Airshows are a tradition in my family, and every year we make our best effort to attend the annual one at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth. With Fort Worth being home of two major aerospace and defense companies—Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin—their products feature prominently in both static displays as well as in the live performances. And that also means that many other squadrons, units, and other organizations send planes out for the big event every October.
I enjoy taking good photos. I’m no expert, far from it, but I’d like to think I know how to frame a shot and polish the end product just a bit. So to give you a taste of airshow excitement (especially if you’ve never been to one before), here are the best photos from the day.
If you enjoyed these photos, find an airshow near you and go when the opportunity comes around!
It’s been a few weeks since I wrote anything on my blog. Other stuff just kept taking priority—but that was priority of my choosing, so I really have no excuse.
Anyway, rather than write any big, long piece to make up for what I haven’t posted in almost a month, I’m going to share some of the output from one of my hobbies: photography.
My grandparents gave me my first Vivitar camera when I must have been three or four, and I’ve been snapping pictures ever since. (I still have the Vivitar!) I upgraded to a digital Panasonic when I turned thirteen and more recently upgraded to a Canon DSLR last year to really take it to the next level.
Now, whether my eye for photography has ever been any good is for you to decide. And whether the shots come out looking great is also up in the air.
My goal as I work on photography on the side is to learn not only the mechanics of camera settings and framing the shot but also the post-processing that is done with image-editing software such as Photoshop. I’m a cheapskate (and Adobe charges out the nose for a Photoshop subscription now), so I’ve been using the open-source image-editor called GIMP. I think the results are pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.
So, without further ado, here are some shots of airliners taken at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, TX and muscle cars taken at Lone Star Muscle Cars in Wichita Falls, TX. Enjoy and please let me know what you think.
One thing I really like about photography is that it gives me an excuse to get out, explore, and experiment. As you can probably tell, I like photographing machines, but really anything that (I think) exhibits beauty is worth capturing.
Coming soon: enhanced photos from my spring-break trip to Utah. Until then, thanks for reading and viewing.
Airshows are awesome. If you’ve been, you know; if you haven’t, go and find out.
I grew up going to airshows. My dad worked in the aerospace industry and took our family to as many airshows as he could in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I’ve been to at least fifteen by my reckoning, maybe as many as twenty. I’ve seen both the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels at least three times each, likely more. I’ve also seen a very realistic Pearl Harbor/Tora! Tora! Tora! reenactment with Mitsubishi Zeroes, several AV-8B Harrier demonstrations, and a rare Russian Mi-24 Hind helicopter flight. (If you don’t know what those are, follow the links!)
My earliest airshow memory was talking to the pilot of an E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft at age three. He let me sit in the pilot’s seat, wear the headset, and play with the throttle controls. I then remember walking through the aircraft, past the computer workstations (where seats would normally be on a commercial aircraft), out the aft door, down the mobile stairs, and to where Mom and Daniel were waiting in the shade of a B-52 Stratofortress, Daniel still being in a stroller at the time. It’s all documented on an old camcorder tape somewhere, along with plenty of shots of vacant sky as a fighter jet whizzes past!
Airshows never get old for me; in fact, I appreciate them more and more as I get older. I still enjoy seeing the aircraft, but now I also enjoy talking to the pilots and crew. Most of them spend the day standing around in the heat, cold, or rain, just waiting for someone to ask them about their planes. You can learn some interesting things from striking up a conversation with them, and they’re more than happy to talk. I got to speak with a B-2 Spirit pilot this past weekend (though he left his B-2 back at Whiteman AFB, darn!). Dad told me that one time, back in the late 80s, he asked an F-14 pilot about the video targeting pod on his aircraft. The pilot looked at Dad incredulously and asked, as if it were classified info, “How do you know about that?” Dad replied, “Tom Clancy wrote about it in Red Storm Rising!” (It pays to read good books.)
Perhaps above all else, I enjoy airshows because they are tangible reminders of the sacrifices that American men and women make so that we can be free in this country. For every B-17 Stratofortress that survived World War II, there were hundreds that bit the dust or limped back home over European skies; and the life expectancy of a B-17 crewman was just a handful of missions, if he was fortunate. The men and women who build, fly, and support military aircraft do it not for their own sakes but for ours, so that we may live freely, safely, and comfortably on our own soil. They have my fullest respect.
So, get online and find out if there’s an airshow near you. If there is, go. Bring your friends and family. Take good walking shoes, sunglasses, and sun protection—and a camera, too. Even if you know nothing about airplanes or aviation, go. Watch some air performances. Walk around the static displays. Talk to some pilots: ask them about their aircraft and what a day in the flight suit is like. Smile and thank them for their service. Many will autograph bulletins or even have posters they will autograph.
And, most importantly, have a great time and make great memories.
Coming soon: pictures from the 2018 Fort Worth Alliance Air Show. Stay tuned.