BTBFlyboy
BTBFlyboy

Night Mail



I've been wanting for some time to capture some images reflecting those of the original air mail days. Especially night shots !!
So last night, my so...
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I've been wanting for some time to capture some images reflecting those of the original air mail days. Especially night shots !!
So last night, my son helped me get some night shots of a friends rare 1929 Pitcairn Mailwing, an original airmail airplane !
May I present my latest Brent Taylor Productions image.... "Night Mail" !!
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2 Comments | Report
jimhelmick
 
jimhelmick June 11, 2018
Magnificent capture.
BTBFlyboy
BTBFlyboy June 11, 2018
Thanks !
colincrowder
 
colincrowder March 24, 2019
Join the conversation. Add a comment or even better, a critique. Let's get better together!
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Behind The Lens

Location
The photo was taken at Antique Airfield near Blakesburg, IA. Antique Airfield is home to the Antique Airplane Association (AAA), the Air Power Museum (APM) and is a privately owned airport belonging to the APM and members of my family. It replicates a typical country airport of the 1930's with it's grass runways and period looking hangars. The airplane pictured is a 1930 Pitcairn PA-6 "Mailwing" (one of only two flyable) that has been completely restored to it's original condition, as when it was used to fly the mail in the early 30's.
Time
My son (who is in the cockpit of the airplane) and I began setting up for this shot at dusk. After several test shots and some patience this image was captured around 10 pm on a warm spring night (June 8th, 2018).
Lighting
The main lighting comes from the hangar lights in our Restoration Center, with the hangar door (40' x 12') open. Other lighting includes the navigation lights (wings & tail) and cockpit lights of the airplane itself turned on, plus a small flashlight placed on the floor of the cockpit to reflect on the windshield and bottom of the top wing. I also waited for an evening with no moon, and a high thin overcast to assure there wouldn't be much star/ambient light.
Equipment
I used my trusty Nikon D90 with a Nikon Zoom-Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens, mounted on a Slik AMT tripod. No flash was used, but I did use a Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote Control to release the shutter.
Inspiration
I'm pretty much self taught photography wise, but I've always admired the nighttime train photographs of O.Winston Link, and have tried on several occasions and with different aircraft to do something in a similar vein. As a pilot & aircraft mechanic myself, I'm also a big fan of the airmail pilots/planes of the 1920's & '30's, and I've been wanting for some time to capture images reflecting those of the original airmail days, especially night shots. This 1930 Pitcairn PA-6 "Mailwing" is owned/flown by a good friend who flew the airplane over from NE Nebraska (we are located in SE Iowa), and left it in our care for a week, in part so we could do this very photo shoot.
Editing
I converted the photo from color to black & white and did some minor adjustments using PhotoFix in my PhotoPlus X4 program.
In my camera bag
I'm a big believer in the old adage, "it's not the arrow, it's the Indian", so beyond my D90, my 18-105mm lens, a 80-200 mm Nikon lens, my tripod and the remote control for the shutter, just extra camera batteries, charger, memory cards, lens cleaner and the camera manual.
Feedback
To capture an image like this I would advise the following: Study up on aviation history, so you know the subject and what you are trying to capture with your photograph. Study photographers work that you admire and would like to emulate (like O.Winston Link) Spend time around the subject studying it, learning about the technology of the time period, and determining what angle it looks best from. Be aware of the time, expense and knowledge it took to restore, maintain and keep the subject aircraft flying, and act accordingly when working with the aircraft owner to capture the image.

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