WELCOME TO THE DECEMBER 2015 ISSUE OF ISNAP!
A Journey To Reno: The National Championship Air Races John Sepp Even Captains Prayed...WWII Bomber Jackets John Slemp Ft. Worth Alliance Airshow Practice Day Gary Daniels El Centro Photo Call Jason Jorgensen, Ed Faith, Dale Moody, Michael Carter, Craig Swancy, Gary Edwards, Mark Bennett, Mike Gagarin A-Vinculo-Terrae Matt Savage And Then There Were Three Kevin Hong 3..2..1..GO! Jumping With The Golden Knights Kevin Hong Meet Our Members Anno Gravemaker, Craig Swancy, Greg Drawbaugh Super Connie Scott Slingsby Pima Air and Space Museum Gary Edwards and Craig Swancy Mystery Plane Silhouettes John Ford FRONT COVER PHOTO: José M. Ramos-Navarrete Sunrise over F-5E Tiger II on the ramp at NAS Key West Camera: Nikon D7200 Lens: Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G Focal Length: 28mm Shutter Speed: 1/2500 Aperture: f/7.1+.7EV ISO: 500 Mode: Shutter Priority Format: RAW Process: Lightroom 5 Sun Downer’s Bandit 101 at sunrise on 13 Nov 15 at NAS Key West during the Centre of Aviation Photography’s tour of VFC-111. The purpose of CoAP’s visit to witness the adversary squadron’s vital role in the training of fleet aviators. The tour gave the visiting photographers unprecedented access during flight operations which resulted in images usually not possible to the average civilian.
BACK COVER: Glenn Bloore F-18 Hornet flying through Panamint Valley in California. The location is known as Star Wars Canyon. Camera: Nikon D750 Lens: Nikon 500mm Focal Length: 500mm Shutter Speed: 1/800 Aperture: f/4 ISO: 125 Mode: Shutter Priority Format: RAW Process: Lightroom 5 ISAP’s goal is to bring together our members who share a love of aviation, and want to preserve its history through their images. Through our organization, members can seek to enhance their artistic quality, advance technical knowledge, and improve safety for all areas of aviation photography while fostering professionalism, high ethical standards, and camaraderie. ISAP continues to help our members to better their photography skills, workflow, and set up resources to help with business questions that our members have. Updates are being made to the ISAP website and member portfolio section, and we are showcasing ISAP members’ images and accomplishments on our social media pages. In this issue we are continuing to highlight ISAP members. I’m sure you will enjoy learning how your fellow ISAP members got started, as well as seeing some of their images and learning some tips. Remember that ISnAP is your publication to share your images, stories and tips with other members and the public. We look forward to each member sharing his or her stories with all of us. Enjoy this issue of ISnAP! Sincerely, Larry Grace, President Kevin Hong, ISnAP Editor International Society for Aviation Photography www.aviationphoto.org • www.facebook.com/ISAPorg firstname.lastname@example.org
w e l c o m e Mike Augustin Jeff Lambros Anno Gravemaker Andrew Krob Chuck Burin Geoffrey Harris
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r e t u r n i n g
Greg Drawbaugh John Mortland Raymond Cervantes Michael Green Michael Oppedisano W Skot Weidemann
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Milan Ovecka Alan Nilsen Michael Carter Nora Klein David Byrne James Raycroft
m e m b e r s Jason Jorgensen Cristian Schrik Roxanne Janson Josh Nichols Mike Gagarin
The ISnAP is a periodic publication of the International Society for Aviation Photography and is used to communicate news, functions, convention information, and other information of interest on the local, regional, and national scenes. The views and opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and should not be construed as the views or opinions of the International Society for Aviation Photography.
THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP AIR RACES Article and images by John Sepp
This journey started when Arnold Greenwell, a good friend and fellow ISAP member, challenged me to get out to the Reno Air Races held at Reno/Stead Airport just outside Reno. That is Reno, Nevada, for those unfamiliar with the west. Reno is the “Biggest Little City In The World”. I was not sure if I could even go, my work has me real busy, much less get a media sponsor. But with the help of both Larry Grace and Kevin Hong I found sponsorship through ISAP as an ISnAP media representative and submitted my application. I was thrilled the day my application was accepted and I had a slot reserved. A lot ran through my mind as the time grew closer to going. Everything from having not photographed anything going faster than 20 miles an hour just hundred’s of feet from me to debating on what gear I should take as well as what to wear. Through many phone calls with Arnold I was able to piece together my kit for the trip. I ended up wanting to take more equipment than I wanted to carry on a plane so a voice in my head
said, “Drive. How hard could it be to drive to Reno? You’re a wimp if you don’t.” I thought about the drive, remembering back to the times my father would drive the family from Tucson to Stead Air Force Base in one day - in a Rambler station wagon for God’s sake! Really, how hard can it be? I have an FJ, should be no problem at all. Even Bill Fortney drives all over the country in an FJ why can’t I? The decision was made and I would drive from Tucson to Reno. I loaded my gear in the car and headed out to a place familiar to me as a kid but new to me as a photographer. Thank goodness for satellite radio, a cell phone to talk with the wife, and a slow steady intake of caffeine even though the doctor says no more caffeine. The hours marched on and the miles piled up until I reached my destination. Man that drive is long. REAL long. It took me over 13 hours to cover 864 miles. How did my father ever do that in a
impractical. They are big and can be heavy. The better option is to use the crop feature available on the newer larger sensors. In other words, with the larger sensors you can crop in the camera and in effect increase the focal length of the lens. The D700s at 12 Mp just donâ€™t allow me to throw much away (crop) and still have enough for a decent photograph. Going to a longer lens is impractical when the aircraft are whizzing past at 400 plus miles per hour. By the way it is a real rush. I just donâ€™t have the upper body strength to wield a 400mm f4 lens weighing in at $11,199.00 or a 500mm f4 lens weighing in at $10,299.00. By the way the 400mm lens actually weighs just a paltry 134 oz. (3800 g) or 8.3 pounds and the 500mm at a svelte 109 oz. (3090 g) or 6.8 pounds. You could also go with the 200-400mm lens at $6,999.95 as well. That would give you a decent range of focal length to work with and it sits between the two at a meager 118.5 oz. (3360 g) or 7.3 pounds. With all this said, it came down to my ability to use my gear at the given moment during a race, using my skills in panning (HAH!), and managing my equipment to give the results I desired. Lighting was the only unknown now. Where to place the aircraft for best lighting. Now how do I set continuous focus on the D800 & D810? Damn Nikon for changing that feature. Did everything work? You look at the photographs and tell me. So no more equipment chatter, let us get to the pylon. Rambler station wagon? Once at the hotel I met up with Arnold at the hotel and got situated. We stayed up for a couple of hours catching up on what has happened since we last met at ISAP and made plans for the next day, which for us was signing in to the media office and getting our paperwork. Someone might wonder, what gear did I take? Well I took four bodies, four lenses, four speedlites, and a slew of CF cards to feed the cameras. What did I really use? Four bodies, four lenses, one speedlite, and a slew of CF cards. I did bring a laptop and external USB drive to download the days photographs. The files were copied to the hard drive and then copied to the USB drive. I am a Nikon shooter so for all of the Canon shooters in ISAP you can skip over this next part, if you want but you may want to check out the lenses I took. For those who are interested I took the following equipment with: 2 - D700 bodies (12 Mp) 1 - D800 body (36 Mp) 1 - D810 body (36 Mp) 1 - 300m f4 lens 1 - 70-200mm f2.8 lens 1 - 28-70mm f2.8 lens 1 - 85mm f1.4 lens 4 - Speedlites: 2 - SB800s, 1 - SB900, and 1 - SB700 Miscellaneous items like a tri-pod and camera straps Did I want all this gear? Yes, or I would have it at home. Did I need all of this equipment? No. I could probably have left the two D700 bodies back home but wanted to take them with as they are like well worn shoes - I am comfortable with them and they have stood the test of time working flawlessly for me. I wanted to test them and see if they can still put out. While at a pylon I had only two bodies and two lenses. The D800 with the 70-200mm and the D810 with the 300mm. I had both cameras on slings for quick change. Using a tripod is out of the question. The aircraft move too fast and you must react quickly. Arms, that is what you need. As for lens choices, could I have used a longer lens like a 400mm or 500mm? Yes, but it would have been
First of all there are more photographers than seats on the two buses. There are two pylons you can go to via the buses, thank you FAA for keeping us safe. They are the east and west pylon. You will select the bus to get on based on the lighting you want. West in the morning, east in the afternoon. The buses leave twice a day - morning and after lunch - literally, after lunch. You plant yourself in line and wait. Make sure you get there early as the line forms quickly. It helps if you tag up with someone, I was fortunate I was with Arnold. We were able to keep our equipment in line and tag team runs to the bathroom or food lines. Bathroom facilities at the pylon? Port-A-Potty. They are not bad in the morning but after the sun has had time to bake them, well you get the idea. You also have ramp access but must be escorted to get past the barriers. On Sunday after the last race the buses will drop you off at the winners circle where the photographers can get shots of the race winner before the public swarms the racers. The pit areas, they have different areas for the different classes of racers. There are six classes: Unlimited, T-6, Biplane, Formula One, Sport, and Jet. Several of the classes have a Silver and a Gold class. Some classes only run once and in the morning as the airport is at 5,050 feet (1,539 m) above seal level so take that in to account when you are out there in the morning and through to the end of the day. So lets get out to a pylon.
