Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kyle and Amanda Franklin at AirVenture 2009

This is photo is tough to post because it has been just over a month since Kyle and Amanda crashed during a show in Brownsville Texas. This shot was of one of Amanda's first shows as a wing-walker.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fire on Ice, 2010

For the past couple of years I've been the official photographer for the "Fire on Ice" short-course iceboat races that are part of the St. Paul (MN) Winter Carnival.
For this shot, I was laying on the ice with a wide-angle lens and snapped the shot just as the starter "dropped the flag" and the racers started sprinting.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mike Niccum at Hinckley Minnesota

It's rare to get good head-on shots at an airshow, but here's one of Mike Niccum diving straight at me from the 2009 Field of Dreams (Hinckley, MN) event.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

F-16 At Baraboo-Dells

This is an unusual shot of an F-16 generating a huge condensation cloud. Normally the Viper doesn't get this much vapor, but the conditions must have been just right on this day in 2010. Unfortunately, the Baraboo-Dells show was canceled for 2011. I hope they come back again next year.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mike Wiskus over Southern Wisconsin

Every now and again I get the chance to do some air-to-air photography. This shoot was a bit unusual because we were using a Robinson R-44 helicopter from Helicopter Specialties for the photo-ship. With the doors off, the R-44's VNE limits one to an airspeed of 100 knots. The stall speed of Mike Wiscus' Lucas Oil Pitts isn't that much below that. Thankfully Mike is very familiar with flying his Pitts when he's not "straight and level" and Jim Freeman knows exactly how to get the most out of the Robinson, so Mike was able fly in formation and make a number of passes past the helicopter in various configurations. For me, it was very comfortable. I shoot out of R-44s quite a bit, but usually all the seats are occupied and all the doors are off. For this flight I was alone in the back seat with only my door off, so I could put all my gear behind me on the seat and easily reach around to swap cameras or change memory cards.

I liked the prop-blur in this shot, but I would have liked to see Mike's face a bit better, and the background isn't very interesting...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nite Iceboat on Lake Wingra

One of my hobbies is iceboating. Normally I'm sailing, so I don't get to take too many photos. Here's one from a "fun day" on the tiny Lake Wingra in downtown Madison (WI).
This is a pretty standard panning shot with a medium-slow shutter-speed of 1/125 sec.
One post-processing trick I used was to apply a little bit of Photoshop's "Shadow Highlight" adjustment on about the top 20% of the highlights to bring some depth into the sail and to show the curve on the top of the deck better.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Oshkosh AirVentrure Night-Show, 2010

In 2010 the organizers of the EAA's AirVenture added a night-show on Saturday. This is a photo of Bob Carlton in his jet-powered glider.

Getting shots like this is kind of hit-and-miss. In this case I was shooting with ISO 1600, my lens wide-open, and a shutter-speed of 1/4 second. Panning with that long a shutter-speed is really more luck than skill. Setting the exposure is also tough. Many people simply use manual-exposure and set the aperture and shutter-speed after looking at a few test shots. The trick is trying to get the plane exposed enough to be seen, while not completely over-exposing the (very bright) pyrotechnics. Because there was a fairly wide range of brightness during the acts, I was using aperture-priority auto-exposure with -2/3 stop exposure bias.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Foggy Moring on the Racine Beach

Most of the time when I'm at a regatta, air-show, or some other event, my primary focus is on action. Sometimes, there are more serene opportunities. Almost all the time they end up "on the cutting room floor" since most people are interested in the "action". Because I often post an album of proofs with nearly every shot from an event, sometimes someone picks one out.

This is one of those shots.

It was taken at the 2010 Racine Catamaran Championship Regatta in the morning of the first day of the regatta. Little did we know that the fog would be an almost constant companion for the entire week (and prevent sailing on a number of days), but at the time it looked like a pretty shot. One of the competitors noticed it in the proofs album and asked for a copy to use in a calendar for his family, so I worked it up for him. Normally I'm trying to make my photos "pop" with color and sharpness, but in this case I had to spend some time toning things down to preserve the foggy look.