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Takeoff: The Alpha to Zulu of Aviation Photography

Book Description

Aviation photography is the perfect mix of sleek, beautiful machines, blended with nature’s beautiful skies and fields, along with a fascinating collection of fearless pilots and capable crew, all wrapped in a rich, significant, and crucial part of history. Few genres combine this many elements, and invoke this much passion from photographers. This one-of-a kind book from Moose Peterson, one of the world’s most recognized experts in aviation photography, not only teaches you exactly what you need to know to start making beautiful, intriguing photographs of aircraft, but inspires you and pushes you creatively and technically every step of the way.

Moose takes you through all the basics for camera gear and settings, showing you what he travels with and the settings he uses to get those tack sharp images. He covers one of the most important aspects of aviation photography–light! And, he gives you a number of examples of how to take the best advantage of that light any time of the day. He shares the critical techniques you’ll need to master to create the illusion of flight, speed, and romance in a still image, including which types of prop blur you’re aiming for (and which types you want to avoid).

You’ll learn how to make the most out of air shows and fly-ins–what to shoot while you’re there, and what you might want to skip or avoid altogether (and why). You’ll learn how to photograph aircraft on the ground, from ground-to-air, and ultimately air-to-air, and how to capture one of the most important elements in aviation photography today: the fascinating pilots and crew–the people!

Moose shares many wonderful stories and adventures along the way, which illustrate how, as photographers, we’re also storytellers, and the importance of bringing out those stories in our aviation photos. Plus, you’ll gain free access to his acclaimed KelbyOne film, Warbirds and the Men Who Flew Them.

With this book, your camera, and your passion, your success in aviation photography will quickly take flight!

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Dedication Page
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. Contents
  6. Introduction: The Skies Are Not the Limit
    1. What Draws Us to Aircraft?
    2. The Romance of Flight
    3. The Challenge of Bringing Movement to Stills
  7. Section 1: Before the Prop Turns
    1. It Started Out of the Blue for Me
    2. Where Do I Recommend You Start?!
    3. Terms of Engagement
    4. BODY BASICS: The Fun Comes with the Autofocus
    5. Then There Are Exposure Modes
    6. Then There Is Exposure Itself
    7. The Need for Speed
    8. Those Damn Dust Spots!
    9. Ah, the Glass
    10. My Aviation Gear List
    11. Some Specialized Gear for Your Consideration
    12. Is That All?
  8. Section 2: Creating Romance for a Steely Subject
    1. Like a Moth to a Flame
    2. Golden Rule as a Rule...?
    3. But Great Light Can Happen Anytime During the Day!
    4. What Changes This Formula?
    5. A Brief Thought on the Benefit of Contrast
    6. What’s the Best Light Then?
    7. Containing This Light
    8. Don’t Pigeonhole Anything!
    9. Romance in Aviation
  9. Section 3: Putting Movement in the Still
    1. The Camera Has to be a Rock!
    2. Keeping Up Rock Steady
    3. Prop Blur
    4. Creating the Illusion of Flight, Speed, and Romance
    5. Clouds, We Need Clouds!
    6. Your Challenge Is Putting It All Together
  10. Section 4: A Gathering of Planes
    1. Air Shows and Fly-Ins...Huh?
    2. Self-Preservation!
    3. Gear for the Air Show/Fly-In
    4. The Air Show’s Big Secret
    5. There’s More to an Air Show Than the Air Show
    6. Where to Stand?
    7. Do You Start with the Big Ones?
    8. Is There a Photographic Strategy?
    9. What About Them Fly-Ins?
    10. Riches at the Fly-In
  11. Section 5: The Need for Speed!
    1. What Is Ground-to-Air Photography?
    2. The Basics—Again!
    3. Focus Basics—Again!
    4. Let’s Break with the Norm
    5. Lighting Can Be a Real Pickle!
    6. Background—More Important Than Ever!
    7. Clouds and Smoke
    8. Illusion of Speed
    9. Takeoff and Landing
    10. Hollywood Effect—Long Lens Compression
    11. This Will Only Help You If...
  12. Section 6: Capturing the Human Element
    1. The 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion
    2. The Hardest One
    3. It All Started with Dudley!
    4. They Don’t Fly Themselves!
    5. Getting Right Down to It
    6. For Me, It’s Just Like Working with Biologists
    7. Something to Ponder
    8. It’s a Small World!
    9. The Easy Human Element: The Crowd
    10. Making the Folks Visibly Pop
    11. This Brings Us to Gear
    12. The Scariest Piece of Gear
    13. Light for the Portrait
    14. The Pilot Portrait Project
    15. The Rewards Are Priceless!
    16. That’s an Affirmative!
  13. Section 7: Up, Up, and Away!
    1. It Only Works This Way in Dreams
    2. Air-to-Air Is Not Cut-and-Dried
    3. It Comes with a Warning
    4. How I Got Hooked
    5. Where the Basics Count the Most!
    6. First Thoughts on Gear
    7. The Photo Platform
    8. Being a Pilot Doesn’t Automatically Make Them an Air-to-Air Pilot
    9. The Most Important Piece of Gear
    10. Not a Fashion Statement
    11. Communication Is Everything!
    12. Don’t Chance Anything to Memory!
    13. Shooting Open or No Canopy
    14. Shooting Through the Glass
    15. Don’t Forget the Memories!
    16. Time to Get in the Air!
    17. The Flight/Safety Brief
    18. Your Very First Shot—Period!
    19. A Must-Have Shot for the Shot List
    20. Do I Have a Typical Shot List?
    21. Again, Communication Is Everything!
    22. Shoot, Shoot, Shoot!
    23. The Horizon Line
    24. All Too Soon, Your Feet Are Back on the Ground
    25. Pilots Shouldn’t Be the Only Ones with Logs
    26. Share, Damn It!
    27. And the Next Flight?
  14. Index
  15. Want to Learn More?
  16. Continue Your Photography Training–Online