Using up my Bag of Tricks

Show 6, post 1: Northern Illinois Airshow

On September 9th, I drove over to Waukegan for the Northern Illinois airshow. The home show for Warbird Heritage foundation. I meet up with my good friend and fellow photographer, Rob Wetterholt. It was a great little show with a nice line up of performers along with a well laid out static display. I set out to try again to capture a sense of motion while shooting jets. The weather forecast called for partly cloudy skies in the morning and clearing skies as the day went on. By the time things started flying, the sky was clear and blue. I was a little disappointed about not getting the opportunity to try to do some cloud blurring but it’s Mother Nature, what are you going to do? For this show, I rented the Canon 5DSR again and my old friend, the 400mm F/5.6L. Canon’s 400mm F/5.6L is a hidden gem of a lenses. I bought the 100-400mm MKI and the 400 5.6 at the same time. After shooting both lenses, I was turned off by the softness of the 100-400 and sold it. I shoot the 400 5.6 for years and absolutely fell in love with its clarity and sharpness. Before I sold it and got my 500mm F/4.5, I got comfortable shooting it slow. Like 1/80th for takeoff/landing and 1/160th for flying and getting good constant results. The 400 5.6 is not a low light lenses and does not has image stabilization. But what it is, an amazing light weight sunny day lenses that is easy to shoot handheld. In ideal shooting condition, it’s a joy to shoot. I had my 500mm for about 2 years now and still growing into it. But after returning to the 400 5.6, I’m strongly considering getting it again. I had no problem with shooting it slow again.

Which leads me into the title of this post, Using up my Bag of Tricks”. After shooting for some time, I have gathered a few techniques that I like to use to help capture images that I see. These are not anything that I myself have come up with but things I use to try to make my images stand out from others. While shooting at the Northern Illinois Airshow, I got the chance to use all my bag of tricks. Which does not happen too often. This post I’m going to share with you my small but slowly growing bag of tricks.

show opening for phone

Shooting slow to get a sense of motion and speed

This is the hardest of my tricks and I’m still trying to master it. It is my favorite way to isolate a subject. With the background blurred out and the subject tack sharp, the result is an image that shows a great sense of speed and motion. Here’s the thing about panning, it is the same if you’re panning an aircraft in flight, a person riding a bike or a race car on the track. Panning is panning, subject does not matter. What does matter is finding a stance and motion that YOU are comfortable with while panning. It is not the same for everybody, what works well for me may not work for you. This may sound dumb but holding your gear properly is a big factor too. While shooting, you HAVE to be stable and smooth while panning. Shooting a telephoto lenses handheld and at a low shutter speed is not easy but with practice, you can master it. Two important things I want to mention. First, whatever lenses you are using, keep your fingers away from the manual focusing ring while shooting. It does not matter if your using auto focus or any other type of focusing, if you turn the manual focusing ring while shooting, it will override any other focusing type resulting in soft and or out of focus images. And second, use a single auto focus point along with continuous tracking and shooting while panning. Do not use all auto focus points along with continuous tracking and shooting while panning. You’re going to confuse the shit out of your camera and will result in soft and out of focus images.

With the 400 5.6, I shot takeoffs/landings from 1/80th to 1/100th. Shoot flying subject slow depended on the background to show a sense of motion. During the show, the sky was clear blue and was no reason to shoot slow. But one the Hoppers, flying L-39s did do a very low flat pass that on the bottom of the frame has some blurred tree tops. It is not the sharpest image but you get the idea.

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I went down to 1/30th (5DSR/400 5.6) on the Skyraider “Bad News” to get a full ark of the propeller as it taxies back to the hot ramp.

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Shooting Low

Or I like to call it, “Doing the Alligator”. Laying on the ground with the camera at ground level, shooting up at your subject. The main problem I have with doing this technique is have a clean and unclutter background. Which at most airshows and aviation events is hard to come by. I have seen this type of shot done with wide angle lenses but I like using something with a bit more reach. Along with, I like to drop the horizon as low as I can and show very little of the ground. Giving the subject a proud stance and a strong presence in the frame. It’s fun to do on a grass field too, shooting through the weeds. You can also use this technique to shoot under airshow fences like this shot from Plames of Fame. Just be careful and mindful of your surroundings. People can and will walk on top of you and your gear.

