I do realize I have not yet posted a 2011 recap, which will greatly explain why the change of direction, however, I am currently making some breakthroughs which I believe are more important at this time.
What is the change of direction? VIDEO! Some issues came up early on in the 2011 flying season which disabled the use of my Sigma 50-500mm lens. So, as someone who tries to always be prepared, the day of its final failure, I was smart enough to bring along my trust Canon VIXIA HG20 HD camcorder. Since this moment in August, I have been exclusively been shooting the aviation events on video. I still get a TON of use out of my DSLR Canon RebelXT and Sigma 10-20mm, however, that has been strictly for static shots, and one VERY awesome air-to-air shoot.
Right now I am focusing my "off season" energy on improving my videos in whatever (CHEAP) ways I can. So far I have found many amazing resources online through Youtube that have allowed me to use supplies I already have to make some great video effects.
The greatest complaint I have had all summer long has to do with the challenge of using a 1lb camera in a way which eliminates/reduces the nightmare of camera-shake. The IS on this camera does help, however, in the grand scheme of things it really is not very apparent. The previous camcorder I had (non HD and non-functioning) had SUPERB IS. You could practically throw the thing and it remained absolutely rock-steady. This, however, is anything but.
The other complaint was the obnoxious wind-noise. The HG20 has a nice wind-cancelling feature which is about as useful as its IS. So, again, working with a budget of $0, I made a wind-shield having sacrificed a few square inches of foam from my pillow. Voila!
Right now I am in the process of eliminating issues with camera stability (camera-shake) in the form of a handy-dandy $15 shoulder mounted rig which gives me full functionality over the camera via a mounted wireless remote, several feet of PVC 1/2 inch piping, and a firm, steady platform to shoot from. More details, directions, and references will follow.
Thanks to the support and advice of my fellow photographers, I am undertaking several rather large projects for the next year, which will keep me very busy and (hopefully!) present many amazing shooting opportunities since I am currently (though, not for long) the only person shooting HD video.