Tag Archives: airplanes

Airplane Curves – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

This week’s photo shoot is from the air show I referenced in last week’s photo shoot on the classic cars. The air show was the main attraction, but they also had a classic car competition, thus the shots last week. I’m kind of following the same venue with another classic era shoot in that I love the lines and sculpted curves on airplanes. I especially appreciate the look on the older models and always seek that “artistic” way of capturing shots.

From that perspective, I am focusing on one plane in particular from that show as it represents all of the classic elements I seek in photographing airplanes. As I did last week, I am attaching each shot in color and then again in black and white. The black and white really pulls out a vintage aspect in each of the photographs. (If anyone recognizes what model this particular classic is, let me know. I was thinking it was a DC-3, which was one of the initial work horses in passenger aviation, but those had single tails and this has a twin tail.)

Airplanes Curves 1

Airplanes Curves 1

This first shot is on the tarmac and the pilot is going through his pre-flight routine before firing up the engines.

Airplane Curves 2

Airplane Curves 2

Same shot in black and white. Creates a vintage look, but also focuses the eye on the lines and curves of the nose and engines.

Airplanes Curves 3

Airplanes Curves 3

This next shot is the plane taxing out to the runway.

Airplane Curves 4

Airplane Curves 4

Again, the black and white makes it look like a picture right out of aviation history. You can almost imagine the passengers waiving good-bye through the windows (love the curtains!).

Airplane Curves 5

Airplane Curves 5

The last shot is the plane doing a low-level flyover before heading out to the other end of the Phoenix metro area to an airport over there that houses a number the old classic airplanes.

Airplane Curves 6

Airplane Curves 6

The black and white photograph looks like a postcard from an airline in that era… Thoughts?

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Phoenix International Raceway – Excerpts from a Photo-Shoot

This photo shoot is one of those “let’s play with our camera and see what we get” shoots. The location is the Phoenix International Raceway the first week of November. NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) rotates through this raceway about twice a year. My wife and I and my oldest daughter and her husband thought it would be fun to go as none of us have been to any NASCAR races. This particular day was National Military Service Appreciation Day. I tell you this only because this always means some great military aircraft flyovers before the race starts.

The only reason I brought my camera was that my oldest is getting back into photography (it left her somewhere during those college years a decade ago) and has been picking my brain on different aspects of taking interesting shots. That particular week, we had been talking about shutter speed and how that can open up the door to dramatic shots of things you normally don’t get to capture. With the flyover scheduled before the race and the cars during the race going past us at 110 mph, I thought this would be a great opportunity for her to experiment.

The flyover came and I was laughing so hard at her I almost didn’t get any shots myself. Watching her head twist and bob as the jets and planes flew over as she was still trying to find them in her viewfinder was worth the day. So lesson one – fast activity does not wait for you to line it up in your viewfinder. Anticipate the direction of the subject and shoot numerous shots to capture one great one.

(I should note that I used 1/1600 shutter speed on all the attached shots)

PIR 4

PIR 4

PIR 5

PIR 5

PIR 6

PIR 6

Notice on these shots of the flyover that the propellers are caught frozen because of the shutter speed. If you were doing a technical photo shoot for the purpose of capturing propeller driven airplanes flying, you would slow the shutter speed done to catch the blur of the propellers spinning to create more realism in the final shot.

Since we weren’t into this except for examples of shutter speed, we didn’t get too creative with our angles and just shot what was going on around us. Our seats were at the end of the straightaway, so the cars were flying past us at about 110 mph on the other side of a massive chain link fence. You literally held your camera steady, aimed it and shot a series of captures when the group of cars came down the straightaway. In person you had to eye the car as it came into your field of vision and follow it with your head very fast as it went by (ignoring everything else) just to see any detail of the car. Notice in the next two shots the people walking in front of the fence. See the guy in the red shirt and the girl coming up the steps with the black cap straight across from him and facing his direction in both shots. The time frame between the shots is negligible, but note none of the cars are the same in either shot…that’s how fast they were going.

PIR 2

PIR 2

PIR 3

PIR 3

The final shot gives you a perspective of the cars that just pasted us and are going around the curve. Except for the fence issue, the clarity and detail is great.

PIR 1

PIR 1

This wasn’t a glitzy sexy photo-shoot, but I shared it because there are elements you can capture of fast moving subjects and make them creative. Thoughts?

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What Makes a Black and White Photograph an Art Print? Part 2

What are the elements in a black and white photograph that make it an art print? There are numerous aspects to a shot that elevate it from just a photograph to an art print. I focused on three elements in part 1 – composition, depth and lines / details. In part 2, I want to look at:

1.   Lighting

2.   Perspective

3.   Contrast and tones

 

Airplane Nose

Airplane Nose

Using an art print “Airplane Nose” from my Black and White Photography 2 Collection as an example, lets take a look at each of those elements.

