In last week’s blog I talked about photography at Lockheed’s Blackbird Airpark. So, after we did those incredible planes we walked next door to the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark to find an even more challenging array of all types of military and important civilian aircraft, all jammed together in a fairly small space. Because most of the Warbirds were so close together I moved out to the outer edges of the display to try to isolate some Warbirds and maybe get a clear open background. I was delighted when I found one of their most significant aircraft on display in the outer most ring of the airpark.
The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star….
|f11.0 @ 1/1250 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 67mm
In its red, white and blue, stars and stripes paint job I consider this the star of the display at this airpark. For those unfamiliar with this historical Warbird the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was America’s first operational jet fighter and that it was flying in Europe at the height of WWII. Its creation was mandated with the discovery by Allied Intelligence of Germany’s ME 262 jet fighter in the spring of 1943. Tasked with its creation the ultra top secret project was given to the legendary “Kelly” Johnson at Lockheed’s famous “Skunk Works”. Beginning design on June 26th, 1943, the Skunk Works delivered the airframe in an astounding 143 days! The prototype was flying by January 8th, 1944.
Back to photography of this classic Warbird. One of my favorite techniques to isolate a large subject is to use a “foreground foil”. In this case using the small tree and bushes in a little patch of grass creating a dark vignette to frame the aircraft and block some empty sky. This is an example of why I start by viewing my subjects from a distance using more telephoto to look for an alignment of foreground-subject-background.
Again, looking for alignments and foregrounds….
|f8.0 @ 1/2000 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 93mm
This shows just how densely packed the aircraft are in this airpark. There are wings and tails overlapping and nearly touching. So, for this image I “placed” the colorfully striped jet (with camera position and focal length) under the tail of the jet in the foreground.
Another famous Lockheed design….
|f11.0 @ 1/1000 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 80mm
For this image of the Lockheed F104 “Star fighter” I moved to a rear angle to place the jet against that tree in the background, giving it a dark field for nice contrast between the jet and the tree; eliminating an empty bright sky. In camera tight framing eliminated side distractions.
Then sometimes you can just fill the frame with two really big planes….
|f11.0 @ 1/1000 sec. ISO 400; Lens @ 24mm
Wow, a B-52 bomber with a 747 in the background. And not just any 747 that’s one of the space shuttle carriers. Aside from close-in photography with my lens at 24mm what really made this image clean was that the large expanse of dirt in this airpark is so smooth and clean. They obviously take care of the grounds there.
Then moving around to inspect the 747….
|f4.0 @ 1/200 sec., ISO 800; Lens @ 105mm
In awe of the size of the 747 I walked past this until my son, Alex, told me to look closely above the landing gear. Happily perched at the edge of the landing gear well was this owl that had made a nest there!
Something about “birds of a feather!”…comes to mind, but it really doesn’t apply here!
Hope you enjoyed…should you have questions please don’t hesitate to ask…”Til next week…
Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com