Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dart Two Dart

I've always liked the Convair F-106 Delta Dart. It is one of the sleekest, prettiest designs every made and a classic 1950s speed demon. While the single-seat interceptor is more angular and muscular, I must admit the two-seat trainer adds a pleasing curve to the Dart form.

I was happy to see the F-106B parked outside when we went to a model kit show this past January at the Yanks Air Museum at Chino Airport. Last year when we were there the Dart was crammed in amongst the other airplanes and a clean, overall shot was nigh-well impossible. While not the best angle, I was able to capture the whole bird on an overcast morning during our visit.

This particular aircraft was one of the Rockwell B-1 chase aircraft during the Lancer's flight test operations at Edwards AFB. It is definitely one very colorful marking for a very beautiful bird, and it was great fun to shoot it, even in marginal weather.

As I have mentioned before, the thing about "bad" weather is that you can still get some great images. Nature and landscape photographers know that well, but aviation shooters, especially the dedicated documentary slide traders, insist on sun-at-your-back, clear foreground and background, side-view or quarter-view, no mid-day or golden-hour images as capturing accurate colors and marking information is paramount.

But setting aside documentary parameters, great aircraft shooting can be had, particularly on tight images or unusual angles. I especially like the above shot with the light reflecting off the large canopy and fuselage. It's very dramatic and atmospheric. While it doesn't capture information, it does capture mood.

This last image is also one I really like. Since I knew we would be in the midst of a model show and sale, and since I didn't think anything would be outside, I left my tripod in the car. Fortunately the range on the Eos 40D allowed me to hand-hold all the shots that day with surprisingly good results. The head-on view was one of those happy moments. Again, poor on information, but a very dramatic and pleasing result. It was a very good day!