Somebody’s Angel

Angels come in all shapes and sizes.

Angels come in all shapes and sizes. They can often appear in your darkest hours when hope feels like a meaningless word. Keeping faith in all things you do, stay strong and lead others. Faith in your god, your country and most of all yourself is what strong people are made of. You too could be an angel someone and never know it.

Wreckage (The plane is not forgotten and it is anything but untouched.)

Wreckage on a distant shore.

Wreckage on a distant shore.

The images of this iconic fuselage that sits on one of Iceland’s black sand beaches has haunted me for years. I first seen this photo of this wreckage years ago and In doing recent research for exotic photography locations, I keep seeing it pop up in my searches.

Although it is called by many names and it really seems to have no official name the wreckage of a (and I quote) “Douglas Super DC-3 airplane lies hollow and forgotten on a deserted black beach in Iceland – untouched since it crashed more than four decades ago.” Actually that statement is far from true. The plane is not forgotten and it is anything but untouched. It has been the focus of several fashion shoots and of recent it is one of the top exotic wedding photography locations in the world. I was recently reading an article about these exotic locations and again I seen this wreckage and that gave me the idea to acquire a high-resolution copy of the wreckage and give it a work up in Photoshop. I made it a little weekend project and I actually worked on some Photoshop techniques that I hadn’t used in a while. Photoshop for me is a lot like playing an instrument; If you do not keep at it you will soon forget what you have learned.

This image will be put to large-scale print for future sale as I do from time to time. This would certainly make a nice 16 x 24 inch print or larger. But I still have to fine tune it.

So for those who are wondering this is a United States Navy Douglas Super DC-3 that crash landed on or about November 23, 1973. I say “on or about” because there are some discrepancies in the details around the reason and the date. Some articles say it was put down due to “icing” and that the pilot chose the openness of the black sand beach, while other articles mention fuel calculation errors. Being a military plane I would like to believe the first story of “too much ice.” Either way all crew members survived and the Navy chose not to recover the plane. It seems that everybody who writes about the plane tells a tale of how hard the wreckage location is to find. And I find this very hard to believe, with tools like Google Earth and a good GPS unit you can drive right to it. The actual location is 63.459523,-19.364618.

Thanks so much for reading.

Great Air Show (but now I would like to go home) Oh… you know how to park cars, but not unpark.

A wonderful piece of WWII history.

A wonderful piece of WWII history.

Air Show Photo Gallery

Ok so I have to be honest I have never before covered an air show in a photographic way. It came up quick, a friend had mentioned the air show so I went online Googled it and read through the site real quick to get the lowdown. As I was running through the site I seen an application for press credentials and filled it out. A few days later and about two days before the show I received my approval email and instructions. Awesome! I could always go to any event as a spectator but media passes are so much better for sure.

So before I received the media passes I knew I was going and had to lay out a plan of what I wanted to achieve at this event. Do I want to do a photojournalistic type shoot or do I just go and shoot. Ah hell I’m not getting paid to cover the event so I’ll just make it fun and go and shoot. But what gear should I use?

So after contemplating for a while I decided I would us a Sigma 50-500mm 4.5-6.1 lens as well as my trusty 70-200mm 2.8L. Also the website says “No Backpacks” so I’ll use my Lowepro belt and shoulder straps. Tripod isn’t going to do too much good so I’ll just take the monopod. Two 32 gig & Two 16 gig cards should be more than enough for digital film. So now all I need is good weather.

And the gods were more than generous with the “good weather” thing. Blue sky, low 80’s and a slight breeze. So I arrived at the show a half hour after the gates opened. Got in, got in and received my passes. I walked around a bit and then I started to make my way to the “media” tent. Only to find out that there was no such animal, although the press instructions clearly stated there was a media tent. As the morning progressed I realized there were many things about the air show that had not been fully thought out. The biggest surprise came at the end of the day when it was time to leave and you couldn’t. Over one hour to move a mere 100 yards from my parking space to the gate. The infamous words “you can checkout, but you can never leave” came to mind from Hotel California. So in retrospect and from previous experiences I start to wonder how does one plan an event that will house 300 thousand people over the course of a weekend and leave out such details as traffic control. It is either stupidity or greed. Maybe both. Was there any type of evacuation plan in the event of a disaster, more than likely “no.” So as a pilot would say “your flying by the seat of your pants.”

Ok so back to the photography. I soon learned the 50-500mm was a little tricky doing straight overhead shots. It is a “slider” lens in which you can just pull on the lens to zoom in and push it back to zoom out. So when I would look straight up the lens wanted to slide back and zoom out. Not too much of a problem but something I had to deal with all day. Of course zooming out on the Sigma meant going to f/6.1 and that forced me to the range of ISO 200-250 and away from ISO 100. I wanted ISO 100 for super clean (no noise) shots because I knew I would be doing a lot of cropping in post. But hey… ISO 200 is better than ISO 400. So at ISO 200 the sensor was a little more sensitive to the light which let me go to 1/1000-1/4000 second on the shutter for high speed capture. So high speed in fact that it stopped the props on the planes but I was ok with that. Also keep in mind I wear eyeglasses that tint, so when I am shooting outside in bright sunlight I can barely see the camera display at all. So have to really rely on good shooting skills and hope for the best. I stayed in Av Aperture Priority most of the day although I did go to Manual mode for some static shots. I picked a good vantage point along a fence that had a strong steel post. I used that post to lean against as I was looking up and moving side to side. By pressing my body against the post I could get steady upper body movement and not get dizzy or disoriented and fall while looking through the view finder.

Canon 70-200mm vs Sigma 50-500mm: Let me just say that next time I will use the 70-200mm with a 1.4 extender. Although the 50-500mm got nice shots all day, they were just that “nice” shots and not “great” shots. However the 70-200mm always gets great shots. It doesn’t have the zoom that the Sigma had, but what good is a zoom if you can not get a great shot. Also in tripod tests I did a few days before the air show I noticed that I was getting the bluish-purple cast that tends to halo objects when shooting on a cheaper lens. I used to get the same halos with my Tamaron 70-300mm. The bluish halos are nonexistent with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II. Now with all that said I still had loads of fun capturing the images of the day. I had fun spending the day in the Sands Casino VIP tent, that is where I was sent after the officials realized they had no “media” tent. So Thank you Sands your food was great and I did tip the bartender for every soda I drank.

Back home in post editing I had 2300+ images, of those about 100 unusable, either blurry or photos of my feet. I quickly culled through to narrow it down to 300 of the best and 150 images to go into a slideshow.