Tag Archives: Chino

Using the GX-1 at an Air Museum

I have a Panasonic GX-1. It was purchased on a whim because of a “deal of the day” advertisement that I saw online. The deal was too good to pass up!  The GX-1 showed up in a few days and I immediately started using it.  And then, it stayed unused in a camera bag.

My thought on getting the GX-1 was as a back up camera to my Olympus E-P3.  Both of these cameras are in the same class, Micro Four Thirds (MFT) and are known as mirrorless cameras.  Neither one has an optical or electronic viewfinder and you must rely on the LCD on the back of the camera for picture taking.  While not really pocketable, they are both much smaller than my DSLR (Canon 60D), and produce very nice images.  This type of camera is generally not very good at any type of fast action photography, but do quite well for just about anything else.

I really loved my Olympus E-P3, from the moment I first picked it up.  It felt solid and has a nice retro look.  I’ve taken some very nice photos with it too!  The E-P3 is starting to show its age, especially with its older 12mp sensor.  Low light high ISO capability was not really one of its strengths.  To counter that and work within this limitation, I kept the ISO low and put the E-P3 on a tripod in low light.  The solid build has come into play for me personally.  While out hiking with the E-P3, I slipped and fell – twice!  I came away with some scrapes and bruises, and so did the E-P3.  Nothing too serious but there are a couple of battle scars on it.  Other than the pop-up flash not working very well, the rest of it is just fine.

As for the GX-1, it doesn’t have a very solid feel and is definitely not retro.  The body doesn’t look bad, it just seems like it has more plastic than the E-P3.  Both the GX-1 and E-P3 have plenty of external controls and touch screens.  I’m kind of funny in that I don’t really care for the touch screens and turned them off.  The GX-1 is a very capable camera, and has a newer 16mp sensor and better low light, high ISO performance than the E-P3, and when I used it, found that it too produced some very nice images.  The other plus of having the GX-1 is that being a MFT camera, it could use all of the lenses that I currently had for the E-P3.  I just never really warmed up to it and didn’t use it, especially after getting my Olympus E-M5.

A week or so ago, I was digging around in my camera bags and saw the GX-1.  I decided to get it out, dust it off, and give it another try.  One of the places that I enjoy walking around and using my cameras is the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino California.  It’s fairly close, and always has interesting subjects.  What better place to get re-acquainted with the GX-1!

To my surprise, I enjoyed using the GX-1 more this time than I had when I first got it.  I used my Olympus 17mm f/1.8 and 45mm f1/8 lenses and tried to capture images in a variety of conditions.  Nothing that I want to get too technical about, suffice it to say that there was quite an extreme difference in the indoor lights of the hangars and the harsh mid-day sun.  Not the most ideal shooting conditions, but very realistic.  You can’t always have an epic sunrise or sunset with deliciously warm, golden light.  Sometimes you have to work with what you have!

Here are some of the pictures from that day.  I had the GX-1 in aperture priority mode, and changed the aperture (f/stop) and ISO according to the brightness of the light.  I also set the camera to shoot RAW for the express purpose of post processing.  I know there are some that don’t like post processing, and that’s just fine for them.  Personally, I enjoy working on my photos and finding new methods for creating an image.  Sometimes it’s black and white, sometimes HDR, and other times just a few minor tweaks.  Since I don’t consider myself a journalist or documentarian, I have no problem with post processing.  But to each his own, it’s all good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m very pleased with the GX-1, it was fun to use again.  It’s fairly small and easy to carry around.  I got used to changing settings and didn’t have to fumble around too much.  The RAW files provide good quality images with plenty of pixels for me to play with in post.  I think I’m going to keep it out and use it some more!  Unfortunately it has been discontinued by the manufacturer, but is still available if you look around.  I found it on Amazon – GX-1.

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

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!

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!