Monday, July 15, 2019

Traverse City Airshow Thunderbirds

I've been sitting on these images for a few weeks.  Sorry.  Lazy.  Lots of aircraft images in the last few weeks.  The nature preserve where I've been getting my critter opportunities has been closed longer than usual due to the incredibly wet spring.  It opened today, but access will be on a limited schedule.  The limited schedule will not cramp my ability to get out there so I'm OK with this.  I see critters in my weekend!
But this is a aircraft post.  Let the correct subject posting begin.
I have no favorites between the Thunderbirds and Blue Angles.  And I would travel 90% as far to see a second level jet demonstration team such as the Patriots.   And I say second level with all the respect in the world.  All these pilots and support teams put on one hell of a show.
I was talking with a new friend on the UHH and said that I now have time (and financial resources) to go to air shows and how much I am enjoying this year.  I've got one, if not two solid travel trips planned for 2020.  Certainly more are possible.
I've said this before.  I like the air show flights, the small aircraft flipping over and rolling around.  But I am really there for air power.  Afterburner.  Noise.  Heat.  I want to see USAF, Navy, Marines and the Coast Guard.  The demo teams are top notch for sure, but show me the F22, F35, AV8 and helos.  Show me the B52s, not the band although that would be a fun intermission, and the B2s.  Bring on the Canadians as well.  And hook me with the legacy military aircraft.  It's all great.
It's been many years since I've seen the Thunderbirds.  this was first show as a civilian.  And the same can be said of seeing the Blue Angles, but I'm ex-USAF so really, really excited to see the T-Birds.  This show, over the water didn't disappoint.  
There isn't much story to go with each of images because the Traverse City Airshow has been talked about already.  So here are the images so far:

Thunderbirds Four Ship Diamond
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
360 mm, 1/2500 sec, f/5.6 ISO 140 (Auto)
EV 0, Manual Mode

Thunderbirds Four Ship Formation
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
600 mm, 1/2500 sec, f/5.6 ISO 200 (Auto)
EV 0, Manual Mode

Thunderbirds Inverted
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
450 mm, 1/2500 sec, f/5.6 ISO 180 (Auto)
EV 0, Manual Mode

Thunderbirds Mirror
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
450 mm, 1/2500 sec, f/5.6 ISO 180 (Auto)
EV 0, Manual Mode

All these were fun to take, but the show was quite far away.  Not only are the mm's high, but they are cropped aggressively.  Lucky for me, they are scheduled to be at Reno later this year and should be a bit closer.  Just breathe, Kurt.  Act like you've been there before.

Monday, July 1, 2019

AV-8B II And the Water

There are a few things in life where either you or an opponent have a clear advantage, or as I like to say - bringing a gun to a knife fight.

The object is to have every advantage.  And aircraft like the AV-8B II Harrier have that advantage.  Aircraft with wings should go fast, and the faster the more advantage.  And sometimes you just have to be different.
I had seen the original Harrier when I was stationed in Okinawa.  When I saw the upgraded version earlier this year in MCAS Beaufort I was truly impressed.  This is not what the scientist Bernoulli envisioned.  Speed and an airfoil create lift.  Or....  Vectored thrust.
Sometimes life just ain't fair.
My earlier image of the Harrier was a bit over cooked.  Call it excitable.  Now I've been there.  Time to act like it.
In this case, the aircraft had made a few higher speed passes and then settled into a hover.  This is the transition from hover to forward flight.

AV-8B II Harrier in Transition
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
600 mm, 1/1250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200 (Auto)
EV -0.67, Manual Mode, Polarizer

And a cool as that is, this was spectacular.  Something you won't get at an air show over an air field.  As the aircraft hovers at a lower altitude and closer to the water, the water spray is very cool.  I like this shot because you can see the spray front.

