Category Archives: Sony Cybershot

Planes of Fame Living History Events II

I was able to go to another Planes of Fame Living History Event.  This one was about the Thunderbolts of the Hell Hawks, and featured living legends from the actual Hell Hawks.  If you weren’t aware, the Hell Hawks flew P-47’s in the 365th Fighter-Bomber Group in WWII.  Click on this link and go to their website for more detailed info – Hell Hawks.

As usual, the Planes of Fame had several Warbirds out of their hangars on display, in addition to their P-47G.  It’s always fun to walk around prior to the presentation and grab a few shots.  I brought my Canon 60D, Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 and Tamron 200-500.  I haven’t used this stuff in a while and thought it would be fun to get it out again.  Normally I use the Canon gear for air shows, so it hasn’t seen a lot of use lately.  One thing I noticed right away was the size and weight of the Canon gear.  It reminded me why I purchased my Olympus E-M5!  Size and weight aside, it was fun to use the bigger stuff again!  I also brought along my Sony RX100 for quick grab shots (and even a short video clip).

As for the presentation, what can I say?  It was outstanding!  The speakers were actual Hell Hawks during WWII, and they shared their stories and adventures, including being shot down and taken to German POW camps.  All I can say is Wow!  I am in awe of what these gentlemen did and sacrificed to the benefit of us all.  They are truly Living Legends!  Although my butt wasn’t happy with the folding chair, the 2 hours went by quickly.

The final part of the event usually includes a flight demo of a Warbird related to the monthly theme, and this time it was the POF’s P-47G.  There’s also a museum members raffle for a ride in the Warbird, and unfortunately I didn’t win.  Oh well, maybe next time!

And now, it’s photo time.  With an event like this, it can be hard to get a clean shot of a Warbird.  This is a popular event and can get crowded very quickly, so if you’re not careful you’re going to get people or sometimes parts of people in your shots.  You really need to pay attention because people are moving everywhere at once and not always stopping so you can grab a shot.  If you notice after you’ve taken a shot, you can just wait and try again.  If you don’t and wait until you get home to look at your photos, it’s too late.  Unless you’re very good at post processing, your perfect shot may be ruined.  There is one more thing you can do.  Get in close to your subject.  Look for unusual angles or details.  You don’t necessarily need to physically get close, you can use a zoom or telephoto lens to fill the frame.  If you do have a wide angle lens, then by all means get close and fill the frame.  Get low and shoot up.  Try walking all around the plane so you don’t miss anything.  By doing this, you lessen the chances that you’ll get unwanted people in your shot (unless of course that’s what you wanted).








If you still haven’t been to the Planes of Fame Air Museum or one of the Living History Events, you need to change that. Especially if you are interested in WWII history and Warbirds in general. And don’t forget the Planes of Fame Air Show in May, it’s not one to be missed!

That’s it for this post, until next time – Happy Shooting!

March Field Air Museum

It’s been a couple of years since my last visit to the March Field Air Museum (MFAM).  The reasons I had for making a return visit were first and foremost to see what was new.  Occasionally I pass by the museum which is located right off of the freeway in Riverside, and could see that some changes were being made.  My second reason was sort of a challenge.  MFAM has some strict rules about photography, such as no tripods, monopods, or camera bags.  I intended to follow those rules (although I never bring a tripod to air museums or air shows) and limit myself to minimal camera gear.  In this case, I brought my Olympus E-M5 with 45mm f/1.8 lens, Rokinon Fisheye lens, and my little Sony RX100.  Finally, the weather was changing and there were some fantastic clouds (not much rain), perfect dramatic backgrounds for airplane photos!

Walking up to the main building there are a couple of planes on display.  Just past those, you’ll notice several memorials.  They are all contained in what the museum calls the “Heritage Courtyard”.  The memorials include:

  • War Dog Memorial
  • P-38 Lightning Memorial
  • Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Memorial
  • 15th Air Force Wall
  • Freedom Wall

Be sure to take a little time and look over these memorials!


Once you’re inside the main building, you’ll see the SR-71.  You can’t help but see it since it dwarfs everything else inside the space.  There are an abundance of other displays along the walls surrounding the SR-71 that are worth spending some time visiting.  I spent some of my time walking around the SR-71.  There’s something about that plane that has intrigued me since I was a kid.  I just wish I was able to see one in the air.  I did learn something about the SR-71 from my Dad.  He mentioned to me recently that he worked at the Lockheed Skunkworks for several years, and during that time worked on the 1st SR-71.  My Dad had a long career in aircraft and retired from McDonnell Douglas with over 30 years.  I knew he worked for Lockheed before his time at McDonnell Douglas, but never gave it any thought that he worked in the Skunkworks or on the SR-71.  How cool is that!

When you’ve allowed enough time to explore indoors, it’s time to head outside.  Just beyond the doors leading out there are dozens of airplanes.  There’s a little bit of everything from WWII Warbirds to surprisingly modern age aircraft.  I won’t cover everything there is to see, you can do that on your own.  I do however, want to share some of the highlights, at least from my perspective.

