…morning light is magic…

Posts tagged “Airshow

F-22 Raptor

Got a chance to see the F-22 Raptor again for the 6th time at the Battle Creek, MI airshow over the 4th of July weekend.  It’s an amazing plane that never ceases to amaze me with its maneuvering capabilities.

While planning a trip home to visit family this summer, just happened to look up the F-22 schedule and saw it was going to be in Michigan fairly close to home.  Took my two brothers with me and they enjoyed the show as well.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 100-400 II with 1.4X III telconverter, handheld

1/1000 sec @ F8, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation, 368 mm

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1/2000 sec @ F8, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1 1/3 exposure compensation, 560mm

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1/1600 sec @ F8, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation, 560mm

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1/1250 sec @ F8, ISO 800, evaluative metering, + 1 2/3 exposure compensation, 318mm

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Wings Over Houston 2015 Airshow – Friday’s Practice

Friday at Wings Over Houston is a two-hour show for special needs kids and the opportunity for the pilots to practice for the main shows on Sat/Sun.  It’s not open to the general public so I found a spot along Hwy 3 at the end of the runway to get some close-up photos.

This was the first time in a few years that the F-18 was back at WOH and it’s always my goal to get a photo of the vapor cloud when they approach the speed of sound, around 600 mph.  A cold front coming through this weekend reduced the humidity in the air so Friday was going to be the best chance to get that shot.   Caught him starting to form the vapor cloud as he flew over me and it fully formed as he got over the runway.  A head-on shot would have been better but I’ll take it.

Taken with Canon 1DX and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4X III teleconverter, hand-held

Aperture priority, 1/3200 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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They have one original Japanese Zero flying at the show, with the rest being replicas from the movie Tora Tora Tora.  Being at the end of the runway allows for this shot as he banks around back toward the field.  Converted this one to B&W as the colors were muted anyway.  Used shutter priority to slow down the shutter speed to get the prop to blur.  The Zero prop’s spin faster than the P51 Mustangs so I usually use 1/320 for the Zero’s and 1/250 for the rest of the prop planes.

Shutter priority, 1/320 sec @ F14, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Only 3 of the Thunderbirds flew at the show around noon, which was a surprise.  Minimal cropping on the first two shots with none on the last one.

Aperture priority, 1/6400 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/6400 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Aperture priority, 1/3200 sec @ F5.6, ISO 800, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

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Incoming Japanese Zero

Here is my favorite Zero shot from Wings Over Houston airshow on Friday.  Taken from along Hwy 3 near the end of the runway.  I like the straight-on perspective, the tilted wings and that you can see the pilot.  It was a cloudy day but it works for this shot.  This is the only authentic Zero at the show.  The rest are mock-up’s from the movie Tora Tora Tora.   The 500mm lens makes a great airshow lens when you aren’t too close to the action.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II, hand-held

Shutter priority, 1/320 @ F16, ISO 400, +1 exposure compensation

1/1000 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400,


Blue Angels Turn and Burn at Wings Over Houston

The Blue Angles put on another great show at the Wings Over Houston airshow this year.  Spent the afternoon on Friday along Hwy 3 near the end of the runway.  Hand held my 500mm lens for about 3 hours, which was a good work out.  The biggest challenge was keeping it steady with the high winds.  I like the different angles that you can get from this location.  Spent Saturday along the flight line near show center but just got the typical airshow shots.  Here are some of my favorite Blue Angels shots from Friday.  Most of these are full frame with very little cropping.   It was time to turn and burn…

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens, handheld

Shutter priority, 1/320 sec @ F14, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

Aperture priority, 1/2000 sec @ F4.5, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +1 exposure compensation

Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400, evaluative metering

Aperture priority, 1/1250 sec @ F5.6, ISO 400, evaluative metering


Wings Over Houston Airshow

It’s October which means it’s almost time for the Wings Over Houston airshow, which is my favorite weekend of the year.  Dug these photos out of the archives from last year to get me in the mood for another airshow.  I’m bummed this year that the F22 Raptor won’t be flying as originally planned but they do need to concentrate on getting it flying again safely after the stand down.

Last year was a good time with the Thunderbirds back again.  I spend Friday afternoon at the end of the runway and all day Sat/Sun at the airshow.  Long days but a very good time.  Here are some tips for the airshow based on my experience.

Logistics:  I like to get there early when they open to get a spot along the fence for clear access to shots of the Tora Tora Tora explosions.  I usually take the park and ride bus from Bay Area Blvd.  They start running at 7:30 a.m.  It gets you there when they open the gates at 8:00 a.m. and gets you back to the lot after the show, bypassing some of the traffic without you having to worry about parking.  Recommend taking a folding chair to set up along the fence when you first get there to save your spot and then walk around the area to get some early morning light shots of the static displays.  Just remember to put your name on your chair to make sure that you can find it again, speaking from experience.  The gates open at 8:00 a.m. and they start flying around 10:00 a.m. with the main act around 3:00 p.m.  They have plenty of food booths around for feasting during the show.

Camera Equipment:  I typically just take my camera and 100-400 lens without a camera bag.  They won’t let you in with a large bag but I’ve seen people with camera backpacks get in without any problem.  I just like to travel light and don’t want to worry about keeping track of a large bag.  I use as small Think Tank pouch on my belt to hold a spare battery, memory cards, sunscreen and a poncho if it looks like rain.  Make sure that you take plenty of memory cards as it’s easy to take tons of shots.  Don’t bother with taking a tripod, which isn’t practical to use at an airshow.

Camera settings:  When shooting the planes going by, just consider them large birds and use some of the same techniques as birds in flight.  For jets, use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action and crank up the exposure compensation to get a good exposure against the bright sky.  I usually use aperture priority with the aperture wide open and +2/3 to +1 exposure compensation.  Check the histogram after the first pass and adjust the exp. compensation to get the correct exposure.  For WWII prop planes, I use shutter priority to use a slow shutter speed down to blur the props.  The zero’s have a faster prop speed than most of the rest of the warbirds.  I typically start with 1/320 sec for most of the prop planes and speed it up a little to 1/400 sec. for zero’s.  Helicopters require much slower shutter speeds to blur the blades.

The shot to try to get is the F-18 high-speed pass when it gets very close to the sound barrier.  If there is enough moisture in the air you can get a shot of the vapor cone that forms around the aircraft.  The air was too dry last year so no luck with the cone but I’ll be trying again this year.  It’s a challenge to judge the timing to catch the cone but try to maintain focus on the plane as he is coming towards you and then start shooting when he gets to the right of show center.  Just don’t miss it as you will have only one chance.  Good luck.

Here is a link to the airshow website.  http://www.wingsoverhouston.com/

F-16 Thunderbird taken near the end of the runway along Hwy 3

F4U Corsair doing a fly over at the end of the runway

Another end of the runway shot on Friday of an A-10 Warthog

Photo of a Japanese Zero with a B-17 in the background.

Action shot during the Tora Tora Tora exhibition.

B-17 flying fortress

B-24 bomber, if memory serves me correctly

Thunderbirds in action

Early morning light on cockpit.

Zero being chased.

Chopper at sunrise.


San Antonio Airshow

Along with wildlife, my other passion is airshows.  Here are a few shots from last year’s San Antonio Airshow.  Got my 100-400 lens for airshows and learned that is works well for birds too.  Guess that I like flying things of all types.  I’ve been making the drive to San Antonio for a few years now, especially since they have had the F-22 while Houston is still waiting for it to show up.  The F-22 is an awesome plane to watch and photograph.  Can’t wait to go back this year.