Evolution of a Static
Anyone who has ever attended and airshow can tell you, they are busy. People, tents, food kiosks, buildings, and more are all around as part of the show. This makes for a challenge when trying to capture aviation statics with any type of clean background. I recieved a few questions via email on some recetn posts and so I wanted to share with everyone my thinking when it comes to capturing the statics. The first thing I try to do is get there early. Most shows have packages for photographers that allow early access to the ramp prior to the public entering. This first step is a biggie as it eliminates the people aspect.
Second thing I look for is as clean of a background as I can get, knowing full well that I will be removing some things in post. Having as little in the background if possible makes for a much easier work in the digital darkroom. I also try to consider the sky in the picture and that is where early entry also helps. If Mother Nature cooperates, they skies can be spectactular in the early morning and make for a great compliment to the static shot.
Case in point. Here is one of the recent shots that I took of and F-35B tactical fighter on the tarmack.. This is the untouched original photo of what I saw taking the click. Notice the tents and barriers behind the plane. I knew full well those were getting removed in post. If I had composed to the left or the right, other aircraft and far more tents would have been in the frame. Also you can see the hint of color in the sky which I also knew I would be accentuating in post.
Shooting with your final vision of the static in your mind helps to visualize the composition and set you up for success. Knowing what I now want to static to look like, I went to work in post bringing the static shot to life how I imagined it. Here is the final image as I envisioned seeing it the day I took it. Having a plan going into taking aviation statics certainly helps your chances of coming away with some really nice images. These strategies are what I think about at each airshow I attend. Keep in mind that obtaining relatively little in the background may not be possible to see the entire aircraft.
If this is t he case, try and think about creting some unique shots of the plane without showing the plane in its entirety. Many aircraft have unique features that make for great images before they even take to the skies. Remember, you don’t have to show the entire plane for your static to tell the story. This F22 pilot getting ready to taxi out for launch made for one of my favorites. By zooming in, I eliminated all the distractions around the plane and in the background.
This is what, in my opinion, makes aviation statics a real challenge but so much fun in trying to capture. With a little practice, imagination and post processing, your evolution of a static image can really evolve into something that you will love to show and share.