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Shooting High

Getting up and shooting down on your subjects is something I would like to do more often. There are many ways to do so. Many shows and events have portable stairs alongside aircraft so you can take a peek inside the cockpit, it’s a great location to shoot surrounding aircraft from up high. Another way to photograph aircraft from a higher location is to use a monopod, live view mode and self-timer. I add this technique to my bag of tricks last year at the Planes of Fame show. With my Canon 70D and 70-200mm, I extended all the sections on my monopod, switch to live viewing so I can see what the camera is looking at on the view screen, angled the tile screen down so when I raise the monopod up I can see what I’m trying to shoot. With the camera auto focus drive switched to self-timer 10 secs and in aperture priority @ F/4 to have a high enough shutter speed to not worry about camera shake when the camera is up in the air. Depress the shutter button to start the timer, holding the bottom of the monopod, quickly raise the camera up where I want to shoot. Looking up at the view screen tiled down, compose the shot, hold everything steady and wait for the timer to end. Lower the camera and check the results. It takes some time getting used to but well worth the effort.

Tiling the frame

This is by far the simplest trick in my bag and probably the most controversial. I have found that other either love it or hate it. I love it. I feel it adds visual interest to the subject and maybe some attitude as well. You can also combine this technique with others for even more visual interest.

Trick no# 4?

My newest trick I added to my bag I really don’t know what to call it. It’s showing an aircraft in a series of images. Each image can stand alone but place side by side, you can visualize the whole aircraft. I unconsciously started doing it at the Selfridge show. Just another way for me look at things differently and to see new images. This is something I’m going play with, nurture and make more my own.

Along with the elements of design and my mind’s eye, I feel confident I can capture images unique to me.

To view larger images, click on thumbnails

Waukegan17_1778

Until next post,

Steven

2017 Goshen Freedom Fest

 

Show 3, post 3: Pretty light and Old lessons learned

Well after a long day yesterday, I wanted to write this while my thoughts and feelings are still fresh. Yesterday was hectic! Where to start?… So, flying at the Goshen freedom fest wasn’t going to start until 6:30pm. From my apartment to Goshen, Indiana is 3 hours away. I told my buddy (fellow photographer) to meet me at my place at 2pm, load up my car and go. Figured we will get there about 5-5:30 and give us an hour to look around, shoot whatever statics are there and find a shooting location on the crowd line. My thinking was, it’s Goshen, Indiana, how many people are going to show up for this small-town show? We should have plenty of time…. Plus, the last show I went to there, I had no problems getting to the airport and finding parking. What can go wrong?!

With our gear packed in the trunk and the tank filled, we headed off to Goshen. On the way over, we had time to caught up on how our summers are going, what other shows we were planning as well as any updates on the Freedom Fest. Well come to find out their added a few great additions, Warbird Heritage foundation Skyraider “Bad News” and their P-51 Mustang “Baby Duck” were both there at the airport. I was thinking that “Baby Duck” was going to fly down with the F-22 from Battle Creek, do the Heritage flight and go back to Battle Creek. Goshen Freedom Fest and Battle Creek both have the F-22/P-51 heritage flight in their shows which happen to be the same weekend. Two TBM Avengers showed up along with a Grumman Wildcat and Bearcat. The P-51D “Pettie, 2nd” also was there. The F-86 Saber turned out to be Paul Keppeler’s which I spoke about in Show 3, Post 2. The big addition I had no idea about was Dean “Cutter” Cutshall was going to fly his beautiful North American F-100F Super Saber at the Freedom Fest. The F-100, nickname the “The Hun”, was going to stage out of its home base in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His Super Saber is on my list of aircraft that I want a unique image of and with the lovely evening light, I’m hoping to check it off my list.  But every time I get a chance to shoot Dean’s Hun, Mother Nature decides to make a bunch of clouds and place them right in front of the sun while it is flying. Another late addition, is a newly repainted B-17 Flying Fortress, was formally known as “Chuckie” now being flown as “Madras Maiden”. I had forgotten that the Military Aviation Museum had sold their Flying Fortress. I had lost track of where it was and what its new owners was doing to it.