As you stand waiting at the pylon for the first race to begin you feel like the moon; hot on one side and freezing on the other with a surface covered by talcum powder dirt. The only difference is there is an atmosphere with the sweet smell of high desert sage brush. Ah, this brings back memories of when I was a kid living at Stead Air Force Base in the 60’s. My father was a survival instructor in the US Air Force and was stationed there. Fast forward to the present and here I now stand at a pylon at the National Championship Air Races on Stead Airport. You are briefed by a Pylon judge on where can and cannot go. You are not allowed at all on the active course. That is a line between pylons. You stay “inside” the pylons and if you go over the line you will be told to step back. Keep pushing it and you will loose your credentials. Now where am I, oh yes, at a pylon waiting for the first race to start. Butterflies. A lot was going through my mind: Shutter speed, aperture, ISO setting, memory cards. Cameras, set and ready. Focusing. Practice panning. Feel comfortable where you are standing, make sure you have enough movement in the upper torso to cover the area of the course you are covering. Know where the airplanes will come from and where they will leave, hopefully. Take some test shots. Where are my extra batteries? Oh yeah, in my pocket. Can you believe it? I am at the Reno Air Races - at a pylon!
Arnold was a great wealth of information for me. Gave me great advice and was a real help getting started as I was a FNG. If you don’t know what a FNG is then ask a friend. This is a family magazine. I was not the only FNG out there either. Check out the photograph of a T-6 with number #37 and you will see FNG next to the pilot’s name. I started my shutter speed at an amazingly slow 1/350 of a second. I pretty much stayed there for anything from the typical horizontally opposed 4-cylinder, air-cooled engines all the way through Merlins, Packards, and
my favorite Round Power (radial engines for you novice shooters). The only time I went faster, up to 1/500 plus, was on the Unlimited and Jet classes. I tried a lower shutter speed but all I got was practice in deleting files. Some advice given to me the night before was it isn’t a race unless there is more than one plane in the photograph. The trick is to be ready when the moment happens. You will delete a lot of the photographs you take. To put it simply, and to use a saying from Arnold, “It is a study of motion blur.” There will be some blurring, the question is how much is acceptable. I took well over 4,500 photograph while I was there and a lot of them ended up in the garbage can. While out in the field you use the little LCD on the camera, with a sun blaring down on you, to chimp in between races. You are able to delete really gross photographs, anything that was obviously out of focus or blurred that could not be used artistically. So here is the deal, it is not non-stop racing. It is 10 minutes of pure delight and non-stop action followed by 20 minutes waiting for the next 10 minutes. This year the weather was nice and it would go from cold in the morning to hot in the afternoon. At the end of the day you are in your hotel room downloading files off the cards and onto the hard drives. Making backups and starting the first cull of the photographs. A long day. Then it is up again early in the morning to start the routine all over again. My over all impression, I want to go back. I hope I can go back. I did not make enough trips to the pits and I did not get enough people photographs. I was more interested in being at the pylons with Arnold. So I really want to go back next year and the year after, God willing. In this trip I strengthened a friendship with a close friend and met some really great people. Everyone there is out to do one thing and that is photograph metal making a hole in the air and leaving turbulence behind. Well, that and the sound of those massive piston engines making a tremendous amount of horsepower. Next time I expect to see more ISAP members out there enjoying the dirt, the sweet smell of sage, and the sound of horse power overhead. So Moose, you are not the only one who can photograph airplanes, even at Reno.
Fort Worth Alliance Airshow Practice Day
Collaboration and camaraderie wins the day! Article by Gary Daniels
If you are an enthusiast of heavier than air machines, have an unhealthy addiction to expensive camera gear, and live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, then you look forward to the fall because of the annual Fort Worth Alliance Airshow. This year was the 25th anniversary of the event and it was held earlier than usual due to the U.S. Navy Blue Angels performance schedule. It’s still hot in early September in Texas. But, the weekend of September 12-13 turned out to be charmed as a cool front rolled in and blew out the heat and made for blue skies and great temperatures for the airshow. Larry Grace, president of ISAP, arrived earlier in the week to cover the event. Knowing that the Friday practice day is a great photo opportunity, Larry worked with Fort Worth Alliance airshow management to create access to a photo pit, with tent access, just south of show center. This location made for a fantastic vantage point to photograph airshow arrivals and the show practice. And, in a spirit of collaboration, ISAP invited Dallas-Ft. Worth ISAP members and sponsors, local photography vendors, and of the Dallas Aviation Photography Group to join in the fun!
The cool front had not yet arrived on Friday and it was a very hot and humid late summer day. The tent, with lunch and iced bottles of water provided, proved to be a welcomed escape from the heat! Everyone attending greatly appreciated ISAP’s efforts in creating the practice day shoot opportunity. It was a great day of camaraderie and information sharing…what ISAP is all about. ISAP would like to thank Christina Carey, Debra Hale and the staff of the Fort Worth Alliance Airshow for the opportunity and look forward to working with them for the 2016 airshow. Enjoy the selection of images from the 2015 Fort Worth Alliance Airshow.
EL CENTRO PHOTO CALL 2015
Jason Jorgensen In the early morning hours of November 17th, with the soundtrack of “Top-Gun” playing discretely in the back of my mind, my friend and I drove from Los Angeles to El Centro as two of the members representing the ISAP at the NAF El Centro Photo Call. We hoped to shoot from the fence-line prior to mustering for the event, this was to be followed by an even more exciting afternoon of shooting some of the most advanced hardware the Navy and Marine Corps put to the skies. Somewhere along I-8 between Alpine, CA and the Imperial Valley, I was snapped out of my Jet-A fueled trance as my cell service provider kindly messaged me to let me know that I was now “roaming in Mexico.” 30 minutes later, just over 3.5hrs after we left LA, we began seeing exits for El Centro and were already spying a flight of T-45Cs in the distance doing touch and go’s. We had finally arrived and were ready for an amazing day! Shooting along the fence prior to the event was a great idea and gave us a heads up of the way the tempo and flight paths would unfold later in the day. From our vantage point beyond the end of runway 26, we watched the Goshawks, Growlers, Rhinos and Harriers launch and recover as we introduced ourselves to a growing group of photographers that had the same idea. The 11am hour neared, and everyone packed up, heading to the main gate where we met our host, NAF El Centro PAO, Mr. Haugh, and his team of US Navy personnel. Now, it was time to be bussed onto the base. There, we attended a safety briefing and met with the Commanding Officer and Executive Officer of the Naval Air Facility. After the light spirited, yet serious, safety briefing, the combined group of several dozen photographers were broken into two groups, one which was to
be transported out to the photo area first and return first at the end of the day, and the other to follow shortly behind. I had requested the later departure group as I hoped to get more golden hour photo opportunities at the end of the day. I almost regretted this decision immediately, when the first group departed towards the runway. A beautiful C-2A Greyhound with the Providers squadron began a series of touch and go passes. Eagerly wanting to get out and begin shooting on the runway, the 40 or so remaining photographers of the second group milled about, getting to know each other and taking opportunity shots of the beautiful turbo-prop “COD” passing regularly overhead while we waited for our turn to head to the flight line. With the desert sun peaking in the sky, the buses finally returned for us, we loaded up as quickly as possible and began rolling out towards the runway, passing the maintenance hangars for all of the jets we would soon see flying. El Centro’s desert location, combined with its nearby instrumented weapons ranges, make the NAF ideal for training aviators from across the fleet and from around the world. A fact made even more apparent as we passed additional hangars containing half a dozen Apache Longbow helicopters of the British Army’s Army Air Corps, which are part-year residents of the installation for training purposes. After the buses received clearance to cross the taxiways and runway, we left the rest of the base behind us and drove out to the LSO (Landing Signal Officer) Shack at the beginning of runway 26.
