Snow and aircraft photography

Bombardier CRJ200 (N248PS, c/n 7925) of American Airlines, operated by PSA Airlines, lands at KMHT on 2017-12-11.

Now that we (finally) have some snow in New England I thought I’d share some of my personal views and observations about the opportunities and challenges that snow presents to the aircraft photographer. Generally speaking, snow on the ground changes the lighting conditions as it reflects sunlight and often creates a wonderful environment of all-around diffuse light. Not only do we avoid sharp shadows (like on overcast days), but also the undersides of aircraft easily receive more light.

Southwest’s Boeing 737-7H4 (N205WN, c/n 34010) at KMHT on 2017-12-11.
Southwest’s Boeing 737-76N (N7846A, c/n 35218) at KMHT on 2017-05-12.

The picture of PSA’s CRJ200, above, is a good example of how the reflected light illuminates the undersides of a landing aircraft. Similarly, the landing Southwest 737s look quite different from one another: One was shot on an overcast spring day (with no snow), the other in bright sunlight but with snow underneath (note the reflection of the aircraft’s shadow in the snow, visible on the fuselage). On a snowy day, even when you have direct sunlight, you can often avoid sharp shadows that otherwise make photography in direct sunlight a challenge. Without snow, the diffuse lighting of the overcast day helps, but even with modest editing there is not as much light to illuminate the underside of the aircraft.

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The KMHT book is done!

book coverAs I recently reported, UI have been working on a book titled “Aircraft at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport”. Now I am happy to report that the book is done and available to purchase! More information about the book is available here.

The 150-page book features almost 300 large color photographs (selected from about 7,000) depicting aircraft operating at, or visiting, the KMHT airport.

Progress with my book project

I have been working on a photo book about the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. No, let me rephrase that, it is a book about the aircraft operating at this airport, whether those are planes based there, just visiting, regular airline flights, etc. I have just ordered a “proof copy”, the first physical copy of the book, so things are definitely getting very real now. The final book has 150 pages and about 300 large color photographs.

Cover and sample pages

Interesting about this project has been figuring out how to actually produce what we used to call the “camera-ready” version of the book; in practice, this is a PDF file from which the physical book is printed. 150 pages with 300 or so photographs is not exactly easy to put together. At first, my thought was to use Adobe InDesign page layout software, but this would have meant a lot of manual labor, making sure all the pages have a uniform look, all pictures placed correctly, etc. And what would I have to do if I in the middle of this process decided that I didn’t like the chosen “look and feel” and wanted to make changes across all the pages? Very quickly I ditched the idea of using InDesign and started looking for more “automated” solutions. As a software engineer, this is in my nature, I suppose…

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Collings Aircraft Visit New England

"Witchcraft" fly-by at KMHT on 2016-09-20
“Witchcraft” fly-by at KMHT on 2016-09-20

Collings Foundation‘s “Wings of Freedom Tour” recently passed through a number of New England airports. The aircraft (B-17, B-24, B-25 and P-51) are always worth seeing. This time, their TP-51C “Betty Jane” had been replaced by the recently restored TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts”.

I saw the aircraft several times, at Beverly, MA (KBVY) on 2016-09-18, at Manchester, NH (KMHT) on 2016-09-20 and -21, and at Worcester, MA (KORH) on 2016-09-24. The Worcester stop featured additional aircraft; I was able to photograph their Corsair and Skyraider.

I also received the honor of being the Collings Foundation’s first “fan photographer of the week”. There will be a separate blog post about this.

TF-51D Mustang "Toulouse Nuts" being parked at KMHT on 2016-09-21
TF-51D Mustang “Toulouse Nuts” being parked at KMHT on 2016-09-21

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Bowman Field Fly-in

Resplendent Curtiss-Wright Travel Air 4000 (NC6005, c/n 534) from 1928.
Resplendent Curtiss-Wright Travel Air 4000 (NC6005, c/n 534) from 1928.

The 30th annual Bowman Field Fly-in was held on August 27th and 28th. I visited the event on the first day. Bowman Field (B10) is a small grass strip in Central Maine in the town of Livermore Falls.

There were dozens of interesting aircraft visiting, from a 1928 Travel Air (see photo) through 1940s Aeroncas and Cubs to more modern variety. I am definitely visiting this event again next year.

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Wiscasset Fly-in

CAF's P-51D Mustang (NL10601, 44-73843)
CAF’s P-51D Mustang (NL10601, 44-73843)

Yesterday I visited Wiscasset Municipal Airport (KIWI, in Wiscasset, ME) where the Maine Aeronautics Association had organized a fly-in. The “star” of the event was Commemorative Air Force’s “Red Tail” squadron‘s touring exhibit “Rise Above” (about the Tuskegee airmen), complete with their P-51D Mustang. However, there were a number of interesting aircraft on display. The entire event had a pleasant, laid-back feeling that I felt was appropriate for summertime Maine. Continue reading

Book topics? I am thinking of classic aircraft…

Finnish DC-Association's Douglas C-53C-DO (OH-LCH, c/n 6346) at the Helsinki-Malmi Airport on 2016-07-11.
Finnish DC-Association’s Douglas C-53C-DO (OH-LCH, c/n 6346) at the Helsinki-Malmi Airport on 2016-07-11.

Over the years I have taken a lot of aircraft photographs. It really started as means to get accurate information for scale model projects, and I still take “detail pictures” whenever I have the opportunity. But I also take pictures that (I would like to think) are simply attractive to look at, if not for everybody then at least for those who like airplanes. Lately, I have been thinking about turning some of those pictures into books.

The question is, what would be good topics for airplane books mainly consisting of photographs. I am thinking “classic aircraft”… but what does that mean? Some of you are now thinking of P-51 Mustang, B-17 Fortress, etc., and sure, those are “classic”, no doubt. And while I have plenty of pictures of Mustangs and Fortresses, those topics are already covered quite well, just go to your local bookstore. Continue reading

World War II Weekend

On Friday I was able to stop at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum‘s “World War II Weekend” event at the Reading Regional Airport in Pennsylvania. This is a huge 3-day event that comprises of an airshow, re-enactments, talks by visiting veterans and other experts, etc. For the past several years I have had conflicting engagements that have prevented me from going to this event, and I had one this time too, but at least I was able to stop in Reading for a couple of hours when “passing through”.

Curtiss C-46F-1-CU Commando (N78774, c/n 22597, 44-78774, "The Tinker Belle") arriving
Curtiss C-46F-1-CU Commando (N78774, c/n 22597, 44-78774, “The Tinker Belle”) arriving

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