a close flying aircraft successfully.

It was also during this time I discovered I fancied capturing images of warbirds much more than the sleek modern jets. To me, they are like living machines with these old massive engines for hearts. I love the fact that they were painstakingly restored by hand and maintained with great affection. And I sought out aviation events that cater to them. In July I stumbled upon “The Greatest show on Turf”. A warbird show that is held on a grass field in Geneseo, New York. From my apartment in Michigan, it was nearly 6 hours away. If I remember correctly, my plan was to drive to Geneseo on Saturday and stay the night at a hotel. Check out Sunday morning and head down to the show. Then after a day of photographing airplanes in the summer sun, make the grueling six-hour trip back to Michigan so I can go back to work bright and early Monday morning. Looking back now, I was 29 at the time and I know I can’t handle a weekend of that pace these days.

I remember on the drive over being so intoxicated with excitement about the show. I’ve never been to that part of New York before as well as seeing warbirds operate on a grass field. Entertaining all my wild expectations about this virgin show of mine, I drove on into the night. After arriving at the hotel, I found something for dinner and was off to bed.

From the hotel, it was a scenic 30-minute drive to the airfield. And my unexplored airshow questions had a child like rhythm to them in my head during the trip down. The most frequent was, what direction is the crowd line in relationship with the path of the Sun? That has become my main and driving question of what aviation events I will attend. And to my surprise, the event runs southwest to the northeast, with the crowd line facing northwest. Meaning the Sun was to be at are back for most of the day. But come late afternoon, it maybe a bit tricky but nothing that could not be avoided.

I recall flying started early with trainers then worked its way to the fighters. And earlier on in the show the vintage aerial display was interrupted by two New York Air National guard F-16s and performed a couple of spirited passes. I quickly switched over to aperture priority, selected F/5.6, composed my subject and held the shutter down. And as quickly as they showed up, they were heading home. While chimping, I came across the image that is so closely tied to this story.

Since I began shooting aviation events, there is always that one image you want to be razor sharp. You must remember; this was 2005 and the resolution of the LCD screens on the back of cameras were shit. What looked sharp on the rear screen versus what is sharp on your monitor were two different things. The show continued and afterwards I said my goodbyes to sleepy little Geneseo and drove back to Michigan.

After an interminable and exhausting day at work, I finally got to view my images for the past weekend. And to my amazement, the one image I was fixated on was absolutely razor sharp. When viewed full size, you can clearly read the name of the crew chief on the side of the canopy. It’s what this image did for my confidence in my abilities as a photographer and was a turning point in my photographic journey. My mindset changed from “I hope I can” to “I can” capture images with the look I want. Like any creative individual, having the confidence in yourself and your gear is huge. It’s ironic, I went to Geneseo to capture warbird images and unexpectedly gained confidence in an image of a modern fighter.

FAR_71

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< The Story behind an Image part 5

 

 

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My Nerdy Binge List

There are plenty of lists out there, but this one is mine. I love science fiction and well written dramas. There are some popular shows that are not on my list, either because I haven’t got around to them or just not interested. I tend to stay away from cooking, reality and “Who done it” crime shows. You probably noticed I did not put descriptions about any of the series. I have found that shows and movies are so much better when you have little to no knowledge about them. I also added a list of my favorite YouTubers. Enjoy!

Name of Series Where to watch in parenthesis as of March of 2021
Star Trek: The Next Generation, DS9, Voyager (Netflix/Hulu)
Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access)
Stargate: SG1, Atlantis, Universe (Amazon Prime, Netflix/Hulu)
Battlestar Galactica 2004 series (Amazon, not Prime)
Dr Who (HBO MAX)
The Expanse (Amazon Prime)
Farscape (Amazon Prime)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu) Be warned, it’s dark.
Dark Matter (Netflix)
Orphan Black (Amazon Prime)
The X-Files (Hulu)
Firefly (Hulu)
Hell of Wheels (???)
Breaking Bad (Netflix)
Better call Saul (Netflix)
Longmire (Netflix)
Luther (HBO MAX)
Dexter (Hulu/Amazon Prime)
The Walking Dead (Netflix)
House of Cards (Netflix)
Black Mirror (Netflix) Be warned, it’s dark.
Love, Death + Robots (Netflix)
Star War: Clone Wars (Disney Plus)
The Mandalorian (Disney Plus)
Rick and Morty (Hulu, HBO MAX)
Bobs burgers (Hulu)
Archer (Hulu)
The Orville (Hulu)
Defiance (Netflix)
Red Dwarf (Amazon Prime)
Mystery Science Theater 3000(Amazon Prime, Netflix)
Continuum (???)
Torchwood (HBO MAX)
Humans (Amazon Prime)
Futurama (Hulu

Favorite YouTubers
Knowing Better (Educational)
Nerdwriter 1 (Video Essay)
This old Tony (Maker)
CGP Gray (Educational)
Nerd City (Don’t know how to classified them but check them out)
Kiwami Japan (Maker)
Frank Howarth (Maker)
My Mechanic (Maker)
Captain Joe (Aviation)
Marques Brownlee (Best Tech reviewer on YouTube)
Michael Cthulhu (Big sword Maker)
Bay Area Bugs (Gamer/Humor)
Polecat324 (Gamer/Humor)
ralfidude (Flight Sim/Humor)
Night Shift (Modelmaker)
NileRed (Educational)
Applied Science (Educational)
Sean Tucker (Photography)
Tom Scott (Educational)
Emmanuel Acho (Educational)
Rich Builds (Auto/Entertainment)
Mighty Car Mods (Auto/Entertainment)
Wendover Production (Educational)
Clickspring (Amazing craftsmen)
Practical Engineering (Educational)
SmarterEveryDay (Educational)
Economics explain (Educational)

And if you’re still bored? Take a look here…https://anadventureinawesome.com/2020/03/30/bored-and-in-lock-down-how-to-keep-yourself-occupied/

What are some of your favorite binge worthy shows? Along with who are the YouTubers you enjoy watching?

Stay safe and keep busy,
Steven

Hello, My name is 2020…

If 2020 was a person and you had the opportunity to talk to him or her, what would you say to them?

Here’s some of the responses I’ve received from friends and family.

“I appreciate what I’ve learned about myself from you, but now it’s to get the hell on!!”
“Sit the f#%k down and chill man”
“That’s a tuffy I’d probably just say wtf 😂”
“ Lol I’d say not cool ”
“ Hmmm, I think I would say thank you for giving me the chance to learn new things and also it’s time for 2020 to leave.”
“ Id say “2020 what are you trying to teach us, and why are we not receiving your lesson/message?”
“ Oh man. Thank them, and then slap the shit out of them.”
“ Don’t do drugs. Lmao!! I hope things turn around soon!!!
“If 2020 was a person, I would thank them for the opportunity to slow down and re-evaluate what life’s true priorities are. Without 2020, my wife never would have had the opportunity to spend as much time with the kids as she has this year. Sure it’s been tough, but at the end of the day, we appreciate the change of pace. Although, I would also tell them that they didn’t have to go so far… A global pandemic is a little overboard, don’t you think? “

Stay safe and keep busy!

Steven

Leave your reply in the comments below.