Saturday, June 23, 2007

Photo Tips part I - Weather

Back in the day when I was taking pictures with a simple P&S digital camera I much prefered cloudless, blue skys whenever I was going to take pictures at an airshow. The clouds would always cause focus and exposure problems rendering most pictures useless. Now that I have an SLR camera that is more sophisticated my opinion on the "perfect airshow weather" has changed.
There are many pros and cons for both clear and cloudy conditions:

Cloudy/partially cloudy

  • Much more insteresting background
  • Adds dimension and scale to the image
  • Shows more of the true nature of flight
  • When presented with backlighting the clouds can help diffuse the light and provide softer shadows
  • Evening lighting tends to really bring out the gold/red in the sunlight
  • Vapor for those hard-turning jets

This picture would be very boring if it were taken on a cloudless day.


  • With the sun to your back it can really make your subject pop
  • Evening lighting can create spectacular effects
  • Helps to isolate your subject as well
  • Fewer focus/metering issues

This picture shows how the clear sky isolates the subject and really makes it pop.

Collings Foundation Bombers....

What a gorgeous site to behold! Paine Field was home to three of the most recognized American bombers of World War II, the B-17, B-24, and the B-25. They offered tours through all three aircraft as well as the usual half-hour flights around the area.

I've gone through the B-17 and B-24 in the past and was just amazed then as I am now to see just how cramped it is inside these airplanes. It's obvious they weren't designed with comfort in mind. I was initially wearing my camera bag backpack when I got inside the B-17 and quickly realized there simply wasn't enough room to maneuver through the cramped interior. To get from the front of the aircraft to the back you have to walk through a tiny walk-way that goes through the bomb-bay.

The sound these beautiful machines make is pure music. The ground shakes as their radial engines turn over and roar to life. It was such a treat being able to hear these airplanes for the last three days at work.

To view and order prints of the photos I took of these magnificant airplanes, please click here.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Paine Field Spotting...

What can I say, it's a completely different world over at Paine Field! I wouldn't say it's better but certainly different. You cannot really compare the cozzy experience of a small, home-town airport to a bustling, massive airport such as Paine. In the last few weeks I've met legends in aviation (Mr. Bud Granley), seen legendary aircraft (P-51, Hellcat, B-17, B-24, B-25,) and get to work to the wonderful music of an unimaginable combination of aircraft sounds 6 hours a day, 6 days a week!

I finally have had a chance to get some pictures of some heavy metal and this morning shot an Air Canada 777-300ER, Asiana Airlines 777, Air France 777, JAL Cargo 767, Southwest 737, and two WWII bombers. Quite exciting! I also have some great pictures of Boeings 747-400 LCF that is used to transport major parts of the 787 from all over the world! Both sets are of it taking off while one shows it flying through a small cloud which creates a perfect illustration of the massive wake left behind such an aircraft!

One of the best parts of the whole experience of working here is getting to know new people. Since I hang out at the Future of Flight parking lot/viewing area after work almost every day I get to talk to all kinds of different people. I've come accross people I haven't seen in years and remembered great times from several years ago.
To view and order prints of the photos I took, please click here.