Lighting

The lighting in any photograph is important, but in a black and white it becomes critical. How the light illuminates the subject determines the way the gray tones are going to be seen. This creates depth and form. Simple shadings will change the presentation of the subject. In the example notice the reflective quality of the lighting. In this case, it accents the shining metal of the plane’s body and also creates the shape of the nose.

Perspective

The perspective of the photograph is the angle or the viewpoint with which the photograph is taken. The perspective changes everything. In the example, my perspective is slightly  angled from the front of the plane. I’m not looking straight on or horizontally. This creates a more interesting shot, leads to depth and finally composition of the shot. You want your perspective to tell a story and create interest.

Contrast and Tones

In a color photograph, you are dependent on color to tell a story. With the elimination of that, you are dependent on the contrast and tones to create the subject. In the example, you have strong contrast around the engines and propellers. The body of the plane is displayed well due to the tones. The tones build the nose of the aircraft with the bright metal and rivets.

All of these elements work together to create a black and white art print. With all of this in place, it still ultimately depends on the viewer. Does the print pull you into the picture and tell a story. Does it stir interest in you visually. If it does, whether you like the subject matter or not, then the photographer has created an art print.

Thoughts?

I invite you to come into the gallery to view the new additions to the collection in the Black and White Gallery 2.

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Airplane Parts – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

Not that I’m in an aviation or aircraft pattern, but my photo shoot excerpt this week is again planes. Ironically enough, I was going through the “Shack” photo shoot and forgot I took a number of pictures of the airplanes parked at the Goodyear Airport (Goodyear, Arizona – western suburb of Phoenix). The airport does a lot of refurbishing work on aircraft and parks a number of them around the property while they are being worked on and for older planes, to have the spare parts available. With the dry climate, makes for a great place to store them. Where I am going with all of this is not the planes, but how to make pictures you have taken a little more interesting if you’re thinking of using them for interior design. The first picture is the original shot. (I wasn’t kidding….there are a lot of aircraft parked there…this is just a small portion of them.)

Original Photograph

Original Photograph

So I took that shot and cropped it into a more interesting shape to focus the eye on the planes and the Sierra Estrella Mountain Range in the background.

Cropped Photo

Cropped Photo

Just reshaping the print and puling the focus in on what you are trying to display, changes the dynamics of the shot. I love B&W photography, so I took it another step further….

Black and White

Black and White

Totally different picture.

Let’s take one more….the original shot:

Original Shot

Original Shot

You can tell that the front plane is used for parts as it’s missing engines…

This photograph cropped….

Cropped

Cropped

Not dramatically different, but cleaned up to keep the eye focused where you want it to.  And then finally the black and white version…

Black and White

Black and White

I use this technique of cropping and changing to black and white to create more interest in a photograph specifically if it’s being used to adorn an office or office suite. Just some thoughts!

 

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Luke Air Force Base 2014 Air Show Revisited – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

I have been working with some of the shots I took from the Air Show at Luke Air Force Base (reference prior blog). I did not haul my telephoto lens with me, so for the fly overs, I wasn’t sure what kind of shots I would get. I did shoot everything in RAW format so I could get as much detail as possible. When I initially looked at the shots, I wasn’t sure I could do much with them….the planes looked lost and uninteresting. It was a totally different shoot I did after the show that made me go back and play with the fly over shots. On this other shoot, I was looking at some of the pictures and decided to try some drastic cropping and took those shots to full clarity (RAW). The result was incredible, so I came back to these and did the same thing….I was really pleased with the results and have attached  four of the shots with the original.

Original 1

Original 1

Cropped 1

Cropped 1

Original 2

Original 2

Cropped 2

Cropped 2

Original 3

Original 3

Cropped 3

Cropped 3

Original 4

Original 4

Cropped 4

Cropped 4

Again, since I shot this in RAW format, I could go maximum clarity on the final shots which allows me to crop and not lose any detail.

 

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Luke Air Force Base 2014 Air Show – Excerpts from a Photo Shoot

A friend of mine and I attended the Air Show at Luke Air Force Base here in the Phoenix region two weeks ago. It was called Lightning in the Sky. Being familiar with air shows having lived north of MCAS Miramar in San Diego for many years, I knew that it would entail a great display of military aircraft old and new. The aerial acrobatics were incredible and the day was topped off by the infamous Blue Angles. All of that said, I thought it would be an interesting opportunity for a photo shoot of the different aircraft. Having never really focused on photographing airplanes and jets, I saw it as an opportunity to capture these proud birds with my artistic eye. I have attached 7 of the shots from that day in their raw form (no cropping). Not sure how I will take these and turn them into art prints, but I would assume a few will go into my Black and White Photography Gallery, a few to my Color Photography Gallery and some I will use as a basis for painting techniques. I will share some of the final art prints as I create them…enjoy!!

Air Show 1

Air Show 1

Air Show 2

Air Show 2

Air Show 3

Air Show 3

Air Show 4

Air Show 4

Air Show 5

Air Show 5

 

Air Show 6

Air Show 6

Air Show 7

Air Show 7

I couldn’t have asked for better lighting and I like the amount of detail I was able to capture.

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