Sunday, March 18, 2007

The need for speed

I try to capture action every day on assignment. Whether it is a shortstop turning the double play, a swimmer coming up for breath in the butterfly stroke or the flow of traffic on a freeway we crank up the shutter speed in an attempt to stop the action for a picture.

Of all the things that I have photographed the fastest defiantly has to be fighter jets. Afterburning engines can thrust these fighters to speeds just below the speed of sound for the delight of airshow guests.

Of all the military jets around my favorite has to be the United States Air Force’s F-15 Eagle air superiority fighter. Nearing the end of its military career I had the opportunity to watch it fly in person at an airshow a couple of years ago.

Afterburners blazing at takeoff, in a high speed pass for the crowd and flying a bit slower for a salute with a World War II fighter I tried my best to capture one of the fastest planes around. Looking at my shoot I see I had the tendency to lead the jet a little too much as tried to anticipate the speed of the ship as it passed.

A fairly high shutter speed was used to keep the motion blur to a minimum along with a gentle pan to follow the jets flight. The results were a variety of shots that showed the power of the jet’s engines and gave a sense of the speed.

While I will spend most of my days shooting the speedy runners of a track meet or player stealing a base at a baseball game I love my times photographing airshows. There is no better way to fill my need for speed that that.

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