AV-8B II Harrier and the Spray
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
247 mm, 1/1250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 180 (Auto)
EV -0.67, Manual Mode, Polarizer

In a perfect world, the Harrier would be larger in the image with more detail.  The subject to me in this image is not the aircraft, but the water spray.  Audience participation for those up close.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Traverse City Coast Guard (Sikorsky MH-60T Jayhawk)

One of the air show 'wants' for me was the Coast Guard demo.  It was advertised for the WONM two weeks ago, but didn't happen.  Schedule is always subject to change.  But Traverse city delivered and in a big way.
The show opened with two of the three Jayhawks assigned to the Traverse City Coast Guard Station sent out to do a show and stand by for the day.  
The challenge of rotor wing (helicopter) is the prop blur factor.  I started with 1/200th of a second and was not totally happy.  I worked my way down to 1/100th second.  During some of the more hover-like moments, the images are sharper.  But never quite like a high speed shot.
To help me lower the speed without using a higher aperture setting, I was using a polarizer as a ND filter.  I figure it has close to a two stop effect.  In past sunshine shots, I had to go with f/24 or higher.  Using the polarizer for the day, I was closer to f/18.  Better.
This shows up well on small screens and is acceptable in the monitors.  After all it is a hand held 450 mm shot at 1/100th of a second.  But the subject is enough for me to overlook perfection for a 95% shot.

Traverse City Coast Guard Two Ship Formation
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
450 mm, 1/100 Sec, f/18, ISO 140 (Auto)
-0.67 EV, Manual Mode, Polarizer

One of the demonstrations was for the helicopter to hover and drop a swimmer into the water via winch cable.  This was an opportunity for a more static shot, but was still a a distance with the same challenges.  Still looks OK on small screen and OK on the monitor.

Traverse City Coast Guard Insertion
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
450 mm, 1/160 Sec, f/11, ISO 100 (Auto)
-0.67 EV, Manual Mode, Polarizer

The main and tail rotor blur is pretty good.  Actually the tail rotor is awesome.
All in all a pretty good day.  I had the right setting for the situation.  For the helicopter and other prop driven aircraft the blur was good.  

2019 Traverse City Airshow

This airshow has been on my radar, however I was scheduled to work this weekend.  A co-worker offered to cover for me so I could go.  No need to offer twice.
Traverse City is a three hour drive for me.  No issues there.  Time in the car.  Listen to a book, or turn the music up loud.
The web site is a bit cryptic on the plan.  If you've been to this before, and next year I'll know better, the web site makes sense.  But if you are visiting the city for the first time, its an adventure.
I thought the airshow would be at the airport.  So, that was my destination.  And I made it to the airport.  Along with many people using the airport for conventional reasons.  No signs, no people.  After circling the are for about 45 minutes, I finally broke down and asked.  Over the water I was told.  Like I should know what that means.
All the activity was downtown.  Right on the water.  Just as advertised.
Eventually I found my way down there.  Found a lot to park the truck.  And off to the water front.
This Cherry Festival thing a Fair.  Rids for the kids, vendors and porta-potties.  And it just hapeens to have an air show as an event.  Very cool.

And of course, air power ans water power are pretty closely linked.  Some people just love the bright colors and tons of HP.  Cars, boats or planes, doesn't matter.

Jealous?  You bet.  I'd like to be able to afford the insurance on that thing.

Or the gas.

But I was there to take pictures of airplanes.  Over the water.

And there were many others who were there for the same.  Next year, get there early, take a chair, umbrella and cooler.  Lots of good places from terra firma.
But the best place by far would to have a platform on the water.  And there were lots of boats out there.

So it was a great show.  Lots of good airshow action.  Great way to spend an afternoon.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

C47 Hairless Joe

It's easy to say that the air war in WWII was won by fighters and bombers.  But as a cargo guy, I'm going to toss my opinion that cargo was also a very important element in in how the war, and post war turned out.  I'm not the only one who sees the value of the aircraft and how it was used.

...four other pieces of equipment that most senior officers came to regard as among the most vital to our success in Africa and Europe were the bulldozer, the jeep, the 2-ton truck, and the C-47 airplane. Curiously, none of these is designed for combat.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF)

What I know of the C47 has been taught to me by movies such as the Longest Day and a Bridge to Far.  But I also know of the Berlin airlift where the C47 was a major player.  In the post WWII cold war, this was a huge victory for the Allies and the people of Berlin who lived in the section under Western control.  From June of 1948 to May of 1949 the Soviet Union blocked all land and water access to West Berlin.  To keep the people of West Berlin supplied with food and fuel, air crews from the Allied powers crewed over 200,000 sorties in one year.
The C47 is still flying in good numbers today for many uses.  When you have a good design, it is tough to replace it.
The C47 at the Wings over Northern Michigan airshow is owned and maintained by the Yankee Air Museum.  

