Some more from the Reno Air Races just over a week ago. The Palm Springs Air Museum P-51 Mustang “Bunny” from start up to shut down around the pylons. GoPro video with some really great light makes it seem like you are right in the cockpit. That is me int he black t-shirt doing the start-up and sending it out. I do more than just photography although you can see my camera having on my back. It is a Fujifilm X-T3 and 100-400mm lens. One of the reasons I avoid carrying a lot of gear, too much going on.
Another installment from only a week ago with the crew of the Palm Springs Air Museum at the Reno Air Races. This is really special… the aircraft is the World War II P-63 Kingcobra “Pretty Polly”. There are perhaps four Kingcobras still flying. No passengers are allowed in aircraft during racing but this is a single seat aircraft anyway. I do get to fly and photograph from many other aircraft.
So this was a place for GoPro. Mounted to the side of the pilot’s flight helmet, you get a perspective of his line of sight from instruments to outside flying past the pylons. It really is just like being there. Turn up your sound too!
I have been absent here while I was at the Reno Air Races, doing most of my blogging on some of my own social media but mostly for the Palm Springs Air Museum, where I am also social media manager and photographer. I also work in flight operations and do get to fly in some very special aircraft.
So backing up some and working my way forward, I departed to the Reno Air Races on September 6th in a World War II P-51 Mustang “Lady Alice” as a flight of two with another P-51 “Wee Willy”. No question this was a pretty exciting way of getting places. Arrived in Reno 90 minutes later.
The National Championship Air Races in Reno is the most prestigious race in the fastest motorsport in the world. And this is the 3rd year I have been a crew member and photographer with the Palm Springs Air Museum race team.
Keep coming back for more posts from Reno. Thanks!
I just returned from the weekend at the “Wings Over Camarillo” airshow. Making for huge crowd excitement was my friend, pilot Jason Somes in his newly acquired MiG-17. Going past the crowd, down on the deck, at speeds I will only confirm were below the sound barrier.
A great test for any camera, photographers were kind of just giving up in frustration trying to get the MiG in the frame at that speed so close and getting a sharp photograph. Well my Fujifilm X-T3 with the Fujifilm 100-400mm F4.5-5.6R LM OIS WR lens did the job.
Shooting this morning for the Palm Springs Air Museum. A flight of ” Bunny” the P-51 Mustang dedicated to the “Red Tails” of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. The actual “Bunny” was flown by Lt. Col. Robert J “Bob” Friend (February 29, 1920 – June 21, 2019).
Photographed with my FujiFilm X-T3 and XF100-400 lens. Pilot Tom Nightingale.
GoPro goes when I can’t go. Two reasons for that here… the P-63 is a one seat airplane, and passengers are not allowed in the races.
This is a rare sight indeed! The Palm Springs Air Museum P-63 Kingcobra “Pretty Polly” flying the pylons at the Reno Air Races 2018. Turn on your sound! When our P-63 is in the air you can be sure it is likely the only P-63 in the air in the world.
Honoring Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Bob Friend (February 29, 1920 – June 21, 2019), our T-33 will appear at the upcoming Reno Air Races. Please join with us in honoring the Colonel and there are some fun perks for helping us out. We do need you! Thanks and click here… https://igg.me/at/PSAMReno2019
I can say something now because the trailer has been released. The HBO series Westworld Season 3. I was there on location with the Palm Springs Air Museum C-47 for the shooting of one of the episodes. Season 3 looks very intriguing!
We have many different aircraft available for productions, commercial and entertainment. Also 100,000 sq ft of aircraft hangars, all air-conditioned. Sponsorship opportunities coming up with us racing at the prestigious Reno Air Races. Even some great perks with our crowdfunding at https://igg.me/at/PSAMReno2019
Any questions just let me know!
Ian L. Sitren
213-712-1929 cellphone & text
That is me. I get to do some really cool stuff. Here with the Palm Springs Air Museum to take off for a multi-aircraft video and photo shoot. My cameras of choice here; Fujifilm X-T3 with a Fujifilm 50-140 2.8 lens. It is on the strongest camera strap made and made for aviation, from Vulture Equipment Works. And a GoPro mounted inside on the left and right canopy rail. (Thanks to fellow photographer Ian Glover for the photo).
Flying for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day with the Palm Springs Air Museum on the C-47 “What’s Up Doc?”. With Marjorie Snell; her husband 101st Airborne Paratrooper Francis “Russell” Snell was there on D-Day at Normandy for the Allied Invasion of Europe, June 6, 1944.
Just some of what I did (shoot some video) on Memorial Day at the Palm Springs Air Museum…
Aircraft start up for the flyover and flower drop, Memorial Day 2019 at the Palm Springs Air Museum. A World War II Mitchell B-25 bomber, F4U Corsair, P-63 Kingcobra “Pretty Polly”, Red Tail P-51 Mustang “Bunny”, PB4Y-2 Privateer and T-33 jet “Shooting Star”.
