This one is something that I can attribute to the Kelby media juggernaut. I did not discover this myself but, if you are a user of Lightroom CC and use either the HDR or the panorama functions, this could be of interest. One of my issues with them was that they took a while to bring up a preview. Once you had got this, the processing would work in the background.
It turns out, if you don’t need to tweak the settings and are happy with what you used previously, you can hold Shift and Ctrl and press either M for panorama or H for HDR and it will launch right into processing the whole thing in the background. You can set multiple versions off if you wish and they will all get to work out of sight while you do something else. While my feelings on the outcome of the processing are not universally great and I covered this in some previous posts, it does a reasonable job most of the time and this is an even better feature that is well concealed!
The piece focuses more on the aviation side of things than the cars since it is an aviation site. However, the cars were really cool. Here are a couple of cars along with a plane to give you a hint. I might add some more at a later stage!
One great advantage of social media is that you find out about something before it happens rather than after – well, at least some of the time. I saw a Facebook post about a talk being given by Brian Shul at the Hiller Aviation Museum. Brian is a retired Air Force pilot who flew a variety of aircraft types culminating in the SR-71 Blackbird. He has published a number of books and talks to various groups about aspects of his life and career.
After Brian had finished his talk, I managed to grab some time with him to conduct an interview. The piece that resulted is now live on the Global Aviation Resource website at the following link. http://www.globalaviationresource.com/v2/2015/01/23/aviation-profile-brian-shul-sr-71-blackbird-pilot/
Brian’s life has had many interesting turns. I will leave the story to the feature and you can always buy his books if you have saved some pennies. I do want to point out that Brian is a very engaging person. I sat with him for a long time while he dealt with so many people that wanted to talk to him that day and he never once shied away from taking as much time as any of them wanted, young or old. He was even given directions to visitors looking for the museum’s restrooms without batting an eye. When we managed to get some time to talk, he freely and frankly talked about anything I asked and provided plenty of material for the article. Meeting interesting people is a great part of writing for GAR.
Every other year, the A-10 community in the US Air Force holds a competition called Hawgsmoke. This year it was being held in Arizona. The aircraft were based at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson and the Goldwater range complex was where most of the exercise was taking place. With the possibility that the A-10 might be taken out of service hanging over things, I was keen to get down there in case this was the last time the event would take place.
I covered the event for Global Aviation Resource so you can see the article I produced here. Rather than repeat that, I shall provide a little of the back-story. Arizona in July is not the coolest place in the world. Head out into the desert and it is even warmer. Get taken there in an Air Force bus which has air conditioning that doesn’t work properly and you will be pretty toasty. If the young guy driving the bus appears to be falling asleep all of the time, you are feeling a bit more alert than might otherwise be the case in that heat.
Our time on the range was a bit short. One of the TV crews from a local station obviously decided he had seen enough and told the organizers that he would miss his deadline if we didn’t leave. He had been given the same schedule as the rest of us so I suspect he was talking crap. However, while we were on the range for less time than expected, we still got a great experience of the A-10s running in to shoot the targets. The close proximity as they fired was something else as was their break over the top of us after each pass.
It was a good bunch of guys on the trip and we all headed out to shoot around Davis Monthan when we got back. This gave me a chance to get some more shots of the A-10s that would fill out the article a little. By the end of the day, I was shattered. I had been drinking liquid all day but I think I was just keeping out of trouble rather than being properly hydrated. Still, it was really worth it. A little longer and the benefit of the sun coming around would have been nice but it was still cool (but hot!). Below is some video that I shot for GAR while I was there too.
When things go according to plan, the USAF holds their Red Flag exercise three times a year at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas NV. Global Aviation Resource like to provide some coverage so, with the second event of the 2014 program taking place in march, I headed down to cover the event. I spent a couple of days down there. One day was on base as guests of the public affairs people at Nellis. They started out the day with an interview panel with a number of officers from different units and air forces. They were a good bunch and willing to answer our questions – well, most of them since they wisely avoided answering some questions that should never have been asked of them.
With the interviews over, we headed out to the runways. There are two runways at Nellis that are used together. We were able to stand between them and given relatively free range as to how far up and down we wanted to go. There are clear preferences as to which runway you want them to use based on the light. The launch took place around the middle of the day and they launched off to the northeast. In this case he light was best on the aircraft on the left runway. However, you have to do what you can for those on the right as well – often the aircraft you want to focus on. (There is a bunch of aircraft that you are told not to photograph. Often it takes a while to realize that what is coming is something you can’t shoot but most people seemed to play by the rules.)
When the recovery starts, they tend to use the opposite runways. By now the light has come around so you really want them to come in on the left. Sadly, a lot of traffic went to the right. If you had been outside, you would have got a good amount of traffic to shoot. When recoveries had wrapped up, we all got back on the buses and headed out. The second day I spent outside the base. This provides an opportunity to get a different selection of shots for the article. It also is unrestricted in what you can shoot so some of the stuff that was restricted while on base can now be shot for the coverage. Sadly, various things resulted in a lot of the recovering traffic going to the left. This would have been great if I was on base but sadly it meant a lot of interesting stuff was a long way off. Still, plenty of stuff came our way. With the Speedway building up to a NASCAR racing weekend, the crews had been told to keep it tight. Some certainly did that and came a lot closer to us than expected or even turned within us. It made for some interesting angles to shoot.
The finished article is available through the magazine we publish. You can find it here. Please go and download a copy if you haven’t already seen it. Aside from my work, there is a bunch of great stuff to take a look at.