Formation Flight Video

Here is the GoPro video from my formation flight on the evening of July 5th. Be sure to watch the video in its full glory in 1080p resolution! This is the condensed version. The full version will come soon, as will more pictures from the evening.

Note: To get it to play in full 1080p, click the YouTube logo in the bottom right corner. Once the YouTube page has loaded, click on the small gear in the bottom right corner and select the top option, which will be 1080p.

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Sneak Peak

Here’s a sneak peak as to what my night was like last night! Did a formation flight with an Acro Sport II. I was in a Pitts S-2C. This was the view out of my window as we took off in formation from Danbury Airport. I had a GoPro mounted on the outside of the aircraft for the flight. The video is pretty spectacular! Can’t wait to share it with everyone.

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Happy 4th!

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend! The weather is terrible here in the Northeast today, but the weekend is looking fantastic! I can’t wait for the Danbury Fair Mall fireworks. Will hopefully have some great images to share with you.

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Preparing for the 4th!

Thought I would do a little 4th of July warm-up with this shot of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Not too many things are more patriotic than six blue and yellow F/A-18 Hornets screaming down the flight line. This is their six ship formation. If you pay close attention, you will see that the #5 jet is missing, and is replaced by the #7 jet. The #5 jet had mechanical issues upon start-up for the show, and had to be replaced by the #7 jet.

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Release of Photoshop CC 2014

Adobe recently released Photoshop CC 2014, which is the latest and greatest update in the Creative Cloud updates. For those of you who don’t have Creative Cloud, then this update doesn’t apply to you, but it may just convince youth become a Creative Cloud member. Creative Cloud or CC for short, is a monthly membership from Adobe that gives you access to all of their products. They release updates about every month for most of their programs, and these updates are downloadable for those who have the membership. All of these updates are not available in the standard versions of Photoshop, as you have to wait for the next release to get them (i.e. CS7 when it comes out). One of the biggest features of CC 2014 for me comes in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) which is the raw processor that comes with Photoshop. It is an automatic horizon leveler. Previously to level the horizon, you would have to use the ruler tool to calculate the angle it was off by, and then arbitrarily level it. You could also level it by eye using the rotation tool in ACR. Now all you have to do is click a button and it does it with 100% accuracy. I like that! The image above was processed using the new Photoshop CC 2014 update.

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Go Wide With Clouds

I, and many other photographers, often get caught up in getting that tightly framed photograph of the aircraft in front of our lens. There is no doubt, that is the glamour photo, and if an image was going to get published, that would be the one. For me, I try and make a point to shoot the aircraft wide after I know I have the tight shot. When you have clouds, it is super easy to accomplish because the detail in the clouds compliments the aircraft flying into them. The image above features an F-22 Raptor. It had just made a pass down the flight line and was turning out towards the back edge of the air show box. If you pay close attention to the image, you can see the exhaust heat trail that the aircraft left. If I were to have shot this image tight, this element would have never come through.

With aircraft that use stunt smoke, it is even better because the smoke trails stick around for quite some time and create another element in the frame on top of the clouds. This is the Jet Waco from the Rhode Island Air Show. The light really made this shot, as the sun had just gone behind the clouds, which gave the smoke a really odd color to it that really makes it pop. Next time you are shooting planes, or any subject for that matter, be sure to shoot it wide!

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Screamin’ Through the Air

This TF-51D “Bum Steer” was absolutely screaming through the air above Rhode Island at the air show. He was initiating a slow aileron roll at a very high speed. Combine the speed with the great clouds in the background and you have the makings for a great composition. By slowing the shutter speed down, I not only blurred the prop, but blurred the clouds in the background. Both of these elements give the viewer a sense of speed, which is what I want to communicate through my photograph.

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70th Anniversary of D-Day

With the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion coming up tomorrow, I thought I would do a post on one of the most iconic characteristics of WWII warbirds, and that is the D-Day stripes. For those aircraft that participated in the invasion, 3 white stripes and 2 black stripes were painted on the aircraft to allow the men on the ground to tell the enemy apart from the friendlies as the pilots carried out their ground attacks. These stripes were nowhere near as perfect as they are today, as the stripes were painted onto the aircraft by whatever the ground crew could find. In many cases it was mops that were used to apply the paint, and as a result, was rather sloppy, but it certainly did the job. Most, if not all of the aircraft nowadays have very cleanly painted stripes, which certainly looks great, but isn’t 100% true to form. The image above is a P-51D Mustang “Bald Eagle” taking off in preparation for the Heritage Flight at the Rhode Island Air Show. You can see the stripes painted on the fuselage just behind the canopy as well as on the underside of the wings.

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Jet Engine on a Biplane??

There is only one biplane on the airshow circuit that has a jet engine strapped to it, and that is Screamin’ Sasquatch, a 1929 Taperwing Waco. It is powered by dual power plants; a Pratt & Whitney 985 Radial Engine and a General Electric CJ610 Jet Engine off of a Learjet 24. The tandem produces over 4,500 lbs. of thrust!

It is really a sight to see, as that sound it produces doesn’t fit with what is flying in the sky at all. The thing is an absolute monster, with a 1:1 power to weight ratio. The aircraft can climb nose-up using only the radial engine, and when it runs out of airspeed, can use the jet engine to accelerate while climbing from zero airspeed. Just incredible to see…

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F-22 Raptor

Simply put, this is one powerful aircraft, yet it is just so good looking. Whether on the ground or in the air, it is an aircraft that always has photographers lenses on it. It is truly a remarkable piece of machinery, and its sheer power isn’t showcased until it takes to the skies. The sound of the two F119 engines is just incredible, and resonates through your body. The F-22 Raptor Demo Team put on quite a show for the crowd, demonstrating the Raptors tight turn capabilities, slow and high speed flight (did one pass at 600 mph and the next at 100 mph), as well as its fully internal weapons bay.

It was pretty cool to be able to capture all of the detail within the bay itself. This shot was my second favorite from the demo, with my first being the shot below.

I know, I already posted it, but I thought it deserved another appearance. For me, it depicts the shear power and beauty of the aircraft in one photograph. It showcases the iconic profile of the jet, afterburner flames shooting out of the rear, as well as vapor shooting over the wings as he is doing 600 mph +. If you ever have the chance to see this jet in the air, it will truly blow you away.

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