Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pic(k) of the week 39: MIKAEL CARLSONS FOKKER DR1 AT SUNSET (Oldtimer Fliegertreffen Hahnweide)

Earlier in the month, I attended the Oldtimer Fliegertreffen, in Hahnweide, Germany. I'll be dedicating an entire post to this great vintage aircraft event later in the month, but meanwhile feel the need to share at least one image as a Pic(k) of the week!

The one that really makes the show is undoubtedly the Swede Mikael Carlson; an airline captain who has been attending the biannual Hahnweide Oldtimer Fliegertreffen, since 1991! 

Beside his amazing early 20th century Thulin A (licensed built Blériot XI) he normally also brings a second aircraft of the Mikael Carlons Flying Machines collection. This year it was the World War I replica of the Fokker Dr1 Triplane. This is not your average replica, but is almost an exact copy of the original WWI fighter just about 100 years ago! Amazing craftsmanship displayed by Mikael.

This was the type of aircraft, German WWI ace, Manfred Von Richthofen, also known as the Red Baron, flew during a large part of WWI.

Like previous years, Mikael flew just before sunset when the winds were calm and the air was more stable. An amazing sight and a moment I'll never forget!

In the image below I was attracted to the beautiful sunset light illuminating the bottom of the three wings as he took off from the grass runway in Southern Germany. 

Oldtimer Fliegertreffen Hahnweide 2016

Image details:
Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF100-400 lens
ISO 800, 347mm, f9, 1/220s
RAW development in Lightroom CC
Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 for optimal contrast


For those X-photographers, new to the X-T2, the image below was shot using C shooting and Zone in AF mode with the following AF-C Custom setting:
  • Tracking Sensitivity 0
  • Speed Tracking Sensitivity 1
  • Zone Area Switching Auto

While I'm trying to find the time to blog about the Hahnweide event earlier in September, all of the images edited so far can be found here.


Lastly, I would like to finish with a quote of Manfred Von Richthofen, which is valid both for pilots as for photographers: "The quality of the box matter little. Succes depends on the man who sits in it".

BJORN

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pic(k) of the week 38: SUNSET OVER THE NORTH SEA

Earlier this week, a friend in Belgium took us on his yacht for a sunset cruise on the North Sea to celebrate a birthday of one of the other participants. 

The trip came at the end of an an usual warm 30C september day and I was all excited when my weather radar app showed a solid line of clouds on the western horizon. Always promising for a vivid and spectacular sunset! Even better, the sea conditions were extremely calm; something that I've been told happens less than a dozen times a year...

The image below is a single shot, without the benefit of using fancy HDR  or image blending techniques. 


Image details:
Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF 18-135 lens
ISO 400, f11, 1/220s, 24mm (35mm full frame equivalent)
RAW development in Lightroom CC
Nik Colorefex pro 4 with Pro contrast filter

I was particularly attracted to the combination of two complementary colours; dark blue at the top and warm yellow on the sunset.

Remember: "Enjoy every sunset, look forward to every sunrise!"




Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Pic(k) of the week 37: Pitts Special S-2C in action - Fujifilm X-T2 with XF100-400 lens

Next weekend is an important one when it comes to Airshow/Aviation photography for me... I'm planning to fly my 1954 Piper Super Cub to document one of the largest  (if not "the largest"?) vintage/antique aircraft event in Europe. The "Oldtimer Fliegertreffen" at Hahnweide, near Stuttgart Germany, is a three day get together of over 350 historic aircraft which normally takes place, every two years in early september.

Because, I'll be shooting the show with new photo-gear, Fujifilm X-T2 and XF100-400 lens, I wanted to give it some more practical testing during a small private aviation event last weekend! Especially, since my pre-production copy of the X-T2 is now on its final release firmware, I was very much interested in how it would perform for high speed aviation photography. 

The image below is of a friend flying his Pitts Special S-2C; a high performance US built aerobatic airplane which remained in production till 2008 and today is still amongst the best available.


Image details:
Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF100-400 lens
ISO 400, f13, 1/240s, 159mm
Lightroom CC for RAW development
Nik ColorEfex Pro4 with Pro Contrast filter

Fellow photographers might be questioning the small f13 aperture used (and therefore a relative slow shutter-speed of 1/240s). This is done on purpose in order to have a nicely "blurred propellor"; a must when photographing propellor airplanes in-flight! Yes, I should have reverted back to ISO 200 as enough light was available. Anyway, the challenge is trying to have sharp images while displaying a nice prop arc (or partial arc); something that with the longer focal length needs a lot of practise to perfect!