Come on out for a repeat and much more flying this Memorial Day, Monday May 27th 2019. Thanks!
I will admit that I get to do some awesome stuff. Taking off in the backseat of the T-33 “Shooting Star” jet with the Palm Springs Air Museum. The pilot is my good friend and respected warbird flyer, Michael Pfleger.
Have not been updating my blog here much recently. Will get back to it soon. Been busy flying and photographing and doing lots of video with the Palm Springs Air Museum. Thanks!
Since the introduction of the X-T1, I have been a Fujifilm fan. The smaller physical size and light weight was just what I wanted. And the completely silent mode made it ideal for shooting on motion pictures etc. But I have other needs too and that includes aviation photography.
Many camera systems brag about how their fast operating systems are great by showing you photos taken of kids on skateboards or even race cars going by at 150+ mph. Well for aviation those capabilities don’t cut it. An airplane going by at 250+ mph and changing direction is entirely different. Then push it out to 400mph and well, forget these other systems.
I had skipped over the X-T2, it did not look like it was going to give me what I needed and I still had my Canon camera systems for shooting fast. But the Canons did not give me the ability to shoot video through the viewfinder. That is an absolute necessity. Then came the Fujifilm X-H1 which is a big improvement. And for shooting stills and video with the built in 5 axis stabilization for air to air shooting, the X-H1 is superb. The improved focus speed, bigger buffer and faster viewfinder made the X-H1 work for me.
Now came the announcement of the X-T3 and this looked like it was really going to meet my needs. Much faster autofocus, 30fps, bigger buffer, faster tracking and blackout free continuous shooting. I have been lucky to have known the reps at Fujifilm for a number of years and as soon as an X-T3 was available they offered to send one out to me. They also wanted my opinion of the camera for my aviation needs.
The time came and also there was a new development, the Fujinon XF200mmF2 lens. It also comes equipped with the 1.4 extender. The reps at Fujifilm pointed out that not only was this an optically magnificent lens but it was a fast focusing speed demon. So shortly thereafter I had in my hands both the X-T3 with booster and this XF200F2 lens.
The lens itself looks huge but half that length is lens hood. Certainly a huge hunk of glass up-front but actually not heavy and balances out well with the XT-3 with the booster. Quite readily handheld even when using the 1.4 extender bringing it to 420mm with the sensor 1.5 multiplier. Now off to use it!
At the Palm Springs Air Museum we had just finished restoring a T-33 Shooting Star jet trainer. At the Air Museum, I am photographer, social media manager, content producer for projects and also work in flight operations. Anyway I was really excited to use this Fujifilm system with the first flight of the restored T-33.
Next up was the Palm Springs Air Museum very famous P-51 Mustang “Bunny”. Dedicated to the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, this “Red Tail” has also now twice successfully raced in the prestigious National Championship Air Races at Reno.
So let me cut right to the results… The X-T3 does the job! It keeps up with fast moving aircraft and let’s me shoot 4K video through the viewfinder. Image quality is superb. I would expect nothing less. As for that lens… WOW! There is a quality of the images both video and photos from that lens that I find hard to describe, look closely a few times. Perhaps what I have expected from medium format digital or perhaps cinematic. And fast focusing for sure. From what I can see, yes faster than my other Fujifilm lenses. I fully expected that I was going to say that this lens was just redundant for me, but the image quality and use makes me say otherwise.
I am not going to go into all of the tech features about the body and lens. I am not that much of a tech geek. You can read all about it on the Fujifilm dedicated X-Series website. For me I am more interested in actually using the gear and the results. Most of the time when I get loaner gear, rental gear or even my own new gear, I am putting it into service the next day and seldom if ever get to do more than charge the batteries and go through the menus. I just usually do not have the time.
I will tell you why I have gone Fujifilm. First off is the form factor, smaller and lighter and tough build. Most of you when you fly somewhere are looking for the right roller bags or Pelican type cases. I am often trying to jam what I can in the smallest bag possible to go into the ammo compartment in the wing of a P-51 Mustang. The Fujifilm bodies and lenses are just smaller compared to the competition.
Something else I like is the film situation modes. I was still shooting film for much of my studio work and other projects when others were on the many generations of models numbers down the digital road. I was getting the urge to shoot film again when I remembered these film simulations. Tried it and love it!
Another very big and perhaps the most important to me is customer support and service. Fujifilm is among the best. Other companies who have in the last five years or so just come into the “professional” market still have not gotten away from treating photographers like they are bringing their television in for service. I have known sponsored photographers who have waited months to get their gear back from service. Well we depend on our gear and must depend on the company. And I have been able to put my trust in Fujifilm for that support.