Almost as soon as we got off of the buses to join the group already out shooting, the C-2A landed and a lone T-45C Goshawk, of the Eagles Squadron from NAS Meridian, aligned herself with the active. She roared to life and started rolling down the runway, even with my hearing protection donned, the sound was beautifully unmistakable as she rushed past me just over 50 feet away. I was so awestruck that I only took two photos of her as she began to roll, the rest of her takeoff I spent with an ear to ear grin and was just trying to fathom that I was indeed right here, right now, experiencing this! The next aircraft to launch was an EA-18G Growler, number 505, attached to VAQ-129, the Vikings. As she rolled from the taxiway onto the active, I noticed some special livery art on her nose. A wolf head with the words: “100th Boeing EA-18G Growler.” As this aircraft began to throttle up I was consciously appreciating my hearing protection, and once she let loose down the runway… well, I was in heaven. From such a close vantage point, the concussive force of the sound produced by her 2 x GE F414 engines breathing fire as her afterburners hurled her down the runway was nothing short of amazing. The pressure, sound, heat, wind and smell of the fuel… there simply is nothing like it. At this point that I began to notice that my
lens selection maybe wasn’t the best for something that large, that close, in that dynamic of an environment. It was my first time, so, I’ll just chalked it up to experience and swapped glass on one body, leaving my longer lens on my other. Once the lens issue was out of the way and I had spent a good 30-40 minutes just “nerding-out” shooting airplanes, after which, I began to settle in to less of a star-struck state and assumed my photographer’s frame of mind. I took in the surroundings, ran through a list of ideas for shots to execute and went about my business. It was about this time that I made some discoveries that I found pretty interesting. Firstly my surroundings; there are nearly 100 shooters using everything from wide angle zooms to 600mm primes, HD Video equipment and some even using their phones to take selfies with the planes whizzing by. The bulk of the guys and gals seemed to gravitate toward the middle and departure end of our designated first 3000ft of runway. Personally, I gravitated more towards the taxiway at the beginning of the runway. I found that I preferred that location personally for 4 reasons: 1) I enjoyed the option to shoot aircraft as they held short on the taxiway. 2) When the AH-1Z and UH-1N helicopters from the Stingers and Vipers squadron arrived, they seemed to turn right alongside us at this end
carrier breaks roughly a quarter of the way down the runway, breaking left then falling in line for their landing patterns. One after another the training pilots deftly brought their aircraft back to earth coating those of us at the end of the runway in the smell of burnt rubber and low power exhaust... and really I don’t think we could have been happier! Photographing the landings was much like shooting the take offs but without the added jetwash disrupting the clarity of any of the airframes. The hardest part was trying to decide stylistically how to capture each landing; there were so many options from including people or other aircraft and/or equipment to capturing clean profiles.
and then immediately air-taxi down that first taxiway to their landing areas. 3) With the aircraft beginning their take-off roll right there, you have the afterburners in view much longer, though at some angles the LSO Shack and carrier landing instrumentation obstructs this view briefly. 4) When the aircraft return, after a fly over and carrier break, they touch down in your immediate vicinity. There were variations to these points, as the AV-8B and TAV-8B Harriers of the Hawks Squadron would taxi down the runway past the arresting wire, in front of the bulk of the group, and then do their STOL take-offs. Also, when aircraft were doing touch and go’s they would float a little further down the runway than when they were just landing. Additionally, a few aircraft departed using the alternative runway away from us. One particular CH-53E Super Stallion attached to the Warhorse Squadron snuck away earlier in the day departing far to the south of our location and was off along the horizon much of the day just to taunt me. Everything considered though, for the next 3-4 hours, the action right in front of us was almost non-stop. Every couple of minutes, aircraft were taking off to fly sorties, or returning from their training missions over the Southern California desert. One of the themes I also began to notice part way through the day was that, the best chance for a “clean shot” of an aircraft taking off was the lead aircraft in any given flight. Aircraft would line up in formation on the runway, two to three abreast and take off, one at a time, inboard (closest) aircraft first.
They would roll so soon after the aircraft ahead of them that subsequent aircraft were shrouded behind the heat haze and jet-wash of the aircraft ahead of them, until another aircraft lined up inboard and was in clear air again. This is just the nature of military flight operations, the atmospheric effect (creative addition or disruptive artifact, you choose) was still noticeable with the Harriers and Goshawks, but the larger, afterburning aircraft was where it was most pronounced. As aircraft returned from the ranges, they would fly overhead and perform
When the 3rd and 4th hours of shooting were drawing to a close, nearly everyone seemed to be snapping 3 or 4 photos per aircraft now instead of the 10 or 15 shots per plane in the beginning. The first group then began to muster up to board the buses and depart the shooting box. The sun was low in the sky, getting gloriously close to the mountains in the West; shadows were growing longer and the light more golden. This was the time I had looked forward to, those precious extra minutes as golden hour progressed. Now it was quiet, it seemed as though that most, if not all, of the aircraft had already returned. No one could think of anything that was still out flying, and everyone started talking and starting to put their gear away. The only activity we could see anywhere was a few errant Knighthawks off on the horizon. As the sun began to set behind the hills a few of us took photos of the sunset, then we noticed some landing lights coming up fast from the East, it was 505, the 100th Growler, she was on approach, returning from her 2nd sortie, and everyone clamored for their gear as she was about to give us a beautiful sunset touch down. She smoked her mains and rolled down the runway as everyone was remarking triumphantly about the great sunset light. Now, we could see our rides returning for us, making their way down the abandoned runway toward our position. The end of the day was in sight, and we were quickly advancing into sunset and would soon see twilight. It was then that I noticed the Super Stallion returning from the Southeast. Everyone was lined up for the buses, and I looked over toward my friend and pointed to an open golf cart that had been the lead vehicle. We walked over towards the driver and asked if he had room for us, he did, so we hopped in. I began to pull my camera from the bag, hoping for a little luck with that CH-53E. A few moments later the last person boarded the bus, and the golf cart lead the caravan away from the LSO shack, along the abandoned runway toward the tower and near where that CH-53E was heading. I dialed in the settings I would’ve used if I’d been standing still and got ready for my window of opportunity. As a general rule I try to avoid the “spray and pray” method of holding down the shutter and running off as many photos as you can in the hopes of getting a couple good ones. However, bouncing along in a golf
cart, trying to shoot around the head of the driver to capture a helicopter that is flying and backlit by a rapidly fading sunset could be considered a desperate time by some… and we all know what desperate times call for. I ripped off as many shots as my little T3i could muster, which wasn’t a lot,
then noticing the lighting had reduced even further, re-adjusted my settings slightly and let the frames fly yet again. As luck would have it, we slowed to a stop to wait for taxiing Rhino, right as the big helo transitioned though a hover for landing and I eeked a couple more frames from my already overflowing buffer before she landed and taxied over to the hot fuel pit. Out of my 15 or 20 shots I could see that a few looked promising, but the light was low, I was using a 4.5-5.6 zoom lens, and quite frankly, everything looks good when its small, thus, I wouldn’t know if my gamble paid off until I got home. After the golf cart, buses and vans dropped us off at the Navy Exchange, the first group boarded those same buses and vans to head to their vehicles parked just outside of the main gate. The rest of us in the second group grabbed some refreshments and command memorabilia from the NEX and waited for our rides to return for us. Once they did, and we were driving through the base on our way out, all of us in our van were gawking at the beautiful static displays, and talking about the incredible day we’d just had, about the fantastic hospitality of NAF El Centro, especially the spectacular staff of PAO Haugh and their great work in setting up such a wonderful experience for all of us. We thanked our driver for his service as we exited the van weary, dusty, hungry and smelling of JP-5 and tire smoke, but wearing permanent grins. A few more minutes were spent saying goodbyes to friends, old and new, as the last of the group got into their vehicles and headed away from the base into the evening. My friend and I headed back to LA, spending a good portion of the next 3.5hrs planning what we hope will be the next time we have the privilege of representing the ISAP at one of PAO Haugh’s famous NAF El Centro Photo Calls.