The trip over to Goshen municipal airport, the weather was sunny and looked to be a very nice evening. A few clouds here and there but nothing to be worried about. All we have to do is get there, park, scout around and find a promising spot to shoot from. But as we got within a few miles of the airport, we were greeted by bumper to bumper traffic from others like us, trying to get on to the airport to see the airshow. I was excepting some traffic around the airport, which is not uncommon to most airshows. Just due to the surge of people trying to get on to the airport grounds.

Goshen17_2

But most of the time traffic is slow but flows smoothly. This was a dead stop and we only moved one or two car lengths at a time. It was now 5:30pm and we were not ever in sight of the airport. And after about half hour, we were still not in sight of the airport. Now we are starting to doubt if we would get parked before flying started. Then as 6:45pm nears, Mother Nature had to put her 2 cents in. In all western Indiana and southern Michigan, you can guess where she decided where an isolated thunderstorm was going to pop up at? Yeah that’s right, Goshen municipal airport!

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Goshen17_3

 

It rained good for about 20 minutes, which in some way we felted was a good thing. It delayed the flying while, which gave us a little bit more time to inch closer to the airport. And at least we were almost there and that we and our gear was dry. By the time the rain stopped, we had advance enough to see the airport and the passing storm overhead. Still off the airport grounds and some distance from parking and about there we see plane start to take off and pass over head. A flight of 4 AT-4 Texan opening the show.

Goshen17_4

One of our associates already at the show and waiting for us to show up, told us that the F-22 and P-51 Heritage flight was to be at 7pm, which was quickly approaching. But traffic is still only moving one or two car lengths at a time. By now, we can see the complete line of car in-between us and where they are parking cars. We were hoping to be parking be soon, like within 30 minutes. But that was not the case. Another text from our buddy about the show, B-17 in bound.

Goshen17_1

Shot out of my sunroof with my iPhone

And our frustration level just went up another notch. “Why are not moving? I don’t understand why thing is taking so long?”, my best friend said as we watch the B-17 line up for a photo pass over the crowd line. So, close but still too far away. 7 o’clock, I ask my friend if wants to get out and go to the trunk to get his gear so he could walk beside the car and shoot when the F-22 shows up. Yeah, that’s just how slow traffic was moving. He gets out, pops the trunk and grabs his 7D MKII along with his 100-400mm MKII and starts shooting.

Now Vlado Lenoch in the P-51 “Baby Duck” gets airborne and started his aerobatic routine before the Heritage flight. I know now that I’m not going to be able to replace my NAS OceanaF-22/P-51 shot with one here. I’m driving along the road way, all the windows down so I can try and spot the Raptor. The Mustang is doing pass after pass and as I’m creeping along, hearing my friends shutter just clicking away. Getting antsy and I want shoot too, I ask my buddy to grab my 7D MKII and ask if I can use his 400mm F/5.6 that he was bring to the show for our friend to shoot with. Still moving along at a snail’s pace, the F-22 Raptor show up and joins with Vlado in “Baby Duck” for the Heritage flight. Got my camera and lenses in my lap, I’m shifting in-between park and drive trying to shoot what I can of the Heritage flight. Fortunately, the airport we to my left and I could snap a few shots here and there. But It sucked. Here’s my F-22 and P-51 Heritage flight image, shot through driver window while sitting in traffic.

Goshen17_6

After the Heritage flight was over, we were both hoping that the F-100 was not up next to perform. We were glad to hear the jet truck started up, as we do not care to photograph jet truck at airshows. The truck did buy us a little more time and once it was done, we were on the airport ground. The line of car was still inching forward slowly and by now my nerves were starting to wear a bit. By the time we parked and started looking for our other buddy already there, a high performance aerobic act (I like to call spinners) had flown its routine and landed. We quickly geared up, locked car and started walking for a spot to shoot from on the super crowded show line. Holy Fuck, Goshen! I truly think all of Goshen’s population was crammed on to the tiny airport. Young, old, big, tall and what seems like Indiana entire Amish community as well!

