Winston Salem Air Show 2015

It’s been one year since I started photographing air shows.  Winston Salem 2014 was the first one, and now one year later, I’m back to do it again.  This time is different, I have a year of experience under my belt, a photography class and an aviation workshop also behind me.

P51D Mustang, Obsession
P51D Mustang, Obsession

I was ready this time.  I bought VIP passes to get up close to the flight line and hopefully less audience to have to contend with when shooting.  I’ve learned to capture photos in a crowd now, and learned patience in trying to get just the right shot.  Some days it’s luck, but sometimes it’s all about planning and waiting.

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The weather was incredible for it, hot for this time of year, but beautiful partly cloudy skies.  I had my camera bag and even got my son in on photographing this time.  It’s his first time to pick up the camera and take pictures of the planes.  He’s excited because, I upgraded my Canon to the 70D and gave him my old, trusty Canon Rebel to use.

Photographing his first airshow.
Photographing his first airshow.

While there were some of my favorite planes performing, there were also some new one’s I’ve not seen before today.  It’s very exciting to get a chance to see and hear some of these marvelous beauties.  I never tire of hearing the roar of the engine, or see the beauty in motion as skilled pilots wow a crowd.

P51D Mustang, Angels' Playmate
P51D Mustang, Angels’ Playmate

Photographing Angels’ Playmate this year took on a whole new meaning for me as I worked to capture some prop blur to make her look like she’s actually in motion.  It’s a technique that takes some practice, and one I had no idea about a year ago.  Learning to pan with the plane is key, I normally set my shutter speed between 1/125 sec and 1/60 sec.  The slower you can go, the better chance you have of getting a full disc on the prop, but sometimes you sacrifice clarity.  Less pictures come out clear, but I can usually get a couple that are near perfect now that I’ve been practicing and that makes it worth it.

Team Aeroshell, T-6 Texan's
Team Aeroshell, T-6 Texan’s

I was excited to get a chance to photograph Team Aeroshell again in their T-6 Texan’s.  I saw them at Sun N’ Fun back in April when I was still trying to figure out how to capture prop blur.  I got some new great pictures of their performance here at add to my library.

Dragon, BAC Strikemaster
Dragon, BAC Strikemaster

One of my favorite new air show acts to see is from Red Star and Dragon.  They do a re-enactment of a battle from Vietnam.  Dragon, the BAC Strikemaster has the most incredible paint scheme I’ve seen so far on a plane.  It’s dramatic, theatrical and menacing all at the same time.  A beautiful plane with some great maneuvering abilities.  It was locked into a mock battle with Red Star.

Red Star, Viper 29
Red Star, Viper 29

One of my favorite modified T-6 Texan’s took to the air, but had a short lived flight due to engine problems.  I got a picture of it on landing and saw oil all over the plane.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy getting it on the ground with oil all over the windshield.  The pilot did a great job getting it back down safely.

A modified T-6 Texan
A modified T-6 Texan

One of two civilian owned Harrier Jets put on quite the show.  The loud engines are deafening, but the plane is incredible to watch and see.  We were so close this year to the runway, that our hearts felt like they were shaking in our chests when it was hovering and rotating just above us.

Harrier Jet
Harrier Jet
Harrier landing
Harrier landing

It’s always fun to watch jet engines on  ground vehicles.  We got to see Smoke n’ Thunder the jet car race John Klatt in his aerobatic plane for quite the show.  Talk about generating some heat…these two were ready to show us what fast looks like.

Smoke n' Thunder Jet Car
Smoke n’ Thunder Jet Car

The show was amazing, and we had a fantastic time.  I’ve yet to be bored with watching amazing planes and pilots fly.  The opportunity to see them perform aerobatics is breath-taking.  I long for a day when I get to try it out for the first time.

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