Al Swanson  

Formation by Al Swanson

October 2019 - Formation

About the Image(s)

I love airshows. It’s kind of a hassle to fight the crowds and do the mass parking because everybody else likes airshows too. About two weeks ago there was an air show in Colorado Springs and I just had to attend it. Of course it had the usual aerial acrobatics which thrilled the crowd to no end. This one had a great sampling of World War II aircraft that were put through their paces; including a B-17 and a B 25 plus an assortment of fighters. It was all quite delightful but the finale really took my breath away and this is an image of it “ “ a brand spanking new F-22 flying in formation with a World War II P -38. The F-22 had just completed its demonstration of maneuverability which truly wowed everybody. Then when it went through 15 minutes or so of acrobatics with the P 38 I was really amazed. Anyway, I shot this as they came over head and I converted it to black and white “ “ I think it makes it more effective an image. I didn’t do much in the way of postprocessing beyond adjusting contrast and adding a slight vignette. I cropped it in the lower left third to give the airplanes some place to fly. I just think the pairing of these two magnificent airplanes this breathtaking. Technical stuff: camera was an EOS 5D; f/10; 1/3200 of a second; ISO 800.

5 comments posted

Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
(Group 32)
Al, thanks for the fine story of getting the picture. It's great to hear how folks follow their passions and interests.
The shot is very interesting, contrasting the two aircraft.
One question. If you shot at a slightly slower shutter speed, could you get some blur in the P-38's propellers but still stop the motion of both aircraft?   Posted: 10/09/2019 17:59:52

Jerry Biddlecom   Jerry Biddlecom
I am in agreement with Stephen. I'm sure there's something in Photoshop that adds a realistic blur to spinning propellers -- I've tried using the various motion blurs of course but I can't quite get the angle to work out in a realistic fashion. I'm thinking somebody knows how to do this. I just wait until the plane is directly in front of me so that the turning props are viewed from the side. Even if they're frozen it's hard to tell and you can always add blur. It's pretty tricky trying to get turning blur in the props while freezing the rest of the aircraft. Overall, though, a very good shot -- the sun angle gives shape and form to the aircraft. Perhaps the vignetting is a little overdone.   Posted: 10/11/2019 09:27:29

Al Swanson   Al Swanson
I was debating the shutter speed to use on this image and elected to go with a high ISO and I shutter speed to ensure getting clarity and focus. Unfortunately, it also resulted in the stoppage of propeller rotation. While that makes the image a bit unrealistic I decided that it was a better to have the clarity.   Posted: 10/11/2019 10:58:22

Peggy Reeder   Peggy Reeder
I enjoyed your story of this photo shoot. And I like the contrast of the vintage and modern aircraft that you chose to capture. Good composition. Very, very nice!
  Posted: 10/11/2019 11:33:09

Marti Buckely   Marti Buckely
I would have liked to see the original - which was probably in color. Great to capture two eras of aircraft.
The general rule is to shoot at no higher than 1/250 in order to keep the propellers in motion. I agree with Jerry about the vignetting. I feel it could be a little softer.   Posted: 10/12/2019 16:12:19


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