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Taking Flight

Wildcat

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I attended my first airshow last weekend.  (My first since I was a young boy anyway.)   Fortunately there were no tragedies at this event, unlike other airshows over the weekend you may have heard about on the news.   I do not own a super long lens, so am not able to get those in-flight closeups that the airshow enthusiast photographers are capable of.   However I did have fun and learned a few things in the process.

In the middle of the show I recalled reading something in the past about shutter speeds and aircraft propellers.   Sure enough, there is a sweet spot for shutter speeds when photographing piston engine airplanes.  Too fast, and you freeze the propeller, making the plane look static and unnatural.   Too slow and you get a blurred plane.   Alas, many of my shots were at too high a shutter speed and I got plenty of frozen prop shots.   Nonetheless, I came home with quite a few images I was happy with.

The plane in the image above is a Grumman Wildcat, an American fighter aircraft used by the Navy in World War II.  As I arrived at the show, the Wildcat was mock dogfighting a Japanese Zero – for someone who was been interested in World War II aviation since he was a boy, this was great stuff!    I photographed the aerial acts, and the static displays on the ground, including some HDR which I will post later in the week.

The image below was one of the light aircraft on display, these machines are as lovingly painted and polished as any car at a car show.

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3 responses

  1. Ken Bello

    As a former NCO in the Air Force, I should know the names of planes, but I only know a few, so I appreciate the lesson. I have always loved aircraft and photography, but never combined them as successfully as you have. Looks like you had some cloud cover the day of the show and that makes the aerial shot more interesting. I like the way you isolated the detail on the photo below.
    If you get a chance at another air show, let me know and I’ll send you the Nikor 70-300 mm/VR. I hardly ever use it and don’t carry it much of the time.

    August 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm

  2. Thank you for both your service and the comment then Ken. The clouds here on Saturday were pretty interesting, I lucked out on that. I have a heavy airshow schedule booked up, send the lens. 🙂

    August 24, 2011 at 7:45 am

  3. Pingback: Taking Flight (via The Warped Prism) « Calgary Recreational and Ultralight Flying Club (CRUFC)

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