This example is not going to get me to the sun from Seattle. It will head to Europe before it starts transporting passengers. I saw it during test flying activities as it flew approaches to Paine Field. The sun was out but the skies were stormy so it made quite a dramatic sight as it bashed the pattern at Everett.
They even were kind enough to fly a missed approach the first time to get a different view of the jet. Then it was around the pattern and back in for a second approach, this time landing. The dark sky background was only in the direction of the approach so the roll out shots were far less dramatic.
My personal preference is to shoot planes tight. I like to see the detail up close and usually strive to get that in my shots. However, sometimes I remember that there is more to it than that and there is something interesting about the context of the shot. It doesn’t have to be a detailed shot of the plane. It can be a wider shot when no one is looking at the plane expecting to see the intricacies of its structure.
Having some nice clouds to play with is an important part of the story. Going wide when the sky is blue is not really going to add any drama. However, some nice puffy clouds will certainly be appreciated in this situation. In this case I was with some friends at O’Hare shortly after a storm had passed through. Things had cleared up nicely but there was still plenty of evidence in the air of what had been dumping water on us a short while before.
I doubt closer shots would have been much use anyway. With the amount of moisture in the air and the warmth that was quickly coming back now that the sun was out, heat haze would have destroyed an detail with a longer lens. Going wider was probably the only option. It was certainly worth it though. The texture of the clouds after the storm was there to see and to be emphasized in the shots. The plane provides a focal point to explore the image from but is not too important itself. You can’t just do this but, from time to time, it is good to fight your normal style.
The forecast the other morning was for some big storms. I decided that this would be a good time to head down to the lakefront. When a storm hits us, I see a lot of lightning around us but there is little that I can do to get a good shot since the buildings are too close to get any perspective. Before Trump was built, there was a lot more to see but that is no longer the case.
Instead, i thought the Adler planetarium would provide a good view of the city as the storm rolled in so I hopped in the car and headed over there. There was a local TV crew setting up when I got there so I thought they must agree with my planning. The sky was certainly looking darker.
As it turned out, we were both wrong. The sky got very moody and some crazy looking clouds bubbled across but no storm showed up. Instead, it just started raining and my enthusiasm reduced significantly! Eventually I headed home and the storm ended up skirting south of us. Oh well.