Sunday, January 29, 2012

100 Hour Inspection Complete

This last weekend was a nice tease of things to come for 2012.  Historic Flight Foundation finished the 100-hour inspection on their B-25D Mitchell "Grumpy" and took it out for its first flights on Friday and Saturday.  And sure enough, I was there to catch all the fun and excitement, with my camera in hand!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sweet Sound of Warbirds

What's better than the sweet sound of airplanes?  The sweet sound of Warbirds!  I have started an account over at where I will continue to add sound files of the various WWII aircraft that frequent Paine Field.  My page is  and you may download and enjoy these various aircraft sound files.  At the time of writing this I only have seven that are "live" but have about ten more waiting for moderation before becoming "live." 

One of the most difficult things about video is capturing decent audio.  As much as I like hanging out with my friends and fellow photographers, the constant chatter of shutters becomes quite apparent when listening to the audio.  With the windscreen I have on my camera right now, I am able to cut down quite a bit on chatter and shutters, and completely eliminates wind noises, so that has helped a great deal in the last couple of months.  Now the search for next Summer is to find places that provide an appealing view, but also separate myself from the noise of other people.

Those problems aside, I hope you enjoy the growing collection of aircraft sound effects!!



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Meet the Hawker Hurricane Mk. XIIA

This is the first video in a series where I take a closer look at the local warbirds of Historic Flight Foundation and Flying Heritage Collection.  This video series is actually made for my aunt who lives down in Oregon and LOVES these vintage warbirds.  I figured I would share it with the rest of the world as well. 


Monday, January 16, 2012

Winter Rumblings

 [edit] Ah, helps to have a working link!

With annuals underway at Flying Heritage Collection, winter is a great time to get a very rare view of the unique collection with inspection panels open, cowlings removed, and even the rare opportunity to view some maintenance runs. Friday the thirteenth was just one such day. The Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk and Republic P-47D Thunderbolt have recently finished their annual inspections so the FHC maintainers decided to take advantage of the nice weather to runup the engines. Below is the video I shot on Friday. If you enjoy the music of Warbird noise, you will enjoy this 14-minute video as a tease of things soon to come this Spring! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Shooting Lessons pt. III: Shutter Speed

     In my opinion, there are two requirements for a good image/video when it comes to shooting aircraft:  proper shutter speed, and great panning.  In this lesson I will speak about the first, shutter speed.

     First of all, the goal of anybody shooting propeller driven aircraft or helicopters should be to shoot at the slowest shutter speed possible so as to obtain a good amount of prop/rotor blur.  A stationary propeller or rotor makes the subject look like it is just a toy, suspended in the air.  An image with a full-disc of prop/rotor blur makes the picture pop with energy and excitement and more accurately portrays how the human eye sees it

     When shooting propeller-driven aircraft, I suggest shooting absolutely no faster than 1/150 of a second.  When I'm out of practice I will still shoot still photos at 1/125, but when I have been out shooting for days on end, I can handhold my 500mm lens down to 1/50 to get a nice, full, disc of prop blur.  If your shooting jets you can certainly up the shutter speed, but keep in mind, tracking a fast subject with a completely stopped background is not nearly as exciting as one with a tack-sharp subject and a completely motion blurred background.  When shooting jets I tend to keep it around 1/200.  That keeps my autofocus happy, and it provides a nice amount of blur.  Helicopters are the tricky buggers!  Those you absolutely want to shoot as slow as possible, as the main rotor blades move much slower than propellers.  Those you want to shoot under 1/100 second when at all possible.

     While shooting video I am able to get a good amount of propeller blur when I select a shutter speed of 1/100 second.  Sometimes, if I do not have to pan a lot, I will slow it down to 1/60. 

Equipment consideration:  slow shutter speed may make it more difficult for your cameras autofocus to track the subject!  As I hinted above, there are very few times I will slow it down to 1/60 second using my Canon HG20 due to the fact that any slight shaking or movement of the subject will cause the autofocus to get confused.

Enjoy these tips and be sure to comment if you have any questions or need clarification!  Eventually I hope to turn these into video tutorials.