Dale Moody The Navy PAO (Public Affairs Officer), Kristopher K. Haugh, at El Centro thoroughly covered all aspects of safety prior to our bus transfer to 50 feet of active runway 26. After four hours on the flight line, I was impressed by the variety and frequency of flight operations between about Noon and 4:00 PM. Flight activity—take-offs, touch-and-goes, and landings were punctuated by frequent fly-overs. Aircraft types represented during the day included: 1. McDonnell Douglas T45C Goshawks, Squadron VT-7 “Eagles” of CTW-1 Training Air Wing, NAS Meridian, MS 2. Mc Donnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II, Squadron VMAT “Hawks” of MAG-14/MAW-2 MCAS Cherry Point, NC 3. Northrop Grumman F/A18 E & F Super Hornets, Squadron VFA-122 “Flying Eagles” of CSFWP NAS Lemoore, CA 4. Bell AH-1W & AH-1N Super Cobra , Squadron HMLA-169 “Warriors” of MAG-39 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA
T-45 Fly Over; Pentax K20, ISO 100, 1/750, F/4.0, 200 mm
5. Grumman C2A Greyhound, Squadron VRC-130 “Providers” of CACCLW NAS North Island, CA
Dale Moody Dale Moody
C-2 Greyhound; Pentax K20, ISO 100, 1/180, F/8.0, 88 mm
AV-8B Fly Over; Pentax K20, ISO 100, 1/750, F/5.8, 300 mm
Ed Faith The 2015 Fall NAF El Centro Fall Photo Call dawned a near-perfect day. Beautiful sunshine, slight breeze, near cloudless day and planes beyond belief. Beginning with a quick safety brief, the anxious photographers were shuttled to the end of Runway 26. Even as we were being driven to the runway, a C-2 Greyhound was making circuits overhead and this was just a precursor of the lineup of planes we would see. T-45s took the runway in groups of 2, 3 and 4 ship formations. Not to be out done, F/A-G Growlers, AV8B Harriers and numerous versions of the help community gave the photographers more than they imagined possible. Like a kid in a candy store, the options were unlimited and I found myself running from one end of the photo box to the other chasing that perfect shot. When the dust finally settle, along with the setting sun; the photographers all agreed that this was one of the best photo-calls of 2015. Many thanks to Kristopher Haugh, NAF El Centro PAO and his staff for making this a day to remember. Canâ€™t wait to return. All the photos were processed in Lightroom/Photoshop to remove dust spots and make basic corrections.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 24-70 f2.8, ISO 250, 1/350@f16
Ed Faith Ed Faith
Nikon D300, Nikkor 24-70, f2.8, ISO 250 1/350@f16
Nikon D800, Nikkor 400 f2.8, ISO 200, 1/400@f16
Nikon D800, Nikkor 400 f2.8, ISO 100, 1/160@f14
Nikon D300, NIkkor 24-70 f.28, ISO 250, 1/350@f22
Michael Carter The alarm rang early, 0430 to be exact. My cohort for the photo adventure today would be fellow Long Beach, California resident Jason Jorgenson who would be arriving at 0515 as we had a long drive ahead of us on this gorgeous Tuesday morning. We hit the road at 0535 and made fantastic time to El Centro arriving at 0820. As we headed along Interstate 8 getting close to the base we spotted two T-45C’s in the distance and the excitement was on. We decided though that it was going to be a long day on the ramp and agreed a food stop at IHOP was in order. Following a hardy but fast breakfast we made our way to the NAF perimeter fence where numerous photographers were already in place and shooting the F/A-18 action that was in full swing. A very nice surprise for me personally at this location as I ran into an old friend from Germany, who I have known for many years. We met at Long Beach Airport as we both shoot airliners and he was hoping to catch a test flight of an MD-95 or a C-17A.
At 1030 we arrived at the parking area where we were to meet our base guides for the day and begin our big adventure along side the runway at NAF El Centro. We boarded our buses and entered the base for a short bus ride to the briefing hall and what a short bus it was! We passed by displays of all the various aircraft that the Navy Blue Angles have operated throughout their history. Once at the hall we were greeted by the base PAO who gave us a very warm welcome and went over the do’s and don’ts for the day but also indicating fun and safety be the real priorities during our visit.
Time now to head out to Runway 26, we filed outside to once again board our buses and while doing so head a fantastic sound above our heads as a Grumman C-2A “Greyhound” was now performing touch and go’s so needless to say we all were very anxious to get out to the runway. As we drove out to our shooting location for the day we passed by several F/A-18’s and T-45C’s being prepared for todays flights and what a sight it was and not to mention the beautiful music to ours as the engines ran at idle. Once in position the C-2A made one last touch and go and what a spectacular one it was as he smokes the mains, went to power, rotated off the deck and made an immediate hard left bank to return or one last landing to everyone’s total enjoyment......what a way to begin todays shooting session. Following the C-2A performance, it ended up parking next to our shooting location performing engine runs which afforded us great photo opportunities. The rest of the day was filled with F/A-18 Hornets and Growlers, T-45C Goshawks and AV-8B Harriers. I am used to being close to airliners when they taxi, takeoff, and land as I work for an airline and I am always near aircraft either working on them or photographing them but being this close
to operational military jet aircraft on an active runway was well, just simply amazing! As well as running into my old friend Gerhardt from Germany I also ran into old friend, Ryan with who I work with at Southwest Airlines many years ago at LAX. It was great fun getting caught up and talking about some of our old co-workers and fellow slide shooters that we have known over the years. Great fun to shoot with old friends and new friends alike to be sure. As the day progressed the EA-18G, F/A-18 and T-45C action was non-stop, we even had a nice surprise as three Vipers made an appearance and provided a great shooting opportunity for all. My highlight for the day though was the 100th built EA-18G growler with it commemorative artwork. As the sun set over the distant mountains and we got our last shots of the day the horn sounded indicating our day had come to an end but what a day it was, one I will not soon forget. Myself and Jason had a great time and spent the whole drive back to Long Beach talking about the days action.
Since my visit to NAF El Centro, I have studied a bit about the bases history and plan to return again for a tour of the facility so that I can do a more in-depth article out it on my blog. Thank you again for the chance to visit and shoot at this historic base. All photos shot with Canon 7D cameras // camera #1 w/Canon 18-200mm IS lens // camera # 2 w/Canon 100-400mm IS lens // ISO @ 200 // Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 Image processing consists of / leveling image if required / auto levels / auto contrast / adjust lighting if required / unsharp mask adjustment of 350% with a radius of 0.2. **This was my first Photo Call and first with the group so I hope I did this right!**
Mark Bennett Driving to El Centro from Phoenix the day before the event I, naturally, stopped to photograph whatever interesting things I saw — an old trading post sign, a mountain range, cans rusting on the desert floor — but those excursions from my car had a worrisome aspect to them: it was cold and windy. My last time at El Centro had be accompanied by wind and, while some good shooting still occurred, the Blue Angels stayed on the ground. (And I don’t blame them.) This time, though, the day of the event dawned with clear skies, calm winds, and mild temperatures. The entire day was like that, at least until the sun dipped behind the mountains when the air chilled a bit. You could not have asked for more pleasant weather, though some bold clouds in the sky would have offered a bit more character to some of the shots. (Talk about first-world problems!) Still, I arrived on the day before with plenty of sunlight still to be had, so spent some time at the east end of the facility, just outside the fence, capturing Growlers, Super Hornets and Goshawks making their rounds. I was up early the day of the Photo Call and, with the official start of festivities not set until late morning, made my way to the same beyond-the-fence location and snagged more of the same, but in different light. Then, over to the main gate for a bus ride onto the facility, a briefing by the commander, then out to the LSO shack on runway 26 in two groups (owing to not enough ground transportation to haul us all in a single convoy). As usual, the
El Centro people were kind and helpful and, regarding our escorts, young. No more than kids, it seems to me at nearly 60. But they tolerated and corralled the herd of cats that is a photo call crowd well enough. This year, and presumably from now on, the photographers are directed to remain no closer than 50 feet from the runway edge. It’s a safety measure the was clearly presented, I didn’t hear any real grumbling and, frankly, I don’t think the photography suffered because of it. The one downside was, it meant you were walking on soft, sinking, dirt and that meant you were putting your equipment down on soft dirt, too. (I think it was Jay Beckman who piped up, later, and asked if in the future tarps could be used to allow a dirt-free surface for the equipment. The request seemed to receive a positive response.) Four hours and 1,500 frames after arriving by the runway it was time to head back to the cars. This year’s haul included, besides the aforementioned EA- and F/A-18s and T-45s, a C-2 Greyhound, some UH-1Y and AH-1Z helos, single- and two-seat Harriers, and a CH-53E Super Stallion. Another great day thanks to the fine folks at NAF El Centro (and ISAP for giving me a seat). All shots are from Nikon D4 cameras and, without checking each image for which lens was used, I shot Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8, and 200-400 f/4 (the latter sometimes with the Nikkor 1.4x tele). ISOs ranged from 400-2000. I’ll note that the C-2 photo in b&w and the wide image of the pair of TAV-8B Harrier II trainers were both multi-frame panoramas.
