Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The wait is over

Ok, so between my hard drive crashing, having to get a new version of Photoshop and just plain laziness on my part, these images have been a long time coming. I'm sure they can't live up to the hype now after all this build up, but here we go.

I went to the airport with hopes of getting some take off/landing shots of this B-17 that was giving rides to those lucky souls with the means to afford it. I had been waiting a few minutes when I saw it making a long loop to set up for landing. I got my camera all set up with pre-set exposure, the right focusing mode, legs in the proper position, and arms at their most stable. I was set. Just as he was making his approach he began to turn away and I realized that the airport had changed the landing pattern because of the shifting winds. So instead of the plane landing right in front of me with a overcast and moody sky, it was going to land about a quarter of a mile away against a clutter of dark mountains. As if that wasn't good enough news, just after I squinted to see the plane land the clouds opened up and it started to pour. I thought that this would be my only shot of the day.

Determined to make the best out of a bad situation, I decided to try and find a place near where the plane had parked to get some shots through the fence. Turns out it was parked behind a hotel that backs up to the airport and I could drive to within about 15 feet of it. I thought this was a fantastic result and was all set to start shooting through the fence when I noticed that most of the people around the plane seemed to be taking pictures and just generally milling about. Now I can mill with the best of them, so I just put on my best I-know-what-I'm-doing-here face and walked out onto the tarmac. No one questioned me so I just started doing my thing. It's at this point that I think I should mention my choice of lens. I had started this adventure with the idea of shooting take offs and landings so I had put my 70-200mm zoom on the camera and hadn't bothered to bring anything wider. The problem with this choice may not be immediately obvious, but when you think that "wide angle" is generally considered to start around 24mm (and go lower) then you begin to see how this could be challenging. As I had no other options I decided to make these images about the myriad parts and curves that make up such a large and beautiful aircraft.

After exploring the outside of the plane for a while I decided to really make myself at home and step inside. Again no one gave me a second glance and I was able to explore almost the entire interior. Photographing the inside was even more difficult with the afore mentioned long lens. I could only get tight shots of things fairly far away and that was if I could actually get the lens up in some of the tight spaces. I was in such awe of this piece of history though, that it hardly mattered if I got any shots at all. My grandfather flew one of these in WWII and it was such gift to be able to see things as he would have seen them and to sit where he would have sat. Truly an awesome experience.

I spent so much time inside that by the time I came out almost everyone had gone. On a day of unique opportunities I was presented with this final one; an opportunity to make some images of this beautiful aircraft that were completely free of other people. And as the icing on the cake, the sun broke through the storm clouds for the last 30 minutes or so. I don't know if these images convey the awe and wonder that I experienced that day, but I'm glad that I have them to remind me.


The Father of Five said...

Those are some beautiful photos of a historic wonder!

Thanks for documenting them in the way you did!

fxmixer said...

Thanks for the feedback!