Lightroom has three methods for stitching the panoramas together. I tend to use one but for some shots, a different style is beneficial. I was flipping through some shots of an HH-101 Caesar helicopter that I took at RIAT in 2019. I also had a Danish AW101 that I had shot in pano format. The Danish airframe had not been shot as well as it could have been and I did not have sufficient coverage. I decided to try different versions of the stitching to see which one gave the best result. Some result in a more natural look while others look more fish eyed. I can also stitch in Photoshop which gives me more capability for filling in gaps but, with the tricky areas being the rotors, that wasn’t going to work well since the AI is not going to work that out. Stitching also allows some warping to fill edge gaps but this can mess with the alignment of the main part of the image. I tried a couple of versions and they are compared here.
After my afternoon out up in Skagit for the fly day there, I migrated with the guys down to Arlington. They were having an evening flying display that would include the Ryan I previously posted about. An overcast evening did not make for great light for photographing the aircraft. There were only a few displays to see so it wasn’t too much of an event but it was still nice to be out shooting planes again. Rene Price put on a good display in his Sukhoi and the Yak-18 display was a great example of what the plane can do. Interestingly, there was the occasional hint of sunlight from the horizon while it flew which would glint off the white airframe since it was high enough to see the light we weren’t getting.
Grumpy, the B-25, flew a bunch of passes having come across from Skagit. I guess with not much else flying, they were allowed to fly as many passes as they wanted. Other than that, it was a pretty low key affair.
Arlington’s air show included a brief performance by the replica of the Spirit of St Louis. I have only shot the plane once before and understand it is up for sale so it might not be around for much longer. A chance to get it again was welcome and, since it was an evening air show, maybe some good light would be on the cards. Sadly, it was pretty late by the time they got ready to go and the evening was overcast anyway. Instead of good light, it was barely any light.
Even so, you go with what you have. They taxi out passed our location which is nice to have. Takeoff was away from us so they were a bit distant by the time they were airborne but still not too bad. Some passes over the field and then a landing form the other direction and that was it. They did taxi back in our direction of course. Nice to see it again but, oh to get it in nice light.
Scanning old photos has mainly focused on my folders of negatives. Unlike serious photographers, I almost always shot negatives. However, I knew that slides were supposed to be the way to go and decided to experiment with them a few times. One of those times was a show at North Weald during my college days. I did not know a lot about what I was doing then and that is even more the case when considering the use of slide film. However, some of the shots are okay.
What is more fun is seeing the sort of planes that showed up at a show in the late 80s. Some of them are familiar today while others are long gone. A Norwegian A-26 was there which is coincidental given I have recently shot a Norwegian P-8 and a private A-26. A Jaguar displayed from the RAF as did Tornados. Sally B was busy then as she is now. Some things change and others don’t. Here is a selection of the least crappy shots from that event.
There was an airshow in the Midwest that everyone used to say was a great event. It was held at Janesville and I finally got around to going to it shortly before it ceased to be. I promise it wasn’t my fault that it ended. I was there for the arrivals as well as the show and a pair of Hornets came in from Canada. The nice thing about this arrival was that they seemed to have a little extra fuel. Consequently, there was time for a few approaches and overshoots.
The light was a bit subdued that evening but it still had a slightly warm feel to it. Besides, pick your white balance and you can adjust just how warm things actually looked! I was shooting with the long lens from my location when they arrived so everything was taken at 500mm. Sometimes that was way too much lens for the distance between us but it was just an opportunity for a tight crop – let’s say that was an artistic decision!
The Hornet gear tucks up in a complex way and I got a few shots of them cleaning up as they powered away in to the pattern. A few times they pulled downwind pretty quickly and it felt like you were looking over their shoulder into the cockpit. I can even crop in and see the displays on the panel (later in the day means the ambient light isn’t too much making the cockpit a deep shadow. This was one of the high points of the evening. Shame I never got to see other shows at this venue.
I put together a selection of shots from the RIAT show of 2006 in this post. It was another four years before I was back for my next visit. This time I made a visit to the Park and View East rather than the west. This was the end at which everything was landing, and it also provided a good view of some of the arrivals as they taxied to the ramp.
The weather started out okay, but it got steadily worse resulting ion a torrential downpour. Some movements were in such low light that it was almost like shooting at night. The stormy weather passed and then the flying could resume. Given the variety of things that were showing up, I will focus this post on the arrival traffic, and we can add some of the displays in a different post.
Plenty of helicopters as well as the fast jets. I had not shot at this location before and I was not prepared for how crowded it could be and the way you needed to be at the front. That limited some of my shots unfortunately. Also, there was a lot of heat haze in the air so some of the nicer angles on the approach produced shots that are not sharp enough. Still, a fun day out. Drying out took a while that night though!
I was thinking back to previous RIAT shows when I was putting together the 2006 post here. RIAT was my first encounter with the B-2. I recall it showing up to a show one year for a flyby without landing. It flew through accompanied by a pair of F-15Cs, one on each wing. Then, another year – maybe the next but I don’t recall for sure – one was actually deployed to the show. It was parked up so close to everyone on the flight line. I took quite a few pictures of it because it was so new and interesting. (A few pictures in the film days was a let less than it became in the digital days!) Even now, I think a show would consider it quite a coup to have a B-2 on the ground.
When I lived in the UK, a trip to RIAT was a regular thing for me. After I started shooting digital, I was living in the US so RIAT was more than just a day trip. My first visit with the digital camera was in 2006. I had to be in the UK for work so I timed it to coincide with RIAT because, you know, it would have been rude not to. With RIAT canceled this year due to the ongoing virus issues, I figured I would jump back to this show to provide some highlights.
I spent two days there. I made my first arrivals day visit and spent the day at the west end which was really nice. Planes were arriving from that direction anyway so it worked out well. The conditions were really nice on both days too so it was a fun and successful shoot. Mikoyan-Gurevich brought there MiG-29OVT demonstrator with thrust vectoring and it flipped its way around the sky with abandon. There was the usual selection of types from around the world which makes RIAT so fun. There were also some older UK types making an appearance like the Canberra demonstration – the last RAF Canberra flights I saw – and the old Twin Pioneer.
Hopefully there is something in this selection that will be of interest from a great show. There have been more RIAT visits since so maybe I shall dig out some stuff from those years if I continue to struggle for material for future posts!
Sad news in the air show scene for the US is the announcement that Art Nalls has put his Harriers up for sale. Art did an amazing thing by buying a retired Royal Navy Sea Harrier and getting it airworthy and then displayed on the air show circuit for a number of years. He also bought a two seater which is apparently close to being flight ready. I was lucky to spend a lot of time with Art and the team both at shows and also visiting them in Maryland.
His hangar there also includes an ex-RAF Harrier GR3 which has a lot of common parts with the SHAR so could be used for bits he needed from time to time. The support team had a bunch of Harrier experience from the Marine Corps and various ex-RN individuals also got involved over time – not harmed by many people deployed to Pax River on the F-35B program coming from a SHAR background. Maybe someone will pick the jets up and take them forward but Art has other things to work on now and they are not part of the future for him. Here is a selection of shots I have got over the years of the team at work and the jet displaying.
I read that Cranfield is getting a new SAAB 340 to be used as a flying testbed. It is replacing the current Jetstream 31. The plane is used for test work but it is also used as a flying classroom for aeronautical engineering students. The Jetstream 31 was an old BAE Systems airframe (one I was involved with in my days at Warton) and it replaced a Jetstream 200. That old Astazou powered airframe was in use in the late 80s when I went through the course. Here are shots of that old plane when we were using it as well as the current one when it showed up at RIAT.