Mike Gagarin It certainly lived up to it’s name. The “jewel of the desert”. Two hours from San Diego, an hour from Yuma, NAF El Centro is right dab at the bottom of Imperial County. The day started off with a hearty breakfast and plenty of good, hot coffee. Blue skies greeted Mark Bennett and I as we worked our way to the east runway to calibrate our cameras and take a few test shots. At the designated time we met up with the rest of our group, Gary Edwards and Craig Swancey. On the base and a few more introductions, a review of the day’s photography criteria, we joined up with the rest of our group, Ed Faith, Jason Jorgensen, and Mike Carter. We ventured out to the flight line, picked our spots and started “shooting”. At first there was a little apprehension about the “fifty foot rule”. No problem! It was for everybody’s safety. Didn’t matter. The visibility was excellent. As for the aircraft, it turned out to be an “airshow”. It felt like the flight crews were challenging each other as to who could make the prettiest touch and go, the slowest flyby and softest landing. There was one plane
that made so many touch and go’s that some of us wondered if they were doing that so we could get the best photograph! At the end of the day, there were mutterings that we should treat them to a cold, adult beverage! It was a great day to take photos. Many thanks to Chris and his staff, and of course the flight crews and their maintainers. Here are the images I came away with as well as what my camera settings for each one. The first photo was the Grumman C-2A Greyhound, the hard working Carrier Onboard Delivery platform for aircraft carriers. (Unless otherwise noted, all images were shot with a Canon EOS Mark II – older workhorse of the Canon line).
The first photo was the Grumman C-2A Greyhound, the hard working Carrier Onboard Delivery platform for aircraft carriers. (Unless otherwise noted, all images were shot with a Canon EOS Mark II â€“ older workhorse of the Canon line). 1/640 sec @ f/9, ISO 200, Lens: EF 100-400
Mike Gagarin Mike Gagarin
F-18 Pilot 1/640 sec @ f/10 ISO 200 EV -1/3
UH-1Y Venom â€“interesting shot of the gunner! 1/800 sec @ f/10 ISO 200
Mike Gagarin Mike Gagarin
The TAV-8B Harriers were next. 1/500 sec @ f/11 ISO 200 EV -1/3
Harrier Pilot 1/800 sec @ f/10 ISO 200 EV -1/3
Mike Gagarin Mike Gagarin
AH-1Z Super Cobra 1/400 sec @ f/13 ISO 200 Lens EF 100-400
The TAV-8B Harriers were next. 1/500 sec @ f/11 ISO 200 EV -1/3
Mike Gagarin Mike Gagarin
Harrier Pilot 1/800 sec @ f/10 ISO 200 EV -1/3
T-45 A/C Goshawks 1/1250 sec @ f/5.6 ISO 100 EV -2/3 Lens EF 70-200
Gary Edwards and Craig Swancy After a long drive from Texas through some interesting weather - gale force wind, rain, sleet, snow, my wingman Craig Swancy and I awoke to a beautiful clear desert winter day in El Centro. The requisite safety brief was quick, then Public Affairs Officer Kris Haugh and his great crew of sailors and Navy civilians herded 100 photographers safely to the side of runway two-six. Shooting began almost immediately and ran pretty much unpaused for four and a half hours. Unlike my previous El Centro Photo Call experience, today the ops tempo was very lively. The US Navy and Marine Corps provided us with no less than seven different types to shoot and the El Centro volunteer escorts made it possible for us to work a short fifty feet from the edge of the runway pavement. Access doesn’t get much better. Things I learned shooting a Photo Call at NAF El Centro: The dirt off the runway isn’t dirt, it’s sensor spots. Minimize lens changes. Even at mid-day winter sun in the Imperial Valley is pretty nice light.
Navy escorts all understand FOD; you can make points by picking it up, but you loose all you earned if you leave any. The Navy and Marines fly a fair number of propeller airplanes and rotorcraft and they mix them right in with jets - quick ND filter swapping is a valuable skill. The shutter speed required for full disk on an ALQ-99 jamming pod Ram Air Turbine at landing speeds is 1/80. Two General Electric F414s in burner at 70 feet is about the loudest sound I’ve ever experienced - and I used to blow stuff up for a living. Foam ear plugs and good over the head ear muffs are not too much. The NEX and the heads are too far away to walk to - be prepared with some food and an empty bladder.
One hundred aviation photographers can share 2,000 feet of runway side.
Canon 7D Mark II, EF-100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L, 400 mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/1000 s at f/9. I increased the ISO just a bit as sunset approached.
Canon 7D Mark II, EF-100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L, 100 mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/80 s at f/29. A neutral density filter would have been nice to allow a larger aperture but with the mix of aircraft on the runway and overhead I was reluctant to put one on.
Canon 7D Mark II, EF-100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L, 400 mm focal length, ISO 160, 1/1000 s at f/8. The original was pretty tight but I cropped even tighter to show the pilotâ€™s concentration.
Gary Edwards Gary Edwards
Canon 7D Mark II, EF-100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L, 400 mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/800 s at f/7.1 Nice formation flying. Thanks, guys.
A few months ago, I chose to end an 18-year career in the printing industry to chase my dream of being a professional photographer. I decided to go back to school at the ripe old age of 37 and earn a Diploma in Photo Imaging. For one of my subjects, we were told to create a photobook of our best work that could be used as a marketing tool for our business. For me, this was the perfect opportunity to use my print knowledge and combine it with my passion for aviation photography. My love of aviation was born from a fleeting glimpse of a jet airliner flying over my backyard as a toddler, and my passion for photography was instilled by my father. Whenever there was an airshow we would go and watch the flying displays and take any opportunity to sit in the cockpit of anything that could fly. I would also be given a “Mystery Flight” as a birthday gift every year with the now defunct East-West Airlines. A major highlight was, at age 9, to be given the opportunity to sit in the jumpseat of a Fokker F-27 Friendship for a flight from Tamworth in rural New South Wales, back to the state capital, Sydney. I can still sense the sights and sounds experienced on that flight. Sadly, this is a thing not afforded to the public these days. Back to school, we were advised to create a book with a minimum of 20 pages and investigate methods of producing a printed book. I already knew what my subject would be, but how to create it and make it look like a book worthy of being read was the challenge. I had been fortunate to do some aerial photography and air-to-air shoots this year, so I wanted to showcase these images, but also to display some of my other favorite images. My first task was to come up with a name for my creation. I chose to call my book “A Vinculo Terrae”, Latin for “Free from the bonds of the earth”. For me this is a salute to my time as an impressionable young member of the Australian Air League, as this is their motto. They are a youth organization that fosters a spirit of air-mindedness in the youth of Australia, and is the world’s oldest youth aviation organization. The organization was created in 1934 and still running today. I decided on a layout where I displayed sections of antiques and warbirds, military aviation, civil aviation, and some of my aerial work. I also felt a need to show that while the aircraft look great and fly greater, it was the human element that brought these creatures of metal and rag & tube to life. In the
end, I limited myself to a book containing 48 pages and 70 of my images. To produce the book, I searched through the myriad of companies that allow you to self-publish your work on the internet. While the “printer” in me wanted to spare no expense in the quality and creation of my tome, I had to be careful not to blow out the budget for making the book (the princely sum of $100AUD!) and that it be produced and delivered in time for grading. Most of the big-name companies printed their books in North America, where it would take anywhere from 3-4 weeks to produce and deliver to me Down Under. I needed to find a local supplier who could make the book in the same production timeframe but without the headache of shipping across the globe. I found a company called Digital Print Australia based in Adelaide, SA who were able to do what I wanted, in the timeframe needed. They could produce my book with a printed hardback cover and could deliver it within 6 business days. They also provided free layout templates for Adobe Indesign and a simple interface for uploading the pages. So, with my work dispatched and my wallet lighter for my efforts, I waited for my book to arrive from the printer. To my amazement, my book turned up at the Post Office a mere 3 days later! The print quality was first class and, apart from a couple of very minor layout issues of my own doing, I was very happy with the end result and shared my joy with the world. When I originally created the book, I only ever considered it to be an exercise in creating a unique marketing tool for my fledgling aviation photography business. Very quickly though I was getting requests for copies of my book! The smile was impossible to wipe off my face! While I am no Moose Petersen or Scott Slocum, the feeling of pride in knowing that people are willing to part with their hard-earned cash and buy a piece of my work is incredible! What has started as a school assessment is now turning into something bigger! Copies of my images are available at my website www.mach-one-photography.com.au, and the book will be available for purchase in the not-toodistant future.
