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Flyins can be great photographic opportunities but there are some challenges to overcome. Recently, I went to the Northwest Classics show at Tillamook Air Museum. This show is a combination flyin/cruise-in.

The show opened at 7:00 am with a charity breakfast. I drove to the museum and arrived a bit early, we hung out at the fence at the tarmac for a bit, photographing some of the planes. Then at around 7:00 we went in for breakfast. After breakfast, we paid our entry fee and entered the museum.

This is where the fun began. Many planes were pushed out on to the tarmac and for the show we were allowed to wonder around the tarmac. Usually, the tarmac is roped off with a sign saying that only those taking the Guppy tour are allowed beyond. Photographing planes is almost always better outside.

The time on the tarmac brought another new experience for me that I feel is important that all photographers handle well. I was there to photograph the aircraft for the purposes of building portfolio materials for trying to get assignments and for personal use. I am eventually going to redecorate my office and I’m pretty sure I’m going to use one of those Jug photos on the wall. Anyhow, there was a team of photographers from Aerocapture Images working an assignment at the same time. In my estimation, it is a very important point of photographers’ etiquette to not interfere with other photographers when they are working an assignment. Thus, I made sure that I worked other aircraft on the tarmac at a distance from where they were working. Of course, I also didn’t want to pass up the chance to photograph the P47 in morning light, so as soon as they finished for the morning and started cleaning-up, I raced over to the P47. The best photo I made of the P47, some of their flash cables were still there, but with content-aware-fill that was a super easy clone job. I also wanted to meet these guys; I had become aware of their reputation through many sources, and we had already been Facebook friends for a while. The gang stopped by where I was shooting on their way to breakfast and we had introductions and a little small talk, nice guys. (You should check them out, at Aerocapture.com.)

One thing that was a bit odd that day and a little unfortunate is the light seemed a bit harsh for the time of morning it was. I don’t know what was the cause of that, but for less than two hours after sunrise the light certainly seemed a bit harsh while I was photographing the P47. This is often one of the challenges that can come from flyin/airshow photography. The shows usually occur fairly close to noon, unfortunate for photography. The other problem with airshow photography is there are often distracting elements that are hard to eliminate from the photograph, sometimes they are downright ugly elements. The usual way to deal with this is to close in for detail photos. This wasn’t too much of a problem at this show. Often this can be a way to tell when a photographer was working with the aircraft owners on assignment vs a grab shot at an airshow. If the image is a whole aircraft image with a complimentary instead of distracting background, there is a good chance the photographer had the full cooperation of the aircraft owner (obviously, this isn’t 100%.)

One of the coolest things about access to the tarmac was that if you planned for it you could photograph taxiing aircraft from very close. A very new experience for me that was very enjoyable. In the end, I liked the images this produced, but not quite as much as I thought I might.

In conclusion, it was a very fun day. The biggest problem was that from my warm-blooded perspective, it was very hot that day. To escape the heat, my father who usually serves as my assistant was camping out under the P47’s wing for shade.

 (Rick A. Brown)

On a day like this, his usual assignment is to take production shots for me to share on social media platforms. On this particular event though, he made an aviation image that I love so much I am showing it off to everyone along with my own photos.

Pilot refueling PT17 Stearman at Tillamook Air Museum (Rick A. Brown)

Take a closer look at my Tillamook Air Museum images from the day, or my Aviation Portfolio.