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When I decided in the late Autumn of 2011 to pursue a project of a story of a road tour of all the aviation museums in Oregon, I did a search of what those museums are. I then started visiting the museums, photographing their collections and interviewing staff members.

When I arrived at the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum, I was initially struck by the beauty of their location; as you turn into the museum parking lot, Mt. Hood stands proud over the museum’s main building. If you look behind you, Mt. Adams is in clear view. It got even better when I went inside, the staff and volunteers at WAAAM are exceedingly friendly and they have very fascinating displays. I was especially drawn to a video loop they had running on the first powder puff race. I was immediately enthralled with the stories of Louise Thaden and Pancho Barnes and have researched them a great deal since. I was particularly surprised to see the influence that Pancho Barnes had on the early career of George Hurrell, one of my favorite photographers.

Anyhow, the fact most essential to this blog entry is that I was very excited about attending WAAAM events through the summer of 2012. They have an event the second Saturday of every month with a large fly in held on the second Saturday of September. This was the event that I was most excited about.

We got there as early as we could. There is a charity breakfast before the event starts in earnest and we walked to the breakfast photographing planes along the way. Airplanes outdoors in the early morning light are a thing of beauty.

My two main goals for the fly in were to make photographs that show the planes along with the beautiful setting of WAAAM, and to meet and talk with pilots. I was able to meet both goals and the below photograph is one of my favorite in how it captures the feel of the Hood River Fly In, with lots of planes, tents, a pilot working on his plane, and a beautiful landscape shot of Mt. Hood. (By the way, if you think I missed cloning out a giant chunk of sensor dust almost in the middle of the shot, that’s actually a Piper Cub flying in to the festivities.)

The early morning scene at the Hood River Fly In at Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (Rick A. Brown)

If you forced me to come up with a complaint about the fly in, the only thing I could come up with is that it would’ve been nice if more of WAAAM’s own planes had been pushed outside. It would’ve been real sweet to have photographed one of their Wacos or their Jenny for example in the location where I photographed their J3P with Mt. Hood in the window between the trees.

Take a closer look at my images from the Hood River Fly-In, and make sure you go next year.