Photography at Southern Museum of Flight

Southern Museum of Flight Aviation Display
Southern Museum of Flight Aviation Display

I finally made it over to the Southern Museum of Flight. I have lived, worked, and traveled around Birmingham for the better part of my life, but had never been over to this particular museum, even when I worked at the Birmingham Airport. On Saturday I had some uncommitted time in Birmingham and I decided to head over towards the airport to check it out. I wasn’t real sure how much there would be there to see, but I was pleasantly surprised and I had basically complete access to shoot throughout the museum. I love aviation museums (the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola is probably my favorite, thought I haven’t been to the Smithsonian yet). There is a civil aviation side (hanger) and a military aviation side, each with unique displays.

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Stop for Spotting at ATL

atl-airport-frontier-a320

The Atlanta airport is so close to where we had lunch today, and directly on the way home that I decided to stop for a bit to see if I could do a little spotting. It was super hot on the upper deck and parking is an absolute nightmare. I didn’t realize until after I had parked and walked to the spotting location I was familiar with in the short-term parking that there is now a parking lot, holding area, just before you get into the drop off and pick up area. It’s perfect for spotting since it’s right there up against one of the active runways, but visibility of what’s coming is very limited. The view up on the top of the parking deck is great, but it’s very hot and exposed, and it did end up costing $4 for the 90 minutes or so I was there.

I ended up walking around inside the airport for a while to find something to drink. It was a crazy zoo of people chaotically moving around seemingly mindlessly through the mire of the modern and busiest airport in the country. I was glad I stopped, I wish I had more time to spend but it was about as perfect timing wise as it could have been to be able to get back to Auburn at a decent hour.

Aviation Photography Spotting at Las Vegas McCarran Airport :: Throwback Thursday

Las Vegas Departure of America West Cactus

Early this morning I was looking through some previous photo shoots from about 10 years ago, which today is my next edition of Throwback Thursday. In one respect, I can’t believe this was 10 years ago, it sounds so long ago when you say it like that, but when I look at the images, I can remember each day, each image, like I just drove over to the KLAS observation area yesterday.

Ten years ago, in my “off” time from work, I was all about aviation photography, and aviation spotting at whatever airport I could get to that week. I shot aviation photography for years until it just became too much of a hassle with local police and the FBI, who harassed me constantly about taking photos of planes in a post-911 world with big glass (most of the time the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 zoom). Most of my aviation images were posted over on airlines.net and more specifically mine are still at planephoto.net. These in particular were shot at the Las Vegas McCarran Airport observation deck. Back then, Deb and I lived in Las Vegas for a while, long enough to know Vegas as well any city I know, so I found every angle possible to shoot at KLAS, including when Air Force One showed up one afternoon.

One of the many things I loved about shooting in Las Vegas was the smog and dust from the desert of Nevada made for some incredible sunset photos, both aviation and the Las Vegas strip buildings. I probably took thousands of sunset and night images in Las Vegas but the one above was always one of my favorite, simplicity in flight.

Southwest Airlines in Las Vegas Departs Over Excalibur

Frontier Airlines Lands in Rain at Las Vegas Airport

Scott Fillmer Shooting in Las Vegas

Singapore Airlines in Las Vegas Strip

Cloud Explosions in the Sky at 40,000 Feet

Today, a quick photo of the day post with one of my favorite inflight photos from my recent flight between Amsterdam and Uganda. This is a huge thunderstorm over the Mediterranean Sea that towered at least to the 40,000 feet we were flying at this day, and you can see went quick a bit above where we were flying. Somehow these two massive thunderstorms looked like (to me) two nuclear bombs exploding, and of course we were flying into these storms.

I have another post almost ready to go with photos about water, and the well, and kids, and all that stuff so look for that next time.

Amsterdam Airport Photos and a 50mm Lens :: AMS-EBB

This is a continuation of my series, airports and a 50mm lens. Since I was in Europe this time I didn’t really get quite a much material as I normally do in a place like Atlanta. For one thing, once I get outside the United States shooting [photos] in an airport isn’t quite the same. The laws are different all over the world. I know what I can and can’t shoot in the U.S., and I can stand my ground in most cases in my own country. Not so much once I get outside the U.S., so this series changes a bit, to err on the side of caution.

Europe is usually ok about photographers as long as you aren’t obnoxious and you don’t look too suspicious but Entebbe is another story. I didn’t take hardly anything once we landed over there but on my next trip I know on the way back home there are a few things I would like to capture. I’ll see. In October I may be as tired as I was when we left in August, but EBB right now is about one single shot.