C47 in Flight
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
450 mm, 1/200 sec, f/20, ISO 140 (Auto)
EV -.33, Manual Mode

C47 on Approach
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
480 mm, 1/200 sec, f/20, ISO 200 (Auto)
EV -.33, Manual Mode

Friday, June 21, 2019

Consolidated Vultee SNV-1 Valiant - California Girl

Before the Wings over Northern Michigan Air Show last weekend, I had never heard of this aircraft.  From a distance, it looks like a T-6 that I'm slightly familiar with.
This is a Vultee SNV-1 Valiant.  The SNV-1 is the Navy variant of the Vultee BT-13 Valiant which was used by the Army Air Corps to train pilots for WWII.
The aircraft was an intermediate trainer for the US Navy.  After passing basic flight training, the pilot trainees would be introduced to more advanced flight characteristics such as radio, flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller in the SNV-1.  The aircraft was generally heavier and had a more powerful engine than the basic trainers.
From what I can find out, there were just over 9500 produced in the early 1940s.  There were many variants along the way and the aircraft was exported to a number of friendly countries.
After WWII, many were sold as surplus for only a few hundred dollars each..  A lot were sold just for the engines that were adapted to other air frames.
This is the California Girl.  This 1942 vintage aircraft is one of less than five known flying originals.

1942 Consolidated Vultee SNV-1 Valiant - In Flight
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
450 mm, 1/250 sec, f/20, ISO 220 (Auto)
EV -.33, Manual Mode

1942 Consolidated Vultee SNV-1 Valiant - California Girl
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
292 mm, 1/250 sec, f/20, ISO 280 (Auto)
EV -.33, Manual Mode

Any Air Show where you learn something new is a good Air Show.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

B17 Yankee Lady

I'm not sure where my fascination of the B17 started.  Why do I like the lines of the Flying Fortress more than the B24 Liberator?  Both were the perfect aircraft for the time.  I guess it's why I drive what I drive and not a Pri......  Never mind.  Not going to lose any sleep on it.
The B17 Nine 'O Nine was in Flint a few years ago.  The B17 Cockpit image I have is from that visit.  Still a favorite.
The Yankee Lady is one of nine flight capable B17s still in operations.   The aircraft belongs to the Yankee Air Museum based out of Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, MI.  Just a hop down the road.  The aircraft was delivered to the Air Force in July of 1945.  It is certain this aircraft did not see combat action.  From 1946 to 1958 the aircraft belonged to the US Coast Guard.  It was stationed in Nova Scotia, San Francisco and North Carolina.   In 1969, the aircraft was flown to Hawaii to be one of five B17s used for the movie Tora, Tora, Tora.  In June of 1986, the Yankee Air Museum purchased the aircraft and flew it to Michigan, where it was in rebuild for over nine years.  
The rebuild had to reverse many alterations from the Coast Guard service and other past owners/purposes.  The current painting is to reflect the 381st Bombardment Group stationed in Ridgewell, England in 1944.
It is never lost on me that we lose more and more veterans every day from this time.  

B17 Yankee Lady in Level Flight
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
244 mm, 1/250 sec, f/20, ISO 220 (Auto)
-0.33EV, Manual Mode

B17 Yankee Lady Flightline Pass
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
244 mm, 1/222 sec, f/20, ISO 100 (Auto)
-0.33EV, Manual Mode

The images are fun to process and post.  But the one thing I can't get crammed into the visual is the sound and smell.  Technology will make it happen soon.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

EA18G Growler - Close but no Boom!

