Thursday, May 3, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 18: YOU CAN BE MY WINGMAN ANYTIME - Piper Cub J-3

Most of my readers, probably know that I love flying old (vintage) planes beside the heavy metal I fly for a living. Photographing them in-flight is another thing that is always high on the photography priority list... 

While one can snap the occasional aerial photo while flying the plane, shooting Air to Air (other aircraft in-flight) is a big no-no when one is actually flying the plane. Close formation flight is definitively one of the more demanding types of general aviation flying, as it needs constant concentration. Beside a thorough pre-flight briefing between all pilots participating in the formation is essential for the safe conduct of such a flight.

On a recent visit to Belgium, we flew formation with a friends 1943 J-3 Piper Cub, while somebody else was flying the "photoship"; the plane where the images are made from. 

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T20 with the XF18-135 lens
  • 1/220s, f13, ISO 200, 56mm
  • Lightroom CC for RAW development
Whenever one is photographing propellor planes, versus jets or gliders, you have to make sure to have a long enough shutter speed in order to show some movement in the propellor. Ideally a full 360 degree arc will be shown, but that might require a too slow shutter speed for sharp images. Being able to see the full arc, depends on the prop RPM (Rotations Per Minute) and the number of prop blades installed; the more blades, the easier it is to see the full arc; the Piper Cub has only two blades.

While the native X-series minimum ISO is 200, one can use the L100 if there is too much light, which will allow one to still shoot in RAW below the native ISO 200.  

I've said it before; shooting propellor planes in flight (from the ground or from another plane like here above), remains one of the more challenging forms of "sport" photography. 

More of my Air to Air shots can be found here

I lately was able to fly a 1937 Tipsy Trainer. Haven't done so, I've now flown aircraft all the way built from the 1930's to 2010's... Looking for a 1920's aircraft next, to achieve my goal of flying at least one type for every decennia during a full century. Nine done, one to go! Anybody that can help me achieve flying a 1920's airplane, please contact me!

Remember: "Until you spread your wings, you have no idea how far you can fly".


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