Upload & Sell: On
I had my first true A2A experience yesterday. I flew with the fine folks involved in the RedStar Pilots Association during their annual certification and training at Falcon Field (KZZF). I flew rear seat in a Beech T-34 Mentor and worked at photographing a 20 ship formation made up of a variety of T-6's, Nanchang's, Yaks, etc.
Gratefully, I was able to shoot with the canopy open; however, I learned quickly that is a double-edged sword. While I enjoyed not shooting through an imperfect canopy, I quickly had to adapt to maneuvering my back to one side of the cockpit to avoid the barrel of my 70-200L catching too much wind on the other side. I learned that lesson the hard way when I made a quick switch to shooting the formation from one side to another. The lens shade for my 70-200L now resides somewhere in the open desert east of Casa Grande.
Lots of other lessons learned. It was a bumpy ride with turbulence being the order of the day. Shooting at slower shutter speeds was difficult for this nimrod. A Kenyon stabilizer might have come in handy. If we had been shooting jets my keeper rate would have gone up dramatically. I also found it difficult shooting a 20 ship formation. I had gone with the expectation of flying in the formation and having the ability to shoot single/double aircraft at close range. The RedStar folks asked me to fly with their photo ship and shoot the entire formation, so I had to quickly change my mindset and be prepared to shoot with both my 24-70L and the 70-200L. Word of wisdom, close canopy to change lenses
Fun factor highlight of the flight is when my pilot (aerobatic/formation rated) performed a nice 1G power roll over the top of the formation while I shoot out the top of the open canopy. While it was tons of fun, it is not a photo position I recommend for capturing tack sharp and properly framed images - at least not for me
It was a great experience and I look forward to more opportunities in the future. Here are a couple of quick edits - more to come next week. Now off to church.
My photo platform and one shot of the formation forming-up west of the Superstition Mountains.