With the advent of high powered, high speed aircraft and high powered, high speed cameras this collision of technology was bound to happen.  The first time I saw one of these types of images I really thought it was photoshopped.  Then after I knew better, earlier this year I thought I'd get this shot in South Carolina.  I got a few hints of wing clouds there, never dreamed I get this in Northern Michigan.
The physics in all this escapes me, but essentially the faster you go, the lower the air pressure on top of the wing gets.  There is a point where the temperature drop, due to the lower pressure, will fall below the dew point and viola - cloud formation.  On the wings, you can clearly see this cloud formation happening.  But then something else happens when you get closer to the speed of sound.  Something called the supersonic expansion fan begins to form.  On this day, I didn't get the entire fan, but this aircraft was thinking it.  And I guess there was probably a local ban on breaking the sound barrier in a inhabited area that kept him from going any faster.  I had ear plugs.  I was ready for it.
After a good Michigan soaking rain, I'm guessing the dew point was pretty high.  Something else to look for.
Like the Blue Angles 6 Ship Formation that every aviation photographer has in their portfolio, I need to have my fighter aircraft vapor shot.
This was the last act of the Wings over Northern Michigan Air Show.  By this time the inclement weather had moved on and there was nothing but blue skies overhead.  I thought the show was almost over when the Growler did this high speed pass.  I wasn't ready, but just aimed, fired and let the Nikon do the rest.  And to be very honest, I didn't even see the vapor though the viewfinder.  I saw this when I was reviewing the shots a few hours later.  There might have been a eureka yell.  Maybe.
When I go to something like this, I hope that I'll have 10-12 real keeper shots.  I always hope for maybe 75% of those those shots will be from something I planned and the other 25% just being lucky.  I mean if you take over 1,000 shots - something has to break your way, right?
And this sequence did.

EA18G Growler - Close but no Boom!
NIKON D500 Ver.1.15/70.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
390 mm, 1/1600 sec, f/9, ISO 160 (Auto ISO)
EV -1, Manual Mode

I really didn't want to 'improve' the image too much.  In a perfect world, the lower half would not be in the shadows as much.  But if I lighten that up, the contrast with the 'cloud' isn't as great.  Behind the aircraft, you can see a hint of the afterburner flame.  In sunlight, that's pretty awesome.
So I have my aircraft tickling the speed of sound, by luck.  I'll take it.

Monday, June 17, 2019

B17 - Dark Skies Warmup

The weather for the Wings over Northern Michigan was fantastic.  Little cool breeze, some cloud cover.  The weather 5 minutes before the air show started - not so nice.  Seriously.  I drove though a lot of rain getting there.

When I arrived, I could see all the vendors were pretty much soaked.  From that time on, no rain and the skies did clear up for the show to start on time.  By the end of the day, nothing but sunny skies.  The weather people hit it right.

I was on time (very early) enough to be the first one through the parking gate.  Good news, parking close to the field.  Bad news, on departure.....  You get the drift.  That's OK.

Being there early I could walk up and down the flightline without running into a lot of people.  At some point I heard the B17 starting its engines, I'm guessing just to clean them out before the day's activities.  Anything burning gas, making noise and sitting still will get my attention.  Even I can get this in focus.
I'd been thinking of this shot for over a week - before the air show.  Lots of times I try to get the entire subject in the shot and that often doesn't turn out well.  The B17 up close is so big, a lot of the detail would be lost.  Once I arrived on location, the dark skies and polished metal cried for some creativeness.
I't been some time since I've given an HDR look to a photograph.  I like the effect, but the critter shots, horse shots and aircraft (up until now) seem to me to be more realistic.  I had to HDR the Harrier shot from earlier this year, and it looks a bit over saturated.
But this is different.  I don't want to go overboard, but there's lots of possibilities.  I'm going to go about 30% artistic here.  It's really more of what I like.
This is the Yankee Lady.  Has nice nose art.    This B17 is part of Michigan's Yankee Air Force.  It was restored to flying condition in 1995 after nine years of restoration.  Nothing sounds like four Wright R-1820-97 nine cylinder turbocharged radial engines turning over.

B17 Dark Skies Warm Up
NIKON D7200/18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6
80 mm, 1/160 sec, f/11, ISO 200 (Auto)
EV 0, Manual Mode

The dark skies really change the personality of the aircraft.  I have some good shots of this aircraft while in flight, looks totally different.  I thought about increasing the exposure here, but dark does it.  there will be plenty of light later.

