Aviation

The Shrike Takes To The Sky!

After Saturday afternoons shoot with the B17 and P51’s, we were all looking forward to whatever surprises might be in stock Sunday morning. Sunday is always a bit of a mystery because we never are quite sure who would be flying that morning. It’s better to have new planes but the ones we had last November, the Bobat, Stinson, Steerman, RV-8, and Bonanza, were all great to work with, so it would not have been an issue to photograph any of them again. As fate had it we had two new planes and the Steerman, Red Baron, to work with that morning. The first one up was Bob’s Commander Shrike.

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The Commander series began in 1967 and has been carried on since then. After 1970 the Commanders became known as the Shrike Commanders. Great plane, flying with it was even better than the static shots we did earlier that morning. We started off this time by dragging it along the runway and almost immediately after we were up together the Shrike went screaming below us and all we saw was its tail for a moment. Casey had to quickly reduce power to keep with us at a safe distance.

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At first we weren’t sure if the Sunday morning flight was going to happen because the weather had closed in and it was raining. Thankfully after about 45mins of waiting that morning the clouds broke and the rain stopped where we were going to fly. It turned out to be one of those spectacular shoots because we were able to fly in the clouds which rarely happens. It was just amazing! The clouds provided a whole new background and lighting situation for us to work with. With the clouds any buildings, roads, or power lines disappeared, which is always good. The light became just pockets sometimes it was bright sometimes it was dark, it didn’t matter either way it was all good!

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The nice thing about shooting against clouds is that it’s easy to remove the skyvan sides. Being in the back of the skyvan there are occasions when the image is great but the corners of the skyvan get in the way. The skyvan does have a narrow field of vision when it comes to being close to the cockpit. With CS5 it’s real easy to remove those corners in the situations. It’s never fun to miss those shots and since it’s not a critter in my mind it’s alright to do such work on an image because it’s not a natural element in its natural habitat. It’s less documentation more emotional response much like a landscape. Of course it’s funny to say that knowing that planes don’t last forever, air frames decay, engines break down, eventually sadly they die. In a way this is documenting their life spans.

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The 30mins we had with the Shrike went by to fast, as did the weather. It’s safe to say that none of us wanted that pane to land after such an amazing shoot. The next planes up that we photographed didn’t suck by any means but the weather as it normally does, changed.

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Images captured with Nikon D3, 70-300 Vr, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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