Here is a quick shoot of Amsterdam. There was a lot I didn’t get since our connection was so short, but next time I have a 5 hour connection so I should be able to improve upon this shoot. If you are wondering what’s the point… well, I actually consider this street photography, something I have really come to love over the years. Trying to capture a mood, or an expression, without someone standing in front of you going “smile” isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but sometimes it’s just more genuine. To me it shows a more realistic view of life. Everything in this (and all my 50mm airport series) is shot with one single focal length lens (obviously a 50mm), and to me, it tells a totally different story than the post from Atlanta 8 hours earlier told.

Atlanta Airport Photos and a 50mm Lens :: ATL-AMS

I have this random series I have done on my blog for years called “airport in 50mm” that looks photographically at a particular airport with just a 50mm lens. I did this for this last trip except for the airport in Entebbe where I wasn’t sure if I would get shot by the guy holding the M-16 for taking a photo but I was pretty sure they would confiscate my camera and or SD card so I skipped that one, maybe when I go back. I always find it fascinating that you can take photos of the same place but capture a totally different perspective each time, but they always are because every day brings to live a new perspective (see the last Atlanta post). This was the first stop along an extremely long set of flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam to Entebbe. Each image was taken with a 50mm prime lens.

Air Force One on Takeoff for Tuesday’s Election

The photo of the day today is a shot I took of Air Force One on it’s takeoff run at Las Vegas McCarran Airport a while back.  With the elections taking place tomorrow I thought this would be an appropriate shot, but we are also trying to get to a place where we can watch the Space Shuttle launch tomorrow as well, so it served two purposes today.  If we get to the Space Coast I will post some photos on Twitter and here, but I am sure we won’t get as close to the shuttle as I was able to get here with AF1.  For additional aviation photos you can check out some of my shots at http://www.planephoto.net as well.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules Flyover from Fort Benning to Montgomery

For the last several weeks these C-130’s have been flying directly over our property, at about 1,000 feet off the ground.  While they are not as loud as an F-14 with afterburners fired, they can really beat the surrounding air, especially when flying in pairs.  That’s just what they did last night at about 1:30am, felt like the windows were going to break.

This shot was taken about 15 miles farther into their flight path, almost directly over AUO (Auburn University Regional Airport) around 6pm.  I am only drawing the conclusion they are flying from Fort Benning to Montgomery, but it is pretty cool to see them flying overhead, just not at 2am.

Orange County Airport Photos and a 50mm Lens :: SNA-MIA

On my way from ATL to SNA

Terminal Building at SNA

John Wayne in SNA

Han gliding in SNA

Terminal Building at SNA

Terminal Building at SNA

Terminal Building at SNA

Departure at SNA

On my recent trip to California I decided to continue my 50mm airport series I started a while back.  I generally carry all my equipment with me on the plane since a lost bag will result in a non-existent photo shoot, and a few trips ago I started trying to get the creative juices flowing by using one camera and one single fixed focal length lens (a standard 50mm) to cover each new airport.

This past week the new airport was Orange County’s John Wayne Airport (SNA). I have usually flown into LAX and since I had not been to John Wayne in a while, it was next on my photo list (ATL has long since be shot, see my post Atlanta Airport Photos and a 50mm Lens // Part 1, if that is your interest).  For the extremely busy location of southern California, Orange County is a great place to fly in and out of and almost has the feel of a Midwestern Lubbock or Amarillo feel to it as far as the traffic goes.  I also didn’t get harassed by security, police, FBI, or any other uncomfortable PAX in the area, wonderful.

Miami Airport Photos and a 50mm Lens :: MIA-ATL

Approach into Miami

Miami Airport in 50mm

Miami Airport under construction

Roof in Miami airport

This the third and final part of my airport in a 50mm lens perspective (see ATL part 1 and DEN part 2), at least until I jump on another plane and end up at an airport other than ATL, DEN, and MIA. Miami was the most difficult out of the three to shoot. It was hot, humid (yes I was inside), very very crowded, and all under construction.

That just means I had to look around more than I usually do and find something that said this was MIA and was (to me) photographically pleasing. For this post, I chose these 4 images below.

I love the second shot, the plane. This old plane was restored and hung from one of the walks between terminal buildings. What caught my attention was the print just below the name of the pilot.

Passengers travel in this vehicle at their own risk

I did find one nice architectural images of this roof line which seemed to open like a bottle top. I would have preferred to get the faces of the travelers but in an airport you must be wise when holding the camera. With so many irritated passengers around every bend waiting for delayed flights, I wasn’t real interested in inflaming the minds of many.

I always liked the Miami airport. So much diversity even in the airport itself, but modernizing the terminals (which they are doing) would also make it a nice place to fly into while waiting for a long connection. All images in each part of this shoot were taken with a Nikon D700 (in full frame FX mode), hand held, with a 50mm Nikkor f/1.4 lens. Comments, suggestions, critique, or criticism are all welcome. These are shown in the order they were taken.

To see the larger sizes all at once just click on the first image to open the light box gallery and you can scroll through the larger sizes that way.