Goshen17_17

It took us an hour and half to get through traffic, park and finding a spot to shoot from. Yeah, half as long as the drive over. Our shooting spot was not an ideal location, with so many people already there. Didn’t have much of a chose. We were about 150ft from the rope that started the crowd line. But we did have a good view of the runway for takeoffs as the sun began to monumentally peep from behind the clouds. And just after the show announcer said that Dean Cutshall is inbound from Fort Wayne in his F-100, the sun slides behind a cloud. I manage to capture this one I’m happy with.

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Once we were in our shooting location, it was business as usual. The light was as I imagined it would be, rich golden color and was a treat to shoot.

Click on thumbnails below to view larger image.

I learned some valuable lessons this past weekend. One is to get to the show early so you will have enough time to look around and find what going to work best for you. The whole time from sitting in traffic, final parking the car to the time we found somewhere to shoot found was the most frustrated I have been at a show or event. It is something that I do not want to repeat anytime soon. And underestimating the amount of people going to a show.  Because I failed those two things, we miss shots in which we travel there to shoot along with having a poor shooting location.

The best lessons in life are learned through pain.

Until next post,

Steven

 

The Story Behind an Image, Part Three

For the past 14 years, I have had a love affair with photography. I love images that comes with a story. Over the years, I have shot a few images that has a story. Here is part three in a series I call “The story behind an Image

Part 3: My 11 years and over 16 Airshows/events shot

Ever since I started my love affair with Aviation photography, I have a list of images I wanted to capture. One of them has been a ¾ front shot of a F/A-18E or F Super Hornet during its high-speed pass with a full vapor cone in a cloudless blue sky. Not a full cone from side view, not on a cloudy day that hides the vapor cone but a nice full round vapor cone from ¾ front. I tried for years, 11 years to be actual and God knows how images. But after 11 years and 16 different events and airshows, I finally did it.

For those of you who do not know what a vapor cone it is, go and hit up Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vapor_cone

There’s a huge misnomer about the elusive vapor cone. When people see it, their think that the aircraft is breaking the sound barrier. WRONG! A vapor cone can form (if the conditions are right) at transonic speed just before reaching the speed of sound. Demo pilots meticulously rehearsed a precise routine showing off the aircraft performance without breaking the supersonic speed limit set at an airshow and other aviation events. I’ve been to countless shows and seen so many high-speed passes from just about every US fighter and not one of them has ever excessed the speed of sound.

Now on to just how difficult this shot was for me. 16 different airshows and events in 5 states and one in Canada over 11 years. Yeah, Holy Fuck! Here’s 3 YouTube videos I found that showing how quickly the vapor cone forms and disappears during the Super Hornets high speed pass.

https://youtu.be/pES8AKI5kso?t=269

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsqSYX2vb7s

https://youtu.be/Z9GLOcqgv2M?t=287

Pretty amazing right!? Now imagine shooting it with a 400mm or 500mm lens hand held. Yeah! For me, the trouble was not being able to keep track of the Super Hornet during the high-speed pass or not being able to get images in focus, it was having the right condition for it to happen and for me to be shooting from the right location to be able to capture it the way I wanted. The main ingredient for a vapor cones and any other forms of condensation is humidity. One of main features of the shot I wanted to capture is having a cloudless blue sky to showing off the full cone of condensation. And having a humid and cloudless blue sky the day of an airshow is a weather oxymoron. Clouds in the background can take away and or make the cone look deformed. Our eyes are very sensitive to circles and can quickly pick up on things that do not appear to be round. The other feature of this image I envision is the position of the Super hornet with the vapor cone. I have seen many images of aircraft with cones and most of them are profile or side shots along with a few rear shots (I like to call butt cones). I want to shoot the Super Hornet as it is heading toward me in a ¾ front view so it looks like it is punching through a little cloud it just formed. There is no way of knowing where the vapor cone is going to form, if it even happens or not during the high-speed pass. But I do know during the Super Hornets demo, it does the high-speed pass from the right to the left. If it is possible, I want to be the farthest left of show center. So, if it forms I can capture it in the position I’m looking for.

