This year I made my first trip to the Reno Air Races. I have no clear explanation why I haven’t been before. It has been in my calendar for many years but other things always seemed to conspire to stop me from making the trip. This year, I finally made it. I could almost have never made it. With the accident at last year’s races that killed a number of spectators, there were plenty of questions about whether the event would go ahead. Fortunately it did.
I was covering it for Global Aviation Resource. My article will shortly be published in their monthly digital magazine so, if you want to get the full story (and the better pictures) pop along to www.globalaviationresource.com to buy the magazine. I will not reprint anything here that is in the piece for obvious reasons. However, to tempt you a little, here are some other shots from the event that will hopefully give you a feel for what went on.
It was quite a learning experience for me. Fortunately, I had a number of friends their to give me guidance on what to do, where to go and what to look out for. The bus trips to the pylons were a great experience (if a little odd sometimes when we were shuttled about between heats) but getting so close to the aircraft as they turn was something special.
Planning became a real priority. Each race is relatively short with most being six laps. In that time you have to get all of the shots you want. Tight crops, loose views, pylon in the shot, video, slow shutter speeds and there you have used up your race! Getting into my stride took a little time but I soon got a feel for what I wanted. This does mean there aren’t many opportunities for a second chance so you have to shoot a lot quickly to make sure you get enough to work with.
This does result in shooting a lot of images over the time there. All of these have to be downloaded and checked. I won’t say exactly how many I shot but it was a very large number and culling the crap out was a time consuming business. I am still weeding out some now!
The media relations team at RARA are unbelievably helpful. They have a lot of people covering the event yet handle it all with a friendly approach and they really do make your life genuinely easier – not always the case! I planned out my time at the event to get me to the pylons at some points, in the pits and the flightline at others and the final day was mainly spent in the stands. My friend Paul had traveled up for that day so it was nice to have someone to chat with while watching the racing from the spectators’ viewpoint – even if I did have to leave that for a while to cover part of the ceremonies.