A Vinculo Terrae Article and Images by Matt Savage
AND THEN THERE WERE THREE THREE WB-57s FLY IN FORMATION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NASA HISTORY Articles and photos by Kevin Hong
On Thursday, November 20th, NASA flew three Martin WB-57 Canberras in formation over Houston, Texas for the first time in history of the NASA WB-57 program. The WB-57 is a high altitude research aircraft exceeding altitudes of 60,000 feet. The plane can fly close to 6.5 hours and has a range of 2,500 miles. The mission of the aircraft includes measuring atmospheric conditions above hurricanes to recording video. Previous versions of the B-57 were first used during the Vietnam War for high altitude bombing. NASA’s WB-57s are among the few still flying in the world today. NASA flew just two of the WB-57s from their home base at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. In 2013 a third B-57 returned to the skies after sitting out in the desert sun mothballed at Davis-Monthan AFB. According to Charlie Mallini, NASA WB-57 Project Manager said “It’s the first time we have ever had all three planes together in Houston at one time. It is a rare occasion and decided to have them fly over landmarks around Houston.”
The media including myself and fellow ISAP member, Chris Ebdon had a rare opportunity to watch the flight crew get prepped for a mission including a demonstration on how they eat and drink while flying missions up to 6.5 hours. Pilots and System Equipment Operator (SEO) go through various checks with their suits before getting on board and flying the WB-57. While the WB-57s went out for the public display across Houston the media got the chance to get a closer look to the optical camera and surveillance system. They most recently flew missions over Hurricanes Joaquin and Patricia, providing real-time modeling data to storm scientists trying to predict the hurricane strength and path. Before the Space Shuttle program ended one of the B-57s captured the Shuttle launch from 50 miles away and at an altitude close to 70,000 ft. By tracking the shuttle the SEO was able to capture the shockwaves of the shuttle rocketing into space. The WB-57 formation flew over Bush Intercontinental Airport, NRG Stadium, Houston city center, the San Jacinto Monument and NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
NIGHT JUMPING WITH THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS Article and images by Kevin Hong
All eyes were on the sky as we started to prepare for the night jump with the Golden Knights. Earlier during the day at the Chennault International Airshow in Lake Charles, Louisiana the overcast skies prevented some of the acts from performing during the practice show. After the practice show was over it was time for the night show to begin. With one eye on the sky we werenâ€™t sure if the jump was going to happen due to the low ceiling. In preparation for the jump the media and I had to do a mandatory briefing aboard the Golden Knightsâ€™ jump plane Fokker F-27. We went through emergency procedures and what to expect during the flight for the twilight show.
Before boarding the F-27 the Golden Knights discuss their exit strategy and do their chant. After suiting up we were ready to climb aboard and watch the team run through equipment checks with their parachutes. With the jump doors open we could clearly see the clouds opening up. We were only allowed to climb to 2,500 ft but since the clouds were moving west we were allowed to climb to 7,000 ft. Green and red lights on the team lit up like Christmas in October. They started lacing up the flares around their ankles for what was going to be an awesome show exiting the aircraft.
Due to the low lighting I decided to take video of the jump. You can view the actual jump at www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKi7rfeh03Y Camera Data for still photos Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Lens: Tokina 10-17mm, Exposure: 1/15 sec, Aperture: F3.5, ISO 6400, Shutter Priority
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MEET OUR MEMBERS
MEET OUR MEMBER With friends we are always discussing new opportunities made possible because of the technological improvement in hardware and software. A tip I would like to give a new aviation photographer is to make sure there is movement in your photos. Either by not freezing the propeller or rotor or by using the speed of the airplane to get a blurry background.
I am living in Arnhem, the Netherlands. I started to take photos of aviation in 1983 with a Pentax SLR. Growing up near NAS Valkenburg, I spent a lot of time learning photography from the more experienced photographers and by trial and error. When I changed to digital photography in 2005, I took some classes in Photoshop and Lightroom to develop the shots the way I want. I am using a Canon Eos 1D mark IV as my main camera with a Eos 1D mark IIN as back-up. My favorite lens is the 70-200/F2.8l mark II and I just got the new 100-400/4.0-5.6 mark II. For close range I am using the 24-70/4.0 and 17-40/4.0. During airshows I am mainly using the 100-400 and the 70-200 on the second body.
Canon EOS 1D mk IIN with 28-135/3,5-5.6 IS at 70mm, 1/250, f 14, ISO 100
I am shooting in RAW only since that gives me the flexibility to give my shots the best processing and provides the best result. I am using Lightroom 5 and sometimes Perfect effects for some special effects. Since I was already reading IsNAP via Issuu, I thought it would be nice to become a member of ISAP as well so I joined ISAP this year. I hope to learn from my fellow photographers and to be helpful when I can.
Canon EOS 1D mk IV with 70-200/2.8L at 160mm, 1/100, f 18, ISO 200
EOS 1D mk IV with 24-70/f4.0L IS at 59mm, 1/400, f 9.0, ISO 100
Canon EOS 1D mk IV with 500/4.0L IS, 1/1000, f 8.0, ISO 200
Canon EOS 1D mk IIN with 70-200/2.8L at 120mm, 1/500, f 5.0, ISO 100
EOS 1D mk IV with 300/4.0L IS, 1/125, f 6.3, ISO 200
Canon EOS 1D mk IV with 24-70/f4.0L IS at 55mm, 1/100, f 7.1, ISO 1600
Canon EOS 1D mk IV with 24-70/f4.0L IS at 24mm, 5 sec., f 8.0, ISO 200
EOS 1D mk IV with 300/4.0L IS, 1/1000, f 9.0, ISO 200
Canon EOS 1D mk IIN with 28-135/3,5-5.6 IS at 85mm, 1/500, f 13, ISO 125
MEET OUR MEMBER With the first digital cameras coming on the market I purchased a Sony Digital that loaded to a floppy disc. Man that 640 X 400 resolution was something else. Until I compared the prints with my Kodachrome 25 prints. Well later I acquires a small but much better Sony 3 MB camera, yet I wasn’t satisfied until I purchased my first serious digital in a Nikon D-70 with 18-70mm lens. Next came a Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 lens and I was hooked. Gave the D-70 in an in-law and jumped to a D-300 and saw all the difference in the world. Picked up a used Nikkor 600mm f/4 and a new 24-70mm f/2.8 and made that next jump. Today I shoot a D-800 with my 24-70mm f /2.8, a 14-24mm f/2.8, and an 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 which I take to all air shows. My 80-200MM f/2.8 is still my favorite “Concert” lens and the one i used at Nellis AFB ISAP 2010. The 24mm f/2.8 prime and the 50mm f/1.4 prime are my two lens I keep at the music store along with the D-300 to shoot photos for FB and our website.