Wings over Northern Michigan Heritage Flight

I am quickly becoming a rabid fan of Air Show Heritage Flights.  I will admit that that as a AF veteran, I naturally assumed that it was the province of the Air Force to do these types of things.  Clearly I was wrong on this.  The Navy can do it as well.  
The basic premise of a Heritage Flight is to show current air power with a link to the past - on which air power was built.
My first glimpse of this was a P51 and F16 flying together last September in Reno at the Air Races.  Earlier this year, I saw the Class of 45 demo team doing a quasi Heritage Flight with a P51 and F4U-4 that I enjoyed equally as much.
This past weekend's air show's Heritage Flight was a bit of a surprise for me, I didn't know about it until almost the day before.  This was a flight with a A4 Skyhawk and EA18G Growler.  I have a bit of history with the A4 Skyhawk.  Very cool to see the Skyhawk fly along side of the Electronic Warfare version of the F18.

A4 Skyhawk and EA18G Heritage Flight
315 mm, 1/1600 sec, f/9, ISO 125 (Auto)
EV -1, Manual

Photographically this was not that simple.  The shadows cast due to the aircraft banking were something to deal with.  I need to come up with a process to deal with this effect.  I tried to lighten the shadows in the A4 post and it did OK, but still want a better transition.  For this photo, I did the fake HDR routine with Photomatix.  Takes a little time, but compared to the starting point much more to my liking.  

Sunday, June 16, 2019

A4 Skyhawk

When I was stationed at Kadena AB in the early 80s, one of the first aircraft I noticed was this smallish fighter - that made a lot of noise.  At that time in my life, I didn't know much about the military aircraft inventory so I didn't know what it was.  At some point, someone probably told me it was a A4 - but probably not much more.
With Kadena close to 40 years in the rear view mirror, I thought I'd never see one of these again.  Ever.
The A4 Skyhawk  was used by the Marines and Navy from the mid-50s to 2003.  It is a delta wing, single engine, single fighter that could pack a pretty good punch.  It could carry more ordinance than a WWII B17 at 4,000 lbs.  The Skyhawk was exported to many US allies and remained in service for many (10+) years after the Navy moved on to the STOL Harrier.  The Skyhawk was used by the Navy's Blue Angles to bridge the gap from the F4 Phantom and the current F18 Hornets.

From the Kadena Airshow, 1981 (?)

From my favorite photo stand at the end of the runway, taxiing into position.

Lining up for take-off.

So, when I read that the A4 would be part of the heritage flight this weekend, I was incredibly happy.  One of those closing circles in life that I enjoy.

From this weekend:

I think it's awesome that people care enough to preserve these aircraft and dedicate the time to share with all.  And the fact the Navy, and Air Force, will continue to include them in the Heritage Flight programs for the memory of where air power came from is a great idea.

It's been a while........

Last post was almost a month ago.  I ran out of current horse, train, vacation to SC and critter images I wanted to post.  My local critter season at the Shiawassee Nature Refuge is in a delay start pattern.  The opening has been delayed for 45 days to complete a project that is behind due to the wet weather we've been having here in Michigan.
I have a new PC, which took me down for a week.  It started with, I wanted to get a new graphics card.  Then the project got out of hand.  The old PC was six years old and still very functional, but for the processing programs these days, an updated graphics card was required.   Then I started thinking about power supplies.  And it's six years old.  Trying to find compatible memory for six year old technology is a pain.  So we have the new box to handle the software.  So far so good.
And I had to travel a week for (the real) work.
As with any new PC, all my tricks in setup and short cuts all have to be re-built.  This is the first PC upgrade where I didn't have to load anything by disk.  Which is good, no DVD drive.  I try to copy over from the old PC as little as possible.  There are lots of programs that will move data and programs over, but I'd rather do a fresh load.  Cleans out all the junk.  Personal choices.
Yesterday I went to Gaylord, MI (2.5 hour drive each way) for a 3 hour air show, Wings over Northern Michigan.  Was it worth it? Absolutely!  Have some shots of a B2 bomber and a EA18G Growler from the modern era, A4 Skyhawk from the not to distant past and a B17 and C47 from WWII.  There were other planes and acts as well.
I took over 1600 shots between the D500 and D7200.  I spent a lot of time last night and this morning getting down to a manageable number, something south of 100.  There were a number of images that were easy to dismiss.  Most were jets when I was set up for props.  Doh!
Next real photo op for me is mid-August when I'll be spending a week in northwest Michigan.  That should be fun.  And then September is Reno.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Eagle Watching from a Tree

