There are some shots that it is just hard to get. They are possible but it depends on what you have available. One idea that I have been trying to come up with a solution for is getting good shots of airliners as they lower their gear. The sequence for lowering the gear is pretty cool and the outline of the plane when it has flaps deployed but no gear is of interest to me too. However, to get a shot like that, you need to be high up further out on the approach. Unless you are in another aircraft, that is tricky to do.
From the normal locations on the ground, the aircraft is just too far away to get a decent shot. Not only is it in the distance and, therefore, small but you also have to cope with atmospheric disturbances like heat haze and dust in the air. It doesn’t make for a compelling shot! Instead, I decided to try something different. I would shoot the sequence of shots of the approach and then animate them. This would mean that the reduced quality of an individual shot would be lost as the sequence would require a certain amount of motion blur anyway.
What I didn’t realize until I tried this on an A380 was that this jet has an unusual gear sequence. I was looking at trying a 747 or an A380 since they are large and have interesting wing configurations when approaching to land. As it turns out, the A380 lowers the outer two gear legs first before the two center body legs come down. I had not appreciated this before trying this shot. Animating the sequence really put the computer under some pressure. Creating a file with over 100 layers and then adjusting each layer to align properly took some time and really made the machine work hard. Ultimately, I got the sequence you can see above.
One of the parts of the city that most tourists never get to see is Lower Wacker Drive. Wacker Drive is the road that runs around the Loop along the line of the river. It is on two levels with Upper Wacker being normal street level and Lower Wacker sits directly beneath it. Half of Lower Wacker was rebuilt before we moved to the city but the other half was in an unrestored state for many years. If you watched the first of the Christian Bale Batman movies, you will have seen Lower Wacker in all of its darkness. (Go further back and the Blues Brothers movie also provided a tour of this area in the final car chase.)
I like Lower Wacker as it provides a bypass to get to the Eisenhower Expressway while avoiding the worst of the traffic – at least it did. Then they closed it for a progressive rebuilding program. This has been going on for a couple of years and is now about to be concluded. I have not been paying a lot of attention to the rebuild but I have taken a look whenever I have been passing by. The work has been a rolling program gradually moving down the length of the road. A section has been closed off while everything was diverted around it. Then the whole process would shift a few blocks further south. When I was up on the top of the Sears, I had a great view of the bottom of the drive from above. It was clear that everything was nearly done. Now I get to wait until I first can drive the new road. I have heard they have calmed the traffic flow down there which is probably a good idea but a little disappointing!