Monday, June 22, 2009
OK, OK, it's true: there are air shows in other places, too. But, for me, the occasion for this third "Only in America" post represents rather the opportunity to photograph something like this from up there. I mean, I was the ONLY photojournalist at the air field. Didn't have to fight with anyone else to get a spot to fly with the "Red Thunder" air show team. In short, ONLY IN AMERICA you can find air shows in a small town like Courtland, AL. In fact, so small that they don't even have a newspaper; so, when the newspaper photographer from the bigger town goes there, the organizers make it really easy for you.
Besides having a lot of fun (see last picture), I learned a couple of things from this experience:
- It's pretty difficult to photograph the other planes if yours has the wings on the belly, instead of on top. Your own wings get in the way most of the time.
- I asked my pilot to leave the canopy open on my side because I didn't want to shoot through glass. This is better for the pictures, but a) you get really cold (specially if you are wearing just a t-shirt) and b) the wind is so strong you can hardly hold the camera steady.
- With acrobatic, or rather "aerobatic", teams like this one you don't really need to carry a long lens with you unless you want to take a picture of the other planes' pilot's eyes. They fly so, so, so freaking close to each other (see 3rd. picture) that a 17-35 mm. lens will do. And anyway, there's no room in the cockpit for a second camera.