  • The B-29 “Three Feathers III”.  I have a strange connection to this particular plane.  In fact, I felt compelled to head straight across the yard to see it and spent quite a bit of time with it.  In case you missed it, you can read about my connection to the wonderful plane and it’s history here:  Three Feathers Part 1, Three Feathers Part 2, and Three Feathers Part 3.
  • MIG Alley.  MFAM has an excellent collection of MIGs, from the MIG 15 to the MIG 23.
  • YF-14A Tomcat.  This is another plane that I haven’t seen in the air.  While I have seen several in different air museums, I haven’t been able to get a good shot (photo) of one.  Air museums tend to be packed pretty tight, and it can be tough to get a clean shot, and mine always leaves me disappointed.  But not this time!
  • The F-4 Phantom.  The Phantom is one of my favorites and luckily I have seen them in the air.  MFAM has several models of the F-4 on display!
  • The B-17G.  I have a lot of admiration for this plane and the brave souls that flew them.  I was able to take a tour inside of one and they are a whole lot smaller on the inside then they look on the outside.  You really had to be a skinny kid to move around inside one.  And although the B-17 looks formidable with guns sticking out all around it, that thin sheet metal didn’t provide much protection for those within.  I can’t imagine being inside one with flak bursting all around, slicing holes through that thin skin.

So far I’ve done nothing but talk about the planes.  Now I want to talk a little about photography.  One of things about the gear that I chose for this trip is that it is very light and easy to move around with.  I never felt bogged down by my gear and it didn’t get in the way of making photos.  My Sony RX100 is technically considered a point and shoot, and it looks the part.  What sets it apart is its 1 inch sensor (I know its not exactly 1″ for anyone wanting to scream at me, but its close enough).  Suffice it to say that it’s much larger than the typical point and shoot and the image quality in turn is much better.  It also allows me to shoot RAW and many other point and shoot cameras don’t.  I like it so much that I ended up using it a majority of the time.  In fact, I used it for panoramas, black and white, and HDR.  I probably could have left the E-M5 in the car and used the RX100 exclusively.  Yes, for some things I think it’s that good!

My E-M5 with 45mm f/1.8 performed perfectly.  Nothing at an air museum moves very fast so tracking autofocus wasn’t an issue.  The 45mm (90mm equivalent) was perfect for filling the frame and getting what I’d call more intimate shots.  And I did end up using the Rokinon Fisheye lens a little.  You need to be careful not to over use the fisheye and I was selective with my subject and composition.

What about the pictures?  Good question, here they are:







If you like Warbirds and other types of Military aircraft, you owe it to yourself to stop by March Field Air Museum. I just hit some of my favorites and highlights, so check it out for yourself!

That’s it for this post, until next time, Happy Shooting!

Planes of Fame Living History Events

It was my pleasure to attend one of the Planes of Fame Air Museum’s (in Chino, California) Living History Events.  They have one of these wonderful events every month.  The topic of this month’s event was the Lockheed Skunk Works.  Along with guest speaker presentations, there are usually static displays of relevant aircraft and a flight demonstration.

I think one of the things that attracts me to an event like this is to hear, first hand from Veterans, what it was like to be involved in a particular aspect of one of the wars, flying the aircraft, or in some cases designing and building aircraft.  There’s so much information that is shared and it’s great that you can hear it straight from the guys who were there, and actually did the things you might have heard or read about.  Although the seats aren’t that comfortable (I can’t sit in one place too long anymore), I started to pay less attention to my ass falling asleep and more to the presentation.

One of the other things I noticed was that this event drew a lot of people – the place was packed!  And there was nothing but respect shown for the Veterans and other guest speakers.  Let’s face it, speaking in front of a crowd can be intimidating, and not everyone can just start talking and not get a little nervous.  That didn’t seem to matter, the audience was quiet, patient, and showed respect, and the event continued on.

In addition to the guest speakers, there’s usually a warbird or two on display outside of the hangars.  And if everything goes well, there’s also a flight demonstration.  As usual, I have a camera or two with me, and for this event I brought my Olympus E-M5 and assorted lenses, and my Sony RX100.  Both cameras worked perfectly for shots in and around the static displays.  I kept my 45-200mm Panasonic lens on the E-M5 and used the RX100 for anything close up.  The only trouble I had was when the P-38J went up for the flight demonstration.  While I was able to grab a few shots of the P-38 in the air, they weren’t that good and I’m not going to post any.  The E-M5 isn’t the best option for fast moving aircraft (no phase-detection-autofocus, tracking focus mode is poor).  Was I disappointed?  No, not really.  I knew there was a compromise to be made by bringing the E-M5 and leaving my Canon at home.  The Canon 60D has no problem with fast moving objects, but with the Tamron 200-500mm lens, it’s big and heavy.  Seems like it gets heavier with every year I get older.  But the up side is portability!  I was able to fit all of my gear (2 cameras, 4 lenses) in a single bag.  Besides, there’ll be plenty of opportunities for photos of planes in the air when I start going to the air shows!

If you are interested in vintage aircraft or warbirds, then consider visiting the Planes of Fame Air Museum.  Better yet, try to make it out to one of their monthly events.  I’ve met some very friendly folks, some just interested in the warbirds, and others that are interested in both – the warbirds and photography!  If you really like this type of thing, think about becoming a member!  I finally did it during the event, and looking back should have done it a long time ago!

Here are some photos from the event:








That’s it for this post. Don’t forget to click on the links to the Planes of Fame Air Museum and check it out! Thanks for looking and Happy Shooting!