This is the accompanying Eagle in the Trees image from yesterday when I had to get a bit more creative to capture a good image of my local Eagle.  This is a different perspective.  I have shots from under the nest tree.  I have shots from 'in front' for the nest.  I have shots from 'behind' the next tree.  And now this is a shot from one 'side' of the nest.
This is the farthest I've been from the Eagle to take the image.  And the most aggressive crop.
I've been using some sharpening software from Topaz, notably AI Clear and Sharpen AI.  Technically, I have a few days left in the trial period for Sharpen, but I do like it.  Time to start looking for a coupon.
I think the software has allowed me to crop more aggressively.  There could be more detail in the Eagle feathers and the limbs.  And there is enough detail to be a good capture.  But for as far away as I was, I'll take this.

Not much more needs to be said.

And it is sharp on the monitors.

Pelican Banking

Pelican Banking.  That is way too funny.  If I could draw, I'd have the Pelican in a line of Pelicans in front of a bank teller or ATM.
This image from South Carolina is pretty much straight out of the camera.  That is to say I question if it is level or not.  I seem to remember in one flight sequence as the bird was flying almost directly over my head, I was still snapping away.  And when I think of the angles, this could be the result.  I thought about leveling the image to the clouds, but it did not work as well for me.

I didn't know Pelicans had blue eyes.  Looks blue to me.  I didn't do it.  Or enhance it.  Swear.
To me the image is intensely sharp.  The thousands of sea gull shots I took to practice getting in focus BIF paid off here.
The blue, black and red of the Pelican eye is catching.  Stark difference to the yellow of my Eagles.

Lots of interesting things.  the close wing tip with the feathers turned up.  I'm not sure about the tip of the bill, but I'll bet there is a evolutionary reason for it.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Eagle talking

I had to work for this one.
Yes, in mid-Michigan we now have those pesky green things that attach themselves to trees.  And block views.  And actually it is a good thing, it signals warmth.
However leaves are beginning to block my view of the local Eagle's nest.  The Eaglets are moving quite a bit but I can only get some brief glimpses for now.  Maybe at another time they will go to another part of the nest that I can see better.  So for now, the nest is almost off limits.  But Dad is still watching from a close by branch.  Out in the open.  Almost.
From my favorite Eagle paparazzi place, I have a clear path to view Dad, except for one lone branch that is attached to the limb he is sitting on.  If he moves four inches either way, good view.  And he doesn't move just to move his feet.  I was there for half an hour and he stayed put.
And that's OK, because he stayed put for the next half hour while I moved around.
I found another spot around the small water 'lake' with a clear view, but quite a bit farther away.  The images came out alright and one may make it to the blog.  I had to work for that one as well.  Lot's of brush to move through.
Then I tried the first location I used many months ago.  This is sneaking up to the tree that supports the nest.  And it's not easy to get to.  Again, working to get the image.  And in this case, I would be getting the back end the Eagle, not facing it.  Maybe it would work?
I was lucky.  When I found a place where the spring tree limbs with new leaves didn't get in my way, it was pretty heavy bush.  Gotta do what you gotta do.
I finally found a good place.  Every now and again, the Eagle would turn its head and I'd have a good shot.
Then two things happened I didn't expect.  First, the wind picked up and starting moving the leaves and branches (not helpful) and the Eagle began to chatter (helpful).  I'll take that trade every day.

This was at 600 mm.  I'm getting a lot more confident with the 1.3 size mode that allows me to get the extra reach.  Of course, I could really use a 500 or 600 mm lens as well.  Another time, another post.
And it was a healthy crop.  Looks good on the monitor and that is all that counts.