Below are 4 interesting failed attempts at capturing the Super Hornet high speed pass I had shot over the years. Each showing different combination of wrong factors. The images are as they are out of the camera, no skipped images.

The first one is from Battle Creek 2006. The Super Hornet was from VFA-106 known as the “Gladiators” based at NAS Oceana. I nicely painted 206 bird, nice blue sky but not vapor. The night before the show, a front came through and dried the air out.

Battle Creek 2006

Good Position, Good sky but no humidity Link to view full size https://anadventureinawesome.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/battle-creek-2006.jpg

 

The next high-speed is of VFA-106 performing at home at the 2008 NAS Oceana airshow. The sky was partly cloudy, blue on one side of the runway and cloudy on the other. Another pass in the wrong location and with not the best weather conditions.

NAS Oceana 08

Poor position, Poor sky but great humidity! Link to view full size https://anadventureinawesome.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/nas-oceana-08.jpg

Next on to the APPA Gold Cup Hydroplane race on the Detroit river 2011. VFA-106 came up from NAS Oceana to perform the demo each day of the race. Had a good shooting location on belle isle, an island park on the Detroit river, at the end of a pier that jetted out into the river. The pier did not interfere with the events airshow box but it did get me closer to the action. That time I was shooting my 400m F/5.6 and that little bit closer helped full the frame. Since the demo was flown over the Detroit River, I chose to shoot from Belle Isle so that the sun was at my back. And being on opposite side of the in which the demo was being flown, the high-speed pass was from the left to the right. Close but not the shot the shot I was looking for. Poor position, great sky and great humidity.

APPA Gold Cup Detroit 2011

Poor position, Great sky and Great humidity. Link to view full size https://anadventureinawesome.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/appa-gold-cup-detroit-2011.jpg

And the last of interesting failed high-speed passes is from Cleveland National airshow in 2012. That weekend I had rented Canons new 500mm F/4 MK II from lensesrental.com (amazing service). The whole weekend was overcast and there was a ton of moisture in the air. I had no question that Super was going to cone. The trouble was that it overcast and gray, that there will not be enough contrast in between the cone and the background clouds. Here in this last series of images, these nine images (in a row) is a testimony to just how good the cameras autofocus system capabilities are at tracking a gray object traveling near the speed of sound on a gray background. It’s amazing to see how the vapor cone forms, disappears and how quickly it reforms again. Great position, poor sky and great humidity.

Cleveland 2012 film strip

Great position, poor sky and great humidity! link to view full size https://anadventureinawesome.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/cleveland-2012-film-strip.jpg

Enough about how I struggled with this shot. Fast forward to late spring 2015 and the Gary South Shore Airshow was approaching. It is a beach show on the southern shore of Lake Michigan in Gary, Indiana. This was first of two beach shows during my 2015 show season. The second was Milwaukee Air & Water Show 2 weeks after the Gary show. 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. And you need a lot of humidity for a good full cone to form. Also, your background most likely will be uncluttered. The horizon and sky makes for a simple and clean background along with shows a sense of location.

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. The show line, a visual reference line to aid pilots with orientation during the performance, runs down the center of the airshow box. At most aerial events, one of the active runways is the show line. FAA rules state that the crowd must be 1,500ft. away from the show line. That does not mean the performers are always 1.500ft from the crowd. Some maneuvers, are closer than others. But at a beach show, the performers take off and land at a nearby airport. So, how do you have a show line at a beach show? With a ship, of course. At the Gary show, I think it was a US Coast Guard ship? Not 100% sure, but it was a ship. 9 times out of 10, the water 1,500ft from the shore is not deep enough for a ship. Remember, it must big enough for pilots to easily spot, like a big white coast guard ship. So that means the show line farther away from the shore, farther away means one needs more focal length. Because of this I stayed away from beach show until I got my 500mm.

Weeks before the show I had planned on going with the intent of crossing off a few images from my list. The Warbird Heritage Foundations(WHF) A-4 Skyhawk and the US Navy West Coast Super Hornet Demo team from VFA-122 “Flying Eagles” based out of NAS Lemoore were my main reasons for going. I wanted to get an image of WHFs Skyhawk during its photo pass. The Gary show did give me yet another crack at get that front ¾ full cone shot during Super Hornets high-speed pass if conditions were right.

