Nikon, Meet Cessna

It really was just a matter of time.

Anyone who knows me knows my passions. Some come and go, but two have always remained constant. Cars, and airplanes.

Photography has, until recently, been something of a fad passion with me. I’ve never really stuck with it. Partly because I payed no attention to learning the rules of photography, and therefore all my images were always sort of “blah.” Well, not all…

Having decided to stick with photography as a side passion, something to do because it’s a challenge, it’s fun and it turns out I seem to be decent at it, it was only a matter of time before photography collided with aviation.

That time was late November. As part of a class assignment, we needed to design and write a magazine. I decided to write an article about the aviation program I’m involved in. I’m not going to lie, my actual writing was a fluff piece. Nothing worth showing. It was dazzling enough to earn a passing grade, nothing more. My photos, however, were a different story.

I had a roll of Kodak Portra 160 loaded in my Nikon F4, and I had been waiting for beautiful lighting to capture images, as that seems to be what everyone says Portra is best at. I went out to the Clermont County Airport at sunset, and was blessed with an opportunity – one of our training birds was done for the night, and sitting neatly right where I needed it.

So I went to work photographing a Cessna 172. I’ve logged over 180 hours in this type of aircraft so far. I’ll log a lot more in my life, provided God has it set that I am supposed to fly for a living. I’ll fly other aircraft, too. But this one, the 172. She was the first. From zero hours to where I am now. A Recreational license, a Private license, and this past October, an Instrument rating. I’ve guided one of these, including this one, through the skies over Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, and  West Virginia. I’ve flown into my hometown international airport, Dayton’s James M. Cox Intl. I’ve taken off of Chicago’s Midway airport at 11:00pm, aimed straight at the Chicago skyline. I’ve done a parallel approach with a Lufthansa Airbus A330 into Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. I’ve walked past Taylor Swifts’ Falcon 900 jet on the ramp at Nashville International, and danced with Southwest airlines 737’s out of Port Columbus International at their peak time of night. All in one of these little birds.

So I decided to share these images. Probably the best one’s I’ve taken yet. A sort of tribute to the aircraft that has helped me realize my dream, and will continue to carry me for a while yet in my pursuit of a dream job.

Skyhawk SP at sunest

Skyhawk SP at sunset

Hawk at sunset

Hawk at sunset

G1000 equipped

G1000 equipped

Basking in the glow

Basking in the glow

Sunset over the field

Sunset on the tail

Sun to the right. (Note: I cropped a small amount of the right of the picture off, as it had a strange light streak on it. Not sure what it is exactly, but I removed it.)

Sun to the right. (Note: I cropped a small amount of the right of the picture off, as it had a strange light streak on it. Not sure what it is exactly, but I removed it.)

And again.

And again.

Down the nose

Down the nose

This wasn't supposed to work. It was a spur of the moment shot. But it worked fairly well, given the time I had to capture it.

This wasn’t supposed to work. It was a spur of the moment shot. But it worked fairly well, given the time I had to capture it.

Landing light

Landing light

A failed thought, included to keep my head from getting too big. The moment I saw was very orange, very pretty. The problem is I didn't set up for the light quite right. As a result, my Nikon F4's Matrix meter read ALL the light and created this bland, grey-ish photo. More proof that your camera doesn't really matter. My F4 HELPED me to make all the previous shots, but it couldn't overcome my improper set up for this one.

A failed thought, included to keep my head from getting too big. The moment I saw was very orange, very pretty. The problem is I didn’t set up for the light quite right. As a result, my Nikon F4’s Matrix meter read ALL the light and created this bland, grey-ish photo. More proof that your camera doesn’t really matter. My F4 HELPED me to make all the previous shots, and my Quantaray lens HELPED me capture the moment I discovered, but neither could overcome my improper set up for this one.

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