Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sabre Dance

Like their Mustang, North American Aviation's F-86 Sabre was a classic beauty with gorgeous lines. One can get lost in the curves and flows of the body and canopy as the light plays off the polished metal surfaces. It is a dance of white on a silver body; a pas de deux that I find endlessly entrancing.

Here is an overall shot of the Sabre, below. Even simple documentary shots cannot fail to show the beauty of the design. They are even more striking in the air.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mustang Sally

I have this love/hate relationship with aviation museums. On the one hand, it's nice to have aircraft preserved for current and future generations to see and appreciate. On the other hand, many times the aircraft are in a wretched state of preservation and stored or exhibited in less than ideal conditions. Ideally, they should be restored to as near pristine condition as possible and as close to the markings of their real service career, then displayed indoors in a climate-controlled environment.

That, of course, is far from what happens in many places, especially in small, financially-strapped local museums.

Southern California is fortunate in that many such places do have the ability to preserve and display a large part of their collections in great venues. Some friends and I went to two of those museums last weekend: the Yanks Air Museum and the Planes of Fame Museum, both in Chino, CA.

Yanks is the newer of the two at the Chino Airport. The airport has long been the home of Planes of Fame and a whole subsidiary industry dedicated to the restoration and preservation of old warbirds and contemporary air racing craft. Both museums now sport beautiful interior hangar displays and a large collection of flyable and flying articles.

We went to Yanks first because there was a kit collector's show being held inside the facility that day - the reason for our excursion.

While it's great to see such beautifully restored aircraft, the one complaint I have with every such venue is it's a royal pain to get good over-all shots of the individual vehicles. I much prefer to get clean shots outside in nice light. But if they were outside in nice light, they would not be in such great shape for long. Such is the dilemma of museum aircraft.

Nevertheless, neat shots can be had with a little creativity. The image below is an overall view of the legendary North American Aviation P-51D Mustang. The kit show is to the left of the airplane, outside the framing of the shot. It's amazing how much you can hide with careful composition.

It's a decent shot, but not a great one. Good enough for documentary purposes, though.

However, with a bit of careful positioning and composition, a much more dramatic shot is possible, as is shown in the image that opens today's entry. The Mustang was built with beautiful curves and this angle shows some of those classic lines to good effect. The lighting helps set the mood with dark shadows and bright highlights that accentuate the shape of the airplane. It is a much more expressive shot than the overall picture, but than it should be. After all, that is the difference between art and documentation as each have different objectives in mind. While those objectives are not necessarily exclusive of each other, it is a much more difficult challenge to combine the two - especially in a museum setting.

And that's why I shoot both ways, if possible.

We will explore more such images in the next few entries.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Evie and Eoin

It is so cute to watch Evie interact with her little brother at this age. She is really quite protective of him. If he gets fussy she'll try to cheer him up. When we were visiting this Christmas she discovered a snowman toy that had a recording of Jimmy Durante singing "Frosty the Snowman." She thought it was the funniest thing, so she had to share with Eoin.

And share she did...over and over and over...and over again. The adults were ready to slit their wrists, but Evie would laugh and stick the snowman in front of Eoin and watch him smile and give his little gasp-y laugh. It cracked her up.

In truth it was pretty funny. And much better to have her wanting to make him laugh than cry. I hope that continues for a long while.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

Well...that was longer than I expected. I did not plan for a hiatus of this duration, but having the computer go out on me and with it being down for over a month did not help the situation. Between that and the crunch of year-end events, work and outside jobs, blogging became an expendable option. The first month I was too busy to miss it; the second month I found I did miss it.

As far as the computer problem, the nearest thing that we could figure out was that my security program downloaded an update which affected our 64 bit Windows 7 operating system. In short, it turned my "C" drive into a "D" drive; meaning my computer would not even turn on.

Before they figured that out, however, they brought in Tina's computer and our external hard drive to check for viruses. None were on the external, and a minor and inconsequential amount were found on Tina's. Which was good, but not as helpful for getting back into doing work on the computer as I'd hoped.

At least the personal data on the C drive was fully backed up. However, I requested that they try to save my favorites and Outlook emails rather than wipe the C drive and simply reinstall the OP. That complicated matters; that and requesting that they back-up the external on a second external as an additional back-up. You can never have enough redundancy. Unfortunately, that took a couple more weeks of time.

By then we were in Colorado Springs for a nice 8 day visit with the kids and grandkids. Needless to say nothing much got done computer-wise, except barely keep up with the emails. Which wasn't totally bad.

Once we got back there were more complications as my external had to be removed from its case and put in a new one. Then there was reloading the printers and other software in my software-reinstalled C drive. And time passed...and passed...and passed.

But the trip to Colorado was fun! Tiring, but fun. Evie really seems to enjoy her little brother a lot, as seen in the above photo with Tina. And that little girl is chattering up a storm! We played and watched movies and went to tea and watched the snow (ugh) and watched more movies. She is very energetic.

Christie and Mike were mostly fine, except for the bout of 24 (or so) hour flu that cycled throughout the family. I'm happy to say my round only lasted half a day and was more a feeling of nausea than real sickness. A good helping of lamb Vindaloo curry for dinner cured that felling; it burned those bugs right out!

Anyway, I'm back, and looking forward to sharing many more photos and thoughts in the coming days.