Monday, January 28, 2008

Kitty Glitter

Look Over Here, Hawk-Eyes!

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Those of you who have followed this blog for a while would know that I love photographing just about anything, especially if I can find an unusual angle for a shot. These shots of a Curtis P40 Kittyhawk were taken at an air show, and I was just thrilled to have the chance to photograph an aircraft of World War II vintage.

If you've been to an air show, you'll appreciate how difficult it is to work the angles or get close-ups. You see, aircraft are always cordoned off to prevent people getting too close to them. And because there are always crowds at each exhibit, it can be quite a challenge to get just the plane in the frame and not the bobbing heads and waving arms of hundreds of excited planespotters as well.

Yup, aviation photography on an airfield or a tarmac is very different from the challenge of aviation photography at an air show. I have always been a keen student of aerodynamics, the history of air combat and just about anything that flies. The first frame (above) is a deliberate attempt to show just how slender the fuselage of a fighter was, is and always has been.

It's great fun photographing a sleek jet fighter, but I really appreciate the chance to train my lens on a red spinner, propeller blades and a beautiful set of fishtail exhausts. That sort of thing doesn't happen every day.

By the way, if you have an interest in stories about fighter pilots of World War II, then you might appreciate just how privileged I was to tell the stories of two RAF pilots of that era. It was my very great privilege to painstakingly piece together the heroism of a Typhoon pilot and a Hurricane pilot; stories that would have been impossible to tell without the power and reach of the internet. The first feature is Life And Death Of A Hurricane Pilot and the second is displayed in full on Terry Fletcher's wonderful Anglo-Indian Portal at The Story of 'Tiger' Rajan.

By the way, I am currently working on my third novel, called The Jadu Master. A couple of significant chapters deal with the fighter pilots of the RAF and the Luftwaffe, as well as the aircraft they flew. In this instance, I am doing extensive research on the performance (and all other relevant data) of the Spitfire and the Messerschmitt Bf-109. Yes, I'm enjoying myself. Yes, I have lots of data. And yes, I'm acutely aware there is always more information just around the corner ....

The quest for knowledge and understanding never ends.


20 comments:

Julie said...

Ace - !!! Will note links and read them. Cracking shot....

btw I found the link to the Daily Mail articles and pics on the Tudor mansion...top left corner of VJ if you need it; & just going to add a link below it to a witty Mars rover video...

david mcmahon said...

Hi Julie,

Glad you liked the shots. Thanks for the heads-up on the Tudor mansion. Much appreciated.

Looking forward to the Rover addition!

Keep smiling

David

Corey~living and loving said...

Cool shots. I haven't had this opportunity yet...but when I do....I'll be looking for the less common angles just like you. :)

Hope you had a great weekend. It decided to snow here....that rarely happens. Sugar is having a blast. oh and mama and her camera as well. :)

Deana said...

It is a good thing to never stop seeking knowledge. Your photographs are very powerful. Sleek and colorful. And I like the angles.

Jeff B said...

The "painted" backdrop of the pale blue sky and clouds add a nice deminsion to the planes as well.

We have a couple of air museums in the area. The Spruce Goose is housed in one of them.

Bart said...

I love the paint jobs on those old planes. They had style back then. Makes me want to paint sharks teeth on my car.

I'm also nominating myself for post of the day. Behold the awesomeness of http://www.bartraeke.com/2008/01/tales-from-past-were-clean-officer.html

You know you wanna.

Bart said...

Apparently, blogger likes to cut addresses off. It's my Tales From The Past post. ;)

smilnsigh said...

Wonderful photos. Looks like you were right 'up close and personal.' From the finished products/photos. :-)

Mari-Nanci

Pam said...

Our parents had a beautiful black & white photo of Eugene/Terry, standing near a 'retired' Kitty Hawke.

I wonder if he remembers it?

Julie said...

New Blog up and running -

Check out Virtual Hangar when you're passing...

Kendra Field-Bennett said...

The battery question has been answered.....www.field-bennettfamily.blogspot.com

:)

alicesg said...

Your photographs are well taken. You make your subjects looked very interesting.

Mona said...

I couldn't have guessed that was a fighter plane!. It is so fancy!

I remember seeing another fancy aircraft belonging to the air race participant Vijaypath Singhania. It is like a leopard.

David I have been searching for your novel and have not been able to find it. Can you tell me the name of the publisher so that I ca tell the bookshop owner to order it?

Glad to know about your new Novel venture!

Ornery said...

Great shots, David. I too am an aviation enthusiast and love many of the WW II era planes. I'll have to follow your links...

Yep, I always enjoy a good air show.

Lee said...

David, I love these photos. The Commerative Air Force is a group of retired pilots who personally purchase, rebuild, and fly old airplanes from WWII planes. This group of men and planes was started in my home town and I watched many air shows with my father when I was a child. Additionally, my dad was a member of the 100th Bomb Group which has its own website. Yep, you're bringing back memories again.

Followed the link and read the stories. Nice work!

Peace!

Moosekahl said...

I travel a lot for work and one of the coolest "side trips" I took on a business trip was spending nearly an entire day on the USS Midway in San Diego. The flight deck is covered with all sorts of planes from all eras of US flight history. One of my favorites from that trip is me with a Tomcat and also this cool inside shot I took of a medic helicopter. I'll have to find those...now I'm going to go read your stories. Have a great week!

BRUNO said...

Beautiful shot of one of the first "modern" Allied fighters of the WW 2-era! I haven't been to a "flying-museum" in many a year---seems as though the "old-iron" tractors and equipment was much more suited to my brain-cells!

(OK, if the truth must be known---I was too big to fit in the cockpits...!)

Rachael said...

Cool shots David. I was bought up at Air shows every summer as my Dad totally loves anything to do with fighter planes so I understand how difficult it is to get good shots of them. There is a link so that you can email me on my "What Now?" blog. x

imac said...

Power to the Photographer - this time.
Great shot David.

stev said...

thanks for sharing the thrills n spills of aviation photography ;)

pretty interesting angles there too. mmm...