Charles Craig Swancy but everyone calls me Craig. A native of Weatherford, Texas with family roots dating back into the 1870’s. Married to Ruth (36years) with two sons. Our oldest son Chris is a DPS Trooper in Ft. Worth and Matt is the Manager of Craig’s Music, Inc. in Weatherford. A career Fireman from 1971 to 2005 with the City of Weatherford, Texas, Worked through the ranks and retired as Captain, Shift Commander. In 1978 I started Craig’s Music, Inc. and grew this musical instrument store into the largest independently owned music store in Texas. Guitars, Amps, Drums, Keyboards, Sound Systems is our mainstay while we employ a full time Luthier/Guitar Tech and an Amp Tech for repairs and restoration of stringed instruments and amps. We carry over 20,000 vacuum tubes in stock and often find a rare tube someone needs for and old amp or S.W. Radio. Currently Mayor-Pro Tem of the City of Weatherford and no I can’t fix traffic tickets. My interest in cameras began with the purchase of a Canon AE-1 back in 1973. Purchased a 100-200 zoom to go with the stock 50mm and a 500mm lens to round out my outfit. Over the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s I took thousands of shots using primarily Ektachome 64 and Kodachrome 25. On occasion I would venture out at night with some Ektachrome 200 or 400. Many prints and slides are categorized and boxed at home. My Dad was a Civil Air Patrol Captain during WW II and continued to fly post war. We flew everywhere as a family during the 1950’s and early 60’s in a Piper Tri-Pacer. Many times I was fortunate to fly the right seat and log a few hours at the controls. Dad’s love for flying and his many CAP Manuals lead to an appreciation of all Private and military Aircraft. Dad was a photographer and always carried a 35mm camera while on vacations. As Dad grew older and gave up flying, I used to take him to many “Fly-Ins” in north Texas and together we exposed many rolls of film during our trips. No doubt his influence is the basis for my photography and love of aircraft. The Canon AE-1 served me well until the 1990’s when I jumped ship and went to Nikon. I bought a pair of Nikon F-2 Cameras, and a bag of Nikkor Lens from a retiring photographer. (24mm Prime, 50mm prime, 105mm prime, 300 mm, prime and several Nikkor Zooms.) Many of those lenses I still use today.
When attending Air Shows or Fly-Ins I tend to shoot all my ground photos with the 14-24mm and 24-70mm. All Air Shots are shot with the 80-400mm and sometimes I’ll put a 2X converter on. A new Nikkor 200-500mm is on order. Always preferring to shoot in RAW since the sensor on the D-800 can handle so much information. I was able to get a 56MB photo last summer using 14 bit RAW settings. My prints are often very large photos of 24” X 36”, 36” X 48,” and 40” X 60”. The largest print to date was 8 ft. x 12 ft. print of our local courthouse for a museum. Generally I process everything through Lightroom now because of the control and flexibility of the program. I intend to jump into Photoshop in mid 2016. Forever shooting in Manual, as that is how I learned, friends and Photographers I highly respect have urged me to reach out into other camera settings. As one friend said, “Because the camera is smarter than I am.” I joined ISAP at the urging of an ISAP Member, the late Dr. Dick Coers of Ft. Worth, in March of 2010 and made my first ISAP Symposium at Las Vegas. Dr. Coers convinced my very shortly that I would enjoy the symposiums, locations, and the comradery of ISAP. He was indeed correct. (We lost Dr. Dick Coers on March 9, 2012.) At home I help and teach basic and intermediate techniques to the local beginning photographers. Always ready to gather a small group and light out in search of a photo opportunity either day or night. What advice would I share with a Photographer new to Aviation. Ground shots are easy, learn to frame them well. Air shots take time to learn in leading or swinging the camera. Shoot fast in the beginning and as you become accustomed to the swing, and your shots become better, then lower your shutter speed for good prop blurs. Then explain the shutter speeds for jets and prop airplanes. Lastly, Larry Grace said to me, “Let the photo come to you.” A good piece of advice.
MEET OUR MEMBER
I am an advanced amateur photographer with a passion for aviation. My love of airplanes began in my early grade school years growing up in Tucson, Arizona. I have memories of family Sunday drives around Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and looking at all of the stored airplanes parked along public roads, likely the place my interest in aviation developed. My first camera was a Fisher-Price that my father gave me, honest! I grew up with Canons, first a TX, then an AE-1 and finally a T-90. I moved on to a Pentax 645, all while shooting slide film. I took photography in high school, but have no other formal training other than working with my father as a tutor and mentor. I switched to all digital in 2005 with the Panasonic superzoom camera the FZ20 then the FZ30. When the mirrorless, Micro 4/3 system came on the scene I fell in love with the compact Panasonic G-1 and remained with the Micro 4/3 system ever since. My current tools are the Olympus OM-D EM-1 and EM-5II with a stable of Olympus glass. I use a Panasonic GX-7 as my backup and night shot camera. By now, I have lost many of the Canikon folks, but remember I was the guy at Oshkosh that I had all three bodies and seven lenses in my backpack, all at once and with room to spare.
Katie Baron with SNJ-5 N4745C at Osceola, WI. Olympus OM-D EM5II with Olympus 75mm f1.8
My go to airshow set up is my Olympus EM-1 with the Olympus Pro 40-150mm f2.8. An added bonus of the Micro 4/3 set up is the 2x crop factor as opposed to a full-frame camera, so I am using a 80-300mm F2.8 lens. When I need more reach I add the 1.4x Olympus teleconverter. Olympus has announced a 300mm f4.0 for release in 2016, a lens I eagerly anticipate (think 600mm f4.0 in a compact package). My post capture work is in Adobe Lightroom CS combined with some tweaking in Photoshop CS. My goal is to someday be good enough to earn a spot doing airto-air work. As a frustrated, non-pilot due to my lack of any depth perception, most of my flying has been vicarious as opposed to hands on. I joined ISAP based on the positive experiences I have had with other ISAP members at Oshkosh, and most of all wanting to be around other aviation photographers well above my skill level so I can learn more about our craft. Delta Airbus A330-300 N811NW departs into the setting sun at Minneapolis-St. Paul. Panasonic GH-3 with Panasonic 14-140mm
Avianca Airbus A321 takes off in the late evening light from San Jose, Costa Rica Olympus OM-D EM-1 with Olympus Pro 40-150mm f2.8
The prettiest time of year as fall colors greets Alaska 737-700 N644AS as it arrives at Minneapolis-St. Paul from Seattle. Olympus OM-D EM-1 with Panasonic 100-300mm
Delta 747-400 N664US departs from runway 4 at MSP with downtown Minneapolis in the background. Olympus OM-D EM-1 with Panasonic 100-300mm 00-400
The Texas Flying Legends FG-1D Corsair makes a photo pass at Oshkosh 2015. Olympus OM-D EM-1 with Olympus Pro 40-150mm f2.8 with Olympus 1.4x converter
Making a long takeoff run in full afterburner, the F-100F Super Sabre had to be one of the top highlights at Oshkosh 2015. Olympus OM-D EM-1 with Olympus Pro 40-150mm f2.8
My favorite fireworks shot from Saturday nightâ€™s airshow at Oshkosh. Cessna 180 N3261D does the honors as the foreground subject. This was a 3-second exposure. Panasonic GX-7 with Olympus 25mm f1.8
“Mr Airshow” Gene Soucy and his Firecat put on a great flying demonstration punctuated by gorgeous pyrotechnics at Oshkosh 2015. Olympus OM-D EM-1 with Olympus Pro 40-150mm f2.8 (this was shot at ISO 4000)
Super “Connie” Article and images by Scott Slingsby
One of the reasons I enjoy my job flying a little business jet around the country, is that it allows me to drop into different airports and nose around old hangars, getting shots of many airplanes I wouldn’t ordinarily see. Such was the case recently when we landed at the Wheeler Downtown Kansas City airport, where I spotted the National Airline History Museum’s Super Connie sitting on the ramp in front of their hanger. “Star of America”, is a 1959 Lockheed L-1049H Super Constellation. It normally resides inside a dark hanger as the museum’s centerpiece, surrounded by their DC-3 and Martin 404, but today it was all by itself, in the sun, having been across the airfield all weekend as a static display for a recent airshow. So I figured this was my best chance to get a few shots and actually have some light to work with this time. Most of the people I fly with know of my little (well maybe not little) obsession with photography and this one was no different. All he said was “I’ll see you when you get back.” So after procuring a crew car from the FBO I was off to the museum with 30 minutes to spare before they closed.
Upon arrival I was greeted by my tour guide who would usually go through a whole presentation of the museum’s artifacts but with time running out and my desire only to see the Connie, we went straight out to the airplane.