I've been mainly experimenting with the new AF-C Custom settings, something that is amongst the X-series cameras, unique to the X-T2. For photographing airplanes in-flight, I've had the best keeper rate so far with "Set nr 2" (Ignore Obstacles & continue to track subject). I'm in process of fine-tuning Set 6 (Custom) for a perfect match between tracking sensitivity, speed tracking sensitivity and Zone area switching. Obviously work in progress!

Meanwhile, isn't it an exciting time to be a photographer? We have finally come to a moment where mirrorless cameras like the Fujifilm X-T2 are on par or in some ways even better than the heavy and large DSLR's! Yes, the +6000USD top-end DSLR's still have an advantage when it comes to focus tracking, but I just don't see myself hauling one of these for 10-12hrs at an airshow anymore. Been there, got the T-shirt!

BJORN


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

NATIONAL AIR and SPACE MUSEUM - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Washington DC is known for its musea; one of them being the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) which holds very important Air and Space memorabilia such as the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St Louis, the Apollo 11 command module and the Bell X-1 first supersonic aircraft flown by Chuck Yeager. 


Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Musuem - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles airport, Washington, US

Far less known is its sister museum at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy center at the Washington Dulles International airport, about 40 miles west of the capital, which is also part of the Smithsonian institution. This much larger facility built in 2003, houses some of the larger air and spacecraft that couldn't find a place in the  downtown museum.

I visited the Üdvar-Hazy center, while on a short 24hr layover in Washington earlier this month and was very impressed with the overal look and feel of the museum. The NASM group is known for only accepting "rare birds" in its collection; they are clearly after record breaking or last remaining machines rather than just displaying anything being donated. 

Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Musuem - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles airport, Washington, US

Its main attraction is the Space Shuttle "Discovery"; which spend 365 days in space over 39 different space missions. I had seen a Shuttle mated to its Boeing 747 transporter before, but had never been that close. Being brought up in the Space Shuttle era, to stood there in absolute owe for probably the best part of an hour!

Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Musuem - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles airport, Washington, US

I've heard people asking when they will clean Discovery, which is obviously the wrong question to ask... Standing there gracefully just like she last came back from space on March 9 2011, with all of the space dust and burnt tiles intact!

In the World War II section, one finds some very rare birds, such as the only remaining German Arado 234 and Dornier Do 335 Pfeill. 

Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Musuem - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles airport, Washington, US

Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Musuem - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles airport, Washington, US

Enola Gay, a WWII US bomber is known for the wrong reasons; being the first aircraft to drop a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Musuem - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles airport, Washington, US

The Boeing B-307 Stratoliner "Flying Cloud" is another "only survivor"; being the first pressurised airliner. 


Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Musuem - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles airport, Washington, US

Entering the jet age, the Boeing 367-80, also called the dash 80, this is the predecessor of would later be called the B-707. 
Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Musuem - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles airport, Washington, US


The worlds fastest manned air breathing aircraft, the SR-71 Blackbird, was nicely lined up with Discovery behind it; what a sight.

Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Musuem - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles airport, Washington, US

Obviously this is only a quick snapshot of what can be seen at the Udvar-Hazy center. To all aviation geeks in the area, don't miss this free museum! You won't regret it...
Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Musuem - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles airport, Washington, US


Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Musuem - Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Dulles airport, Washington, US








Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Pic(k) of the week 36: Sunny spells over Greenland

The ones that have been to Greenland or even just flown over it, often wonder how the place got its name? Well even historians can't agree 100%, but it looks like Norwegian Viking Erik the Red (Thorvaldsson) was the one responsible for its bizar name! As he was exiled from Iceland for manslaughter more than 1000 years ago, he "discovered" Greenland and called it that way, to attract more people going to live there. Needless to say, there is very little (read none) greenery in Greenland.

Today it is still the worlds largest island (Australia is larger but officially a continent) and with its 56480 (2013) inhabitants, also holds the record for being the "least populated" country.

From the air, on a clear day, Greenland is one of the most photogenic places to shoot aerial photography from. Its long fjords are often studded with amazing icebergs, several kilometer long glaciers come down its +2000m high icecap which span the whole central section. An amazing sight!

The image below was shot from 38000 feet just North of Narsarsuaq in southern Greenland. I was especially attracted how a very thin layer of clouds was partially obscuring the view to this beautiful bay covered with small icebergs. 


Image details:
Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF18-135 lens
ISO 1600, f5.6, 1/6000s, 46mm (69mm full frame equivalent)
RAW file development in Lightroom CC
Nik ColorEfex Pro with Pro Contrast filter

My ever growing Aerial photography gallery can be found here.

Remember: "The best dreams happen when you are awake"

BJORN