So I guess this is not your typical geek gear report. That is not what I do. I am a photographer and I need gear that works for me. Fujifilm does. Any questions, just send me a note to Ian@SecondFocus.com. And Thanks!
I do not get excited about gear very much but this is really cool. Trying out the new Fujifilm X-T3 body w/booster and the amazing Fujinon XF 200mm F2 lens. Fujifilm calls it “Monster Glass”. However it is much lighter than I expected and easy to handle. It also comes with the 1.4 extender.
This photo was shot with just the lens at 200mm (equivalent to approx 300mm). A Bell 407 helicopter leaving the Palm Springs Air Museum yesterday.
Here is the setup I am using when I am shooting video or not handholding the camera. Balance and salt much improved with the camera strap on the lens. Smart idea! I use a really sturdy strap designed for aviation and other intense applications from Vulture Equipment Works. If you would like to order from Vulture, send me an e-mail and I have a discount code for you. Ian@SecondFocus.com
Really love video shot with the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm lens on the X-H1 body. This is pilot Michael Pfleger arriving in his World War II F4F Wildcat at the Palm Springs Air Museum. And then taking out the T-33 jet trainer for a taxi text run. Recently restored and getting it ready for it’s flying debut on Saturday November 10th for the Air Museum’s 22nd Anniversary and Veterans Day celebration.
Simple videos are such great fun. Here with the Palm Springs Air Museum for the start up of a T-33 jet trainer. Come on out and see her fly November 10th.
Again I am honored to be part of the Palm Springs Air Museum. Here as photographer, content creator, social media manager and even in flight operations at the 55th National Championship Air Races in Reno for 2018. Thanks!
The Palm Springs Air Museum again became the standout at the 55th National Championship Air Races in Reno this September. The most prestigious race in the fastest motorsport in the world saw our Red Tail P-51 Mustang “Bunny” and our P-63 Kingcobra “Pretty Polly” fly around the pylons in front of crowds estimated to be 150,000+. “Bunny” flown by pilot Mark Moodie took a Third Place “on the podium” win in the Silver Unlimited Race with a speed of 333.562, less than one mile per hour away from first place! “Pretty Polly” flown by pilot Jim “JD” Dale made for a crowd favorite in 7th Place in the Silver Unlimited Race with a speed of 307.781. We finished with both aircraft “in the money”!
We were most honored for the second year in a row to be joined by a man who is indeed a very special friend to the Air Museum, 98 year old Tuskegee Airman, Lt. Col. Bob Friend. With us everyday at the Races to meet people and sign autographs, we were most proud to have him start our airplanes and watch as they taxi’d out for the Finals. The honor even extended further as the Colonel joined us on stage for the Awards Dinner to accept our trophies as he was given an extended standing ovation by a hangar filled with 1,000 racers and crew and family and friends. A moment in time that brought many to tears as cameras and cellphones saved the moment for history.
Certainly “Bunny” stole the show in so very many ways. A Red Tail dedicated to the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II and specifically to the aircraft flown by Lt. Col. Bob Friend, many would say she is the most beautiful of all P-51 Mustangs. But we had another very special girl with us, “Pretty Polly”. One of perhaps only four P-63 Kingcobras still flying, it has been forty years since a Kingcobra raced at Reno. Race fans, aviation fans, aviation photographers all greeted the news of “Pretty Polly” at Reno and her arrival and racing with huge enthusiasm and appreciation. Our Race Pit was continually visited by Kingcobra fans who specifically came to see her. Even a fan from Japan came by wearing one of our Air Museum ‘Pretty Polly” shirts! Pilot Jim “JD” Dale was on hand to talk with so very many and they were in luck because “JD” is a tremendously knowledgeable Kingcobra historian and of course one of the very few Kingcobra pilots.
The National Championship Air Races Reno gives the Palm Springs Air Museum the opportunity to bring our message of living history to expanding audiences around the world. Millions of people online will share in our adventure being there. We have endless numbers of people to Thank in getting us to Reno. Mechanics, pilots, the people who loaded the trailers, and so very many volunteers. And of course the individuals and sponsors who donated to funding our being able to make it happen. Everyone has their own reasons for being part of Reno with us. But to a person, it is unselfish and giving, whether through their money or labor. To everyone a huge and heartfelt Thank You! And an excited; see you in Reno for 2019!
Saturday morning, Sept 8th I was en route to the 55th Annual National Championship Air Races in Reno! Flying in a P-51 Mustang along with the Palm Springs Air Museum P-51 Mustang “Bunny” and this P-63 Kingcobra “Pretty Polly”.
Shooting air to air photos and video on A Fujifilm X-H1 camera secured to me with a very solid camera strap from Vulture Equipment. Watch for it! Thanks!