I almost don’t go to this show. At the time, I was living in Naperville, Illinois and the morning of the show it was straight and solid over at home along with the weather for Gary, Indiana did not look promising. With questionable weather, I was seriously considering not going until my good friend called me to ask if I was going. He told me he was going and he felt that we would be ok weather wise. Being not too thrilled about the weather, I pack up my gear and headed off to Gary. If anything, I could see and hang out with buddy doing what we both enjoy despite the weather conditions.

The drive over I was hoping for better weather but the farther east I drove but it wasn’t looking any better. And was disappointed with mother nature. Come show day, its overcast time! But as I got closer to Gary, the overcast was breaking up and had patches of blue here and there. By the time I reached Marquette Park, where show was being held, I was shocked to see the sky was clear and blue. Now excited for the show, I scrambled to find parking and call my buddy. Who had gotten there before I did and told me where to go to find him on the beach. He had pick out a spot to the left of show center to shoot from. The show opened with the US Army Golden Knight parachute team jumping in the flag as the National anthem with being sung. After a few other acts, the WHF A-4 Skyhawk did its demo but due to the where the show line was, the tiny A-4 looked even smaller in view finder during its photo pass.  Was a little bummed out about the Skyhawk’s photo pass but I did finally cross that shot off my list later in the season at NAS Oceana.

So, after seeing the Super Hornet demo so many times, the routine become familiar. The demo starts with the dirty roll. During the roll, the landing gear is retracted followed by a vertical reposition for the next pass. At the bottom the repositioning, there is a hard pitch up and is a good chance to get some vapor on the leading-edge extensions. Back to level flight, lite the afterburners for the minimal radius turn. Exiting the minimal radius turn, hard pull into the tail stand. Top of the tail stand, the stick is shoved forward and the ass end of the hornet abruptly rises and the aircraft levels out. Exit right to position for high-speed pass. You know what’s coming. So, quickly check setting, looking to check to see if there anything that going to get in the way of the shot. Other photographers, people walking by, anything to screw up the next 10 seconds. Quickly move if needed, lenses up, focus on the Super hornet as it approaches, take a breath, get calm and focused and start shooting. I hate the saying “spray & pray”. For me, its mindless shooting away, hoping to capture something, instead having the mindset and skill to stay calm and shoot you subject when it is suitable. Yes, you have to shoot in continues shooting to capture any fast action and be able to keep the auto focus point on your subject all the while panning. The funny thing is I did not see the vapor cone form at all. None of it, not a single frame. Remember, when shooting the mirror sways up and blocks the view finder so the sensor can exposure the scene.

11years and 16 shows

EXIF data

Date: 7/12/2015 11:35am

Model: Canon 7D Mark II

Len attached:  Canon 500mm F/4.5L USM

Exposure program: Aperture priority

Shooting modes: High-speed continues @ 10FPS with AI Servos

ISO speed: 100

Exposure time: 1/1600th second

F stop: F/4.5

Shot handheld

Here’s the 9 frames from the West Coast Super Hornet demo, VFA-122 “Flying Eagles” Based at NAS Lemoore, High-speed pass at the Gary South Shore Airshow in 2015.

Great location, Great sky and Great humidity. Link to view full size https://anadventureinawesome.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/gary-south-shore-show-2015.jpg

 

Possible pretty light and a few pre-show thoughts

Show 3, post 1: Goshen evening airshow

My next show is a little show down in Goshen, Indiana. Back in 2015 I attended their show, Rotors and Ribs, a small one day helicopter event along with a Rib cook off. Unfortunately, it was rained out. But I did like the feeling of the show, small town show put together by locals and not a huge over done production. This year’s event is going to be an evening show with a handful of flying displays. Here’s a link to the shows website…http://www.americasfreedomfest.org

My main reason why I’m going this show is the possibility for some amazing afternoon light. Flying doesn’t start until 7pm. The runway at Goshen Municipal Airport runs east/west and come late afternoon the light off to the east should be nice and only get better until sunset. Along with the crowd line was pretty close to the active runway, which make for a good opportunity for some panning shots. And in the lovely late afternoon light… Oh man!

