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Click for moreJun 20, 2011 - Hamilton Air Show 2011 - Vintage Aircraft at their Finest

The 2011 Hamilton Airshow was absolutely amazing. After a 10 year hiatus, the show returned this year, and the organizers truly outdid themselves. If you're a fan of aircraft of any sort, and especially if you like WWI and WWII planes, I hope you enjoy this set of blog posts. Follow the link at the bottom of each page to see all 4 parts.

Photographically, as this blog shows, I shoot a lot of birds. It's an enjoyable pastime, and provides endless opportunities to get creative with shooting technique. Shooting aircraft either at a local airport or at an airshow is equally challenging and rewarding.

On this past weekend I took 3 cameras, my main rig, a Canon DSLR with various lenses, a 3D Fuji camera, and also a Canon HD video camera. On the DSLR alone I took 600 shots, and at the time I'm writing this I've only had a chance to go through the shots taken with the DSLR.

Shooting on the tarmac, I used a wide-angle lens to capture as much of these glorious planes as possible. Later standing near the taxiway and runway where the planes were taking off and landing, I used a handheld 400mm lens.

Technique-wise, I was aiming to do a number of things with my shooting. Of course it's important to keep everything in focus, so fast shutter speeds are important, however I also went with slower shutter speeds (1/60th - 1/80th of a second), which allowed blurring of the background while I panned as the aircraft flew by. An additional reason for a slower shutter-speed is to blur the propellers and show motion. At higher shutter speeds the props get frozen which can be an odd appearance for an in-flight aircraft.

The Hamilton Air Show was better than shows like the Toronto Air Show because prior to the aerial performances, visitors were able to walk around in the hangar and on the tarmac and see all the awesome planes on site. People were even able to board the larger planes, which is an opportunity you won't find at most shows.

Due to the volume of aircraft present at the show, I've broken this post up into a series of posts so you can see each type and era of aircraft separately. Enjoy!

At the bottom of each post you can navigate to the next part.

Part 1 - WWI Era

Part 2 - WW2 Fighters

Part 3 - Trainers

Part 4 - Bombers

Click for moreJun 6, 2011 - A Visit to the Brampton Great War Flying Museum

This past Sunday the weather was awesome so I decided to pay a visit to the Brampton airport and their Great War Flying Museum to see what winged wonders might be taking flight.

The Great War Flying Museum is a very cool place to go when you've got the itch to be around vintage aircraft. Along with the hangar full of WWI planes, you can take a self-guided tour through the museum, where they have displays of scale model aircraft, uniforms, medals and more.

The Brampton airport is where I usually depart from when doing simulated flights on my computer, so visiting it is a virtual homecoming of sorts... From Brampton I usually fly into Toronto's YYZ or Billy Bishop (island airport), or I sometimes head north to Collingwood airport on the shore of Georgian Bay.

Upon arrival at the airport, the packed parking lot told me something was happening. As it turned out, SOAR (Southern Ontario Amazing Race) was taking place and one leg of the adventure was at Brampton airport, where contestants took to the air to locate a landmark they'd afterwards need to find by car.

After watching Cessnas and Pipers taxi and take to the air, I made my way over to the museum and hangar, which was far more exciting.

The season is still early and so many of their vintage aircraft weren't yet in the hanger due to the grass being too wet to roll them in. I was assured that soon enough they'd have more planes, but in the meantime got to take a look at the Nieuport 28 that was being serviced, and the two Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a's.

The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a's they have on site are beautiful aircraft. One is a 5/8's scale version, with the second being full size scale.

While there, one of the museum pilots took the 5/8th scale model up for the first flight of the season, so I got to watch from the taxiway as pre-flight checks, taxiing, and eventual takeoff took place.

All in all, even though all the WWI planes weren't there, it was well worth the time to go up and see what was happening at the Brampton airport. I'll definitely be back again soon!

If you like airplanes, mark June 18th and 19th in your calendar, the 2011 Hamilton Airshow is taking place that weekend. Click here for info and maybe I'll see you there!

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Click for moreSep 6, 2009 - Hawks and Angels at YYZ

This weekend The Canadian International Air Show celebrated its 60th anniversary and the 100th year of powered flight in Canada.

Watching departures at Toronto's Pearson International (YYZ) was a great place to get close to some fast machines!

Special features of the 2009 show were the Blue Angels in their FA/18 Hornets, The Fat Albert C130, and a CF-18 Hornet, Hawk and Tudor all donning Centennial celebration markings.

It was cool to listen to radio transmissions as the returning pilots requested fly-by persission from the tower and took turns doing low passes over YYZ before landing.

Many other planes flew at the show including the miraculous Snowbirds, P51 Mustangs, a Spitfire and more.

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