Some of the distortion in the sky are out of focus leaves that are in the way.  And I caught a bit of him doing some left wing maintenance, air it out in the breeze. But to get the timing of the Eagle chatting I'll live with it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

F4U Inverted

When reviewing all the images from the air show earlier this month, I over looked this one because it was a bit on the fuzzy side.  Not bad.  Would look good, or OK, on a small medium.  But it really is a nice shot.
There are three interesting parts of this image to me.
First, and foremost, is the prop and the front of the aircraft.  Prop is blurred, the yellow tip of the prop is coming across the blur paint of the cowling.  You have the yellow prop hub.  And there is some silver stuff going on.  The yellow prop tips coming across the cowling set this image apart for me.
Another area is the cockpit.  You can see the pilot's headgear.  Close enough you could talk with the guy.  The canopy glass is clear.  And since he is pretty much inverted, there is no sun spot or cloud reflection.  Just clear.
And this may sound odd, but the yellow tail tip gets to me as well.  Just makes me look at the entire tail section.  And maybe that's what kept me away earlier from this image, the writing on the tail section was just too blurry.  The decals may be a bit soft in the final image, and I'd like them to be a bit more crisp.  But as is it doesn't ruin the image for me.

All things being equal, I don't like shooting at f/25.  I feel that is not my best opportunity for a crisp image.  But when the subject is in the air, with no cloud cover, you just do what you have to do.  Fix it later.
That 600 mm (math) reach at 1/160 second doesn't help much either.  So spray and pray and hope fore the best.  (Sometimes you get lucky.)
At least the ISO was in the ball park.  Something that worked for me.

There is more software work in this than I'm usually comfortable with.  But software was created to be used.  This one might cost me though, the trial period is almost over.
For me, this is the  best of the air show bunch.  It is inverted, you can read the decals and there is pretty good prop blur.  That one will run the blue ink out of the printer.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Extra Gear

In the SRI maintenance area there are many unused (?) rail cars.  Each one is a treasure to itself.
Way in the back, I found a flat car with a wood deck.  On the deck was so much stuff.  All sorts of odds and ends.  And plant growth.  And synthetic rope.  I didn't want to irritate our generous hosts by climbing all over the cars so I could get a good frame on the entire deck.  So you do what you can.
On the back corner was this gear.  Looked heavy.  Looked weathered.

The 1/800 second shutter speed and ISO 2000 are a bit of overkill.  But this isn't going to be a fine art image.  A little noise isn't going to hurt this one at all.

I was in debate with myself on if the branches should be removed.  In the end, the location demanded the scene needed to stay as is.  The subject to me is the gear, and the branches are not in the way.  The detail in the metal is starting to get to me like the detail in wood.  I usually prefer to 'add' some to the rust color, but here it didn't work for me.  This shade is just right.

Metal Wheel Stuff

I had fun photographing 'stuff' at the Steam Railroading Institute maintenance area.  In the old and new stuff, lots of interesting shapes, forms and contrasts.  There were so many targets of opportunity.
There were a number of older, naturally weathered cars that reside in the maintenance area.  Some of the cars were recognizable such as tankers and box cars.  Other cars were more of a single purpose maintenance vehicle with large pieces of machinery attached.
Other targets were lots of stores of spare and fabricated parts.  In those areas there were many shapes and colors.  Great stuff for 'artsy' images.
Hopefully we'll get a chance to go back at a different time of year when the trains are out of the shed and maybe some better light.  But for now, this excursion was an excellent time.

This is part of a wheel assembly of the next railroad project for the SRI.  When I entered the parking area I saw the bottom frame skeleton of a steam engine.  I was instantly fascinated.  Rust.  It was outdoors and it looked it.  Rust.  On the other side was this placard with the rest of the story.  So it is there for a reason.

This skeleton as it is now is just a mess of shapes, light and rust.  This was soooo coool.  Rust.

So the following is part of the (as you are looking at it) right side toward the front wheel.  Looks a bit odd, but this part of the wheel has the offset weight.  I wanted to get a number of seemingly unrelated shapes.  Did I mention, I dig the rust?

This is definitely out of my comfort zone.  Screams "Artsy"!