A deal was struck, the airplane made flyable again, and ferried back to Kansas City where work would begin in earnest by current and retired TWA employees to transform her to an airliner from the airline’s glory days.
The museum’s Super Connie started life as a freighter for Slick Airways in 1959. After passing through the hands of numerous owners over the years, including one that used it as bug sprayer in Canada, it landed in the Arizona desert in 1975. Enter the Save-a-Connie organization, who in 1986 were looking for a Connie to restore back to flying condition.
After 18 months of hard work the airplane was ready for its debut on the airshow circuit with a 1950’s style TWA paint scheme and “Save a Connie” livery. The old bird was an instant hit. During the 1990s she received a generous gift from the employees of TWA’s Kansas City overhaul base in the form of a new paint job, complete with all the TWA titles. Then in 2005 all flying came to a halt when the #2 engine had a catastrophic failure during a run-up. After being overhauled, the Wright 3350 was reinstalled and subsequently failed again during a test flight resulting in another trip back to the shop. The third time was a charm when in 2007 the temperamental engine was hung and all tests proved successful. Hopes were high to have the airplane airborne once again after some other maintenance issues were cleared up, but unfortunately funding has dried up at the moment and work continues at a slow pace.
My feelings of nostalgia for another era of air travel began immediately upon ascending up the old-style airstairs. As I made my way through the cabin I was greeted by the first class club seating with a table in the middle of the seats. This goes back to a time when fine wines and gourmet meals were the norm, not just a can of soda and peanuts. If you wanted to get some shut eye on a long flight there were a couple of sleeper berths that could be had for the pricey sum of two first class tickets. Continuing forward, I realized the coach of yesteryear now resembles the modern first class cabin. No need to rub elbows with your neighbor or have your knees touching the seat in front of you. There was more than enough room to relax in comfort with two-by-two seating. Even the restrooms were spacious and well-appointed. I passed the navigator’s station just outside the cockpit bulkhead and entered the flight deck, which is set up for a three-man crew, Captain, First Officer, and the man charged with keeping the Curtiss-Wright twin-row 3350’s in tune, the flight engineer. The first thing I noticed is all the old steam gauges, the three-pointer altimeter, turn and slip indicator, the huge trim wheel and the old style artificial horizon that still has a “pull to cage knob.” What I take for granted now on a 6 x 9 screen certainly took up a lot of real estate back in the day. The one modern amenity that is glaringly obvious is the GPS in the middle of the panel, a must for flying around today’s complicated airspace. Having a look at the engineer’s panel revealed a second set of throttles along with supercharger controls and a myriad of gauges and switches to control the oil cooler doors, carburetor deicing and many other things required to keep the engines purring away. I can only image what the training was like to learn all those systems.
After indulging for a minute in the left seat, I grabbed a couple of exterior shots before it was it time to get the crew car back to the FBO and get our overnight started. If you would like to feel what it was like to fly during the golden age of airline travel when people dressed up to fly, I highly recommend the National Airline Museum in Kansas City.
PIMA AIR AND SPACE
MUSEUM Article and Images by Gary Edwards and Craig Swancy
Nowadays, I shoot infrared images with an obsolete Canon 20D DSLR converted to block all visible light and record only light in the spectrum over 720 nanometers in wavelength - all infrared. It beats changing film in a changing bag as we had to do with the old Kodak High Speed infrared film, but it does not mimic the trademark glowing highlights from the film’s lack of anti-halation coating. That can be added in post, but I choose not to. My standard settings for bright day infrared shots with this camera are f/8, ISO 400, +2 stops of exposure compensation (all the 20D can do), and autofocus and autoexposure, tweaked to keep the shadows from blocking completely. Sometimes that requires changing to manual exposure; sometimes losing shadow detail can’t be helped.
The infrared conversion yields a raw file that is a distinctly red and black image; a good deal of post processing is required. After correcting the color balance in Lightroom, (usually with the eyedropper on as neutral a gray as is available) I export the image to Photoshop to swap the red and blue channels. Then, it’s back to Lightroom for relatively normal conversion to monochrome and tweaks to contrast, sharpness, etc. Balls Three, Boeing NB-52A I included my shadow in this image intentionally to show distance, in space and time, between us and this legendary machine. At full size you can just make out some of the stenciled X-15 profile mission marks on the fuselage; trailblazing missions executed long ago. 1/500 s, f/8, 17 mm focal length
I’ve shot in infrared since film days; landscapes and figures and, yes, aviation. The drama that infrared brings out in skies seems most appropriate to me for portraits of flying machines, especially old ones. Bound to the ground by cables and chocks, and time, these museum artifacts are still creatures of the sky.
Republic F-84C My late father-in-law flew straight-wing Thunderjets in the 50s. I always stop and think of Errol when I see one. He was a great friend and good stick and I miss flying with him.
1/640 s, f/8, 22 mm focal length
Boeing EB-47E I left this image in false color for comparison. The sky is still the dramatic link to the airplaneâ€™s place in history.
1/500 s, f/8, 17 mm focal length
Fairchild C-119C (modified) More personal links to this airplane: I remember seeing Flying Boxcars from Hensley Field when I was growing up and my father-in-law flew them.
1/500 s, f/8, 22 mm focal length
The Boeing KB-50J Superfortress is a Tactical Air Command aerial refueling tanker used into the mid 60â€™s. With improved performance from two extra General Electric J47 engines under the outer wings, refueling duties kept them busy. Several local B-52 Pilots have contacted me explaining that refueling was accomplished in a shallow dive at just above the stall speed for the B-52 D and F models. Three refueling stations (One on each wing and at the rear of the main fuselage) trailed drogue lines for fighters and bombers to refuel.
ISO 125 28mm f/10 1/320
Convair B-36J Peacemaker â€œThe City of Ft. Worthâ€?. The last B-36 made which set on display at the Greater Southwest International Airport between Fort Worth and Dallas. When the GSWIA was removed in favor of the new Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, the B-36 was disassembled and moved to Carswell A.F.B. Retired employees of Convair started a restoration that was never completed and the Air Force took the giant aircraft and gave it to Pima where the restoration was completed and the bomber was returned to display. ISO 125 24mm f/20 1/250.
The Farey Gannet AEW.3 Airborne Radar/ Sub Hunter. This Royal Navy Anti Submarine Warfare Aircraft patrolled between Greenland, Iceland, and Norway searching the North Atlantic sea lanes for Russian Subs. This EAW.3 Version was carrier based and equipped with a large radar and associated equipment and crew. ISO 125 24mm f/10 1/40
The Lockheed AP-2H Neptune (P2V Harpoon U.S. Navy) another of the unrecognized Maritime Patrol and Anti-Submarine (ASW) aircraft. Never a carrier based aircraft, a few were converted to carrier launched stop-gap nuclear bombers that either would have to ditch or recover at a land base. Used until 1984. ISO 125 38mm f/22 1/80
The Douglas C-124 Globemaster was a primary heavy lift Radar/ transport forHunter. the USAF Military The FareyIIGannet AEW.3 Airborne Sub This Royal Air Transport Service (MATS) laterSubmarine to MilitaryWarfare Airlift Command used from 1950 until Navy Anti Aircraft (MAC) patrolled between Green1974 to haul cargo, tanks, while also the carrying the land,trucks, Iceland,and andweapons Norway searching North troops Atlanticaround sea lanes world. ISO 125 38mm for f/22Russian 1/80 Subs. This EAW.3 Version was carrier based and equipped with a large radar and associated equipment and crew. ISO 125 24mm f/10 1/40
Convair B-58A Hustler In his book Bombers of the West Bill Gunston wrote of the ghostly fleet of Hustlers baking in the Arizona sun in the 1970s after McNamara retired the type. Gunston wondered if the womanâ€™s voice used for the emergency crew alerting system still haunted the airframes. I wondered, too, if she still lurked in this, one of the very few survivors of this magnificent flying machine.
1/640 s, f/8, 22 mm focal length
SILHOUETTES By John Ford
Name the plane silhouettes. Answers are on bottom of the Kenyon Ad Gyro page
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Raytheon Beechcraft RC-12N Fairchild XH-26 Jet Jeep Douglas F4D Skyray Curtiss P-1B Hawk
The December issue of the ISnAP (Magazine of The International Society of Aviation Photography)