Here’s a few of my pre-show thoughts. I have a shot of USAF heritage flight with F-22 and a P-51 that I shot at NAS Oceana back in 2008. It’s an OK image but it was shot is the bright mid-day light. The quality of light is boring and flat. As well as it’s a shot that many photographers shot during that show.

crapter and little house

I’m hoping to replace that image with one with more dynamic lighting. The challenge is I’ll get only shot at trying to get the image I want. Again, it’s only a one day show, no practice or Sunday show. That means shooting higher in my comfort zone to have a higher “keeper” rate. So that means shooting in shutter propriety at 1/320th. Which is slow enough to show some prop blur on the P-51 but high enough to get a few keepers on each pass. I would like to shoot it at 1/100th or 1/125th but again it is a one day show. Getting a properly exposure image will be a little tricky. The paint on the F-22 like to shine a bright hot bronze color in late afternoon light. Which looks stunning but the camera tends to underexpose the Raptor, which isn’t a problem if I’m shooting the Raptor by itself. I can adjust the exposure in Lightroom no problem.

goldern craptor

But during the heritage flight at Goshen with the P-51 Baby Duck, which has a highly polished metal finish, wonder how and if the light bouncing off it will mess with the exposure? Here’s an image I shot back in 2007 at Selfridge ANGB show. You can see the light bouncing off the P-51 Moonbeam McSwine’s and hitting the Strike Eagle fuselage. It’s cool that my camera’s sensor can pick that up but it makes a strange detail in the image.

mudhen and mcswine

Also on the shows website, it shows Paul Keppeler’s CL-13B Sabre Mk 6(Canadair built F-86) will be attending the show. But I’m not sure if whoever put the website together just grabbed any picture of a F-86 or if that’s the one that will be there. There no mention of the owner and that’s has me worried about who’s Saber is going to be there. Warbird heritage foundation (WHF) owns and operates a beautiful F-86 out of Waukegan, Illinois, which would be short hop down to Goshen. I have no problems seeing it again but I have many great images of WHF Saber and not sure if I would be able to shoot a better one at Goshen. If so, great but would rather see Keppeler’s Saber. Will keep an eye out on their Facebook page and show website for any news or updates on attending aircraft. Here is a few of my favorite images of WHF F-86.

WHF saber_1WHF saber_2

To add to the unknowns, not sure if the Saber would even be taking off and landing at Goshen. The runway there is only 6,050ft long and I’m unsure how much runway is required to operate a Saber. It could stage out of another larger airport and fly over for the show. Which is very possible. The F-22 along with the P-51 are flying down from Battle Creek, Michigan, doing the heritage flight and then heading back to Michigan.

I would like to get some static shots of the warbirds if possible in the afternoon light. Shooting good static images are always troublesome to shoot. Always fighting with background clutter around the aircraft. Everything from cones and ropes to porta johns to tents. Making it difficult to isolate the subject. There is also a good possibility that the aircraft will not be acceptable for shooting. Some show separates the flight aircraft on the “hot ramp” from the ones on static. Will know more as the show gets closer. If not, I’ll know when I get there and take a look around.

There is one more thing to consider, weather. Thunderstorms are notorious for popping up in the Midwest during the summer. There is a good chance the show could see some rain before, during or after the show. It is something you should always be prepared for. Seek shelter if a storm comes your way. Inside a cargo plane, a hanger or tent, something. Get you and your gear out of the rain. If there is a chance of rain at an event, I will bring a ziplock bag to put my gear in if the sky opens up. I know you’re thinking “A ziplock bag? To do what? Protect your cards and batteries?” Yes and my 500mm F/4.5 and whatever body I’m shooting with. Ziplock makes large bags for clothing which are perfect for protecting your gear from the elements. They come in many different sizes, you can get one that you can put you whole camera bag in or one just that would fit just your camera and lense. Priced around $10 to $15, which I don’t mind spending if it can save my gear. Amazon has them, search for “large ziplock bags”

Until next post,

Steven