While it was still raining all around Southern California, here in Palm Springs it was clear and windy. Fujifilm X-H1 camera and XF100-400mm lens. Sheltering in place.
The other day after the rains. The view of the mountains through the Palm Trees here in Palm Springs. Fujifilm X-H1 camera and XF100-400mm lens. Sheltering in place.
Airliner overhead at 38,000 ft. Fujifilm X-H1 camera and XF100-400mm lens. Sheltering in place.
Sheltering in place with a Hummingbird. Photographed with a Fujifilm X-H1 camera and XF100-400mm lens.
The interior of this hangar is a work of art. Reminds me of the complex mathematically inspired lithographs by Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher (June 17 1898 – March 27 1972).
This is at the Barstow-Daggett Airport originally built in 1933. During World War II it became home for A-20 Havoc bombers and P-38 Lightnings. Eventually taken over by the Fourth Air Force tasked as air defense for the Western United States. Now maintained by the County of San Bernardino.
From a recent photo excursion and photographed on a Fujifilm X-H1 camera with the Fujifilm XF16-55mm f2.8 lens.
Air Force One arriving in Palm Springs California at 10:30am this morning (Wednesday February 19, 2020). Fujifilm X-H1 camera and Fujifilm XF 50-140mm F2.8 lens.
Had a friend happen to stop by to watch the Super Bowl just now. Probably has a keen eye for it!
Fujifilm X-H1 camera body with the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 lens.
Quality counts more and more. We went through a decade or longer being bombarded with bad photos and video in ads, features and social media. A few of the photographs I shoot for the Palm Springs Air Museum. Camera was my Fujifilm X-H1 with the Fujifilm XF 8-16mm f/2.8 lens. These are also used for print advertising. Thanks!
Much fun this weekend with the Cobra attack helicopter flying riders at the Palm Springs Air Museum. From the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation. And yes I have flown in it too. An outstanding experience!
Opportunities to be present with such great people are always not to be missed. At the Palm Springs Air Museum yesterday to photograph and video Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Harry Stewart. By the way, he is 95 years old. Here is a very fun minute…
How do you solve one of the unforeseen problems of enduring a 6 1/2 hour mission in a fighter aircraft? You might never have thought of this! Explained by Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Harry Stewart.
Yesterday at the Palm Springs Air Museum for the West Coast World premier of the Colonel’s book “Soaring to Glory: A Tuskegee Airman’s Firsthand Account of WWII”, along with author Philip Handleman.
The Colonel flew forty-three combat missions as a Tuskegee Airman in World War II. For his flying prowess with the famed 332nd Fighter Group, known as the Red Tails, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
It was a standing room only event and his book was a sell out!
They fly these huge cargo aircraft like a jet fighter! Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at the Hangar 24 AirFest this past weekend. I would love to fly in one of these! Shot on my Fujifilm X-H1 with the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 lens.
The Douglas Ta-4J Skyhawk at the Hangar 24 AirFest this past weekend. The A-4 Skyhawk was built from 1954 – 1979. I somewhat recall as a kid I had a Revell plastic model of this aircraft. Now I get to hang around the real ones. Shot on my Fujifilm X-H1 with the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 lens.
Almost at it’s maximum the other night for a total Lunar Eclipse and as advertised “blood red” color. Sky conditions still had some cloudy haze. Photographed with a Fujifilm X-H1 camera and Fujifilm 100-400mm lens. On an Induro tripod with a FOBA ball head.
Red Bull Sports likes the photo too. Funny thing, I didn’t know it was a sport…
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!
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.
August 19th is National Aviation Day in celebration of the development of aviation. We celebrated with a “Flight OF Two” on August 19th returning from the Wings Over Camarillo Air Show. Aircraft that were pivotal in the history of aviation. Flying in our own World War II C-47 “What’s Up Doc?” and across from us, the CAF Inland Empire C-53 “D-Day Doll”. Take a minute to watch and listen and enjoy some the experience of flying in these amazing 75 year old Warbirds.
The holiday was established in 1939 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt with the Presidential Proclamation designating the anniversary of Orville Wright’s birthday to be National Aviation Day. Orville Wright, born in 1871, was still alive when the proclamation was first issued.
Just some thoughts on air to air photography. Flying with the Palm Springs Air Museum, we were doing July 4th celebration flyovers. Alongside the T-28 Trojan, I was in the backseat of the Red Tail P-51 Mustang “Bunny”. The Mustang is at best, somewhat short on room in the back. There is also a curvature to the canopy that lends itself to a lot of distortion. My choice of gear here made it all work out easier.
I was shooting the latest Fujifilm mirrorless camera, the X-H1 and the Fujifilm XF50-140 lens. The 5-axis in-body stabilization works in conjunction with the lens stabilization, perfect for this kind of shooting. It is also physically smaller and lighter than a full size DSLR which in tight quarters or pulling a couple of g’s makes a huge difference.
This time out I also especially appreciated my camera strap choice. From Vulture Equipment Works especially made for aviation use. A tougher strap does not exist. It is designed with carabiners connecting the strap to the camera. The ability to easily disconnect them helped in easily getting the strap out of the way of my headset cable. When you are getting in, you are buckling up your parachute, shoulder harness and seat belt, camera and headset, so wanting to change how you set things up from when you got in does happen.
At the same time, I was also running two GoPro’s. Each mounted inside to my left and right, pointed 45 degrees front. Got some great video I will show you later.
Anyway just thought I would share. It was great fun! Thanks!
Truly outstanding… The Fujifilm X-H1! I am really liking this camera the more I shoot it. Image quality is incredible, viewfinder is breathtaking! It does it all. I use it with a very serious camera strap from Vulture Equipment Works. I don’t get the idea of using those pretty straps unless you are shooting babies and weddings. Just not for me. I like my gear tough!
Yesterday I was shooting something simple enough but in not great lighting. Behind the scenes at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Michael Ripley was “Air Cav” and flew AH-1 Cobra helicopters 50 years ago in Vietnam. Here being interviewed by Dominik Radwanska from DIGICOM Learning. DIGICOM teaches teachers and here he was showing elementary and middle school teachers how to make movies with simple equipment. Skills that they then take back to their classrooms in the Fall.
Next I was off to the BMW Performance Center at the Thermal Club. An incredible facility where you learn and drive the “Ultimate Driving Machines”, high performance BMW’s. We drove various models all out on three different tracks and I had the chance to do some quick shots as our instructor Christopher Hill took some students on a very exciting run around a track. As Chris said; “If the tires aren’t squealing you are not going fast enough”. I did make them squeal myself and then some! The X-H1 camera did not squeal and handled it all!
I really enjoy bringing the Palm Springs Air Museum to so very many people around the globe and here more locally. CNN named it as one of the Best Air Museums In The World. So please come visit and also just follow along!
And a secret, don’t tell anyone… I am having a lot of fun! This is me in the backseat of the Air Museum’s P-51 Mustang “Bunny” taking off from March Air Field on Sunday. Our Museum visitors get to fly too! It is Living History whether in the backseat of “Bunny” or in our WWII Paratrooper C-47 “What’s Up Doc?”, watching our weekly flight demonstrations, sitting in the pilot’s seat for “Open Cockpit”, or touring inside our giant four engine B-17 “Flying Fortress”. It is a first hand experience, always exciting. Thanks!
This video was shot on the new Fujifim X-H1 camera body and the Fujifilm XF18-135 lens. Even better, kept on me with a beast of a camera strap made for aviation by Vulture Equipment Works. That is what you don’t leave home without!