Old 01-23-2015, 12:10 AM   #26
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I refuse to agree to that, Jim; you must agree to agree with me.
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:36 AM   #27
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I just went through 4-5 of Grumpy's most recent posts, starting with the one you linked. "killin' it" ??? Not in my view, looks like he is a very boring aerial wedgie shooter. From what I see of the posts I looked at, he does nothing to take advantage of having a copter. He may be technically precise, his DSLR may offer a different distortion profile, but to what end? I'd much rather see shots of the type seen in this thread, despite the distortion (which is adjustable in post anyway, I would think).

I used to read a lot of Grumpy's stuff, back when he lived in Lincoln. Then, he moved to Lawrence (where I graduated from college) and I sort of wandered away from his blog. I used to write humorous comments to his posts and we would email. I'm a bit surprised he's still at it--didn't he get married? That usually kills off your fun.

All in all I've had some of the same thoughts you do, only perhaps I'm a bit more charitable. I was often left a bit mystified why Grumpy would obsess with minute details of camera gear, but basically shoot the same three shots over and over again. (Every now and then he did step out of his zone and come back with some shots that were pure genius!) I have not seen his latest drone shots, but it appears the only thing that has changed is the altitude. Only Grumpy would put $4,000 worth of camera gear at high risk, just to get a wedgie! I've thought about going this route too, but the Dakota winds are merciless. Whatever I bought wouldn't last long. Anyway, the ability to shoot in a third dimension would open up a lot of creativity, one would think. Like I said, I used to live where Grumpy does, and am familiar with the area. There are some much cooler places to take drone shots than a generic muddy field. I have to say this about Grumpy though. The guy is having fun, and he's been around a long time. He certainly has his fans, which is more than can be said about me I suppose.

I too have rented planes for photography, including foamer photography. I'll give a quick story about the time I hired a helicopter in Hawaii (Kuaii to be specific.) There's a big collapsed volcanic cone there, and I wanted a shot straight down into it. I found a guy who for a thousand bucks or so would take the doors off the helicopter and turn the bird sideways. Way cool! So, my wife and I got on and off we went. It was actually pretty cold up there but we persevered. The copter circled over the cone and then suddenly turned sideways. I quickly started shooting straight down--WOW! My wife was sitting on the same side of the copter as I was--nothing between her and the ground ~3,000 ft. below but her seat belt. I could hear her screams over the roar of the blades!!!! When we got back, the pilot said, "You didn't tell your wife about the sideways shot?" Well no, I sorta forgot. Wife said she had never been so scared out of her wits like that before! The upshot was she said she would NEVER get on another helicopter with me again-EVER! And she hasn't, not even in Iceland.


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Old 01-23-2015, 12:50 PM   #28
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My view is that UAV photography will probably end up being a fad, just like night flash photography. When the first stop-action flash images appeared on RP, everyone ooohed and ahhhed because it was a novelty. Now, they are pretty much passe. Now, with some exceptions, your first thought is: "Oh, now so-and-so is doing the me-too, thermonuclear, night shot." The copter thing has "taken off" because for the vast majority of people, an aerial view of anything, much less a train, is a rare treat. Eventually, the novelty will wear off, with a growing parade of not-terribly-exciting, soft-focus, distorted "sky wedges". Equipment will get better, but in the end, it will join all of the other photographic genres. Many will try it. Few will master it.
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:48 PM   #29
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My view is that UAV photography will probably end up being a fad, just like night flash photography. When the first stop-action flash images appeared on RP, everyone ooohed and ahhhed because it was a novelty. Now, they are pretty much passe. Now, with some exceptions, your first thought is: "Oh, now so-and-so is doing the me-too, thermonuclear, night shot." The copter thing has "taken off" because for the vast majority of people, an aerial view of anything, much less a train, is a rare treat. Eventually, the novelty will wear off, with a growing parade of not-terribly-exciting, soft-focus, distorted "sky wedges". Equipment will get better, but in the end, it will join all of the other photographic genres. Many will try it. Few will master it.
Putting down all aerial photography as a "fad" is rather harsh don't you think Kevin?

I agree there is a certain amount of fad-isum and novelty but that is true of all technological advances. And yes I expect a lot of dross aerial photography to assault our eyes.

On the other hand, I have enjoyed immensely the work of Gary Knapp, Sean Hoyden, Thomas Nanos, Stephen Husser, and Peter Lerro. I am glad they got those tools to do their night work.

I therefore am eagerly looking forward to masterly made photos from angles never before seen in human existence.
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:09 PM   #30
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From what I remember from seeing his copter during the Santa Train, I think it is a Phantom Vision or something along those lines.

Loyd L.
I'm using a homemade drone made with balsa wood, discarded plastic utensils from KFC, duct tape and four miniature gasoline motors with spit valves and miniature turbo chargers. I have an old Kodak 616 with folding bellows hanging below using florist wire.

So far I haven't been able to get it off the ground, but I'm still fine tuning. It's just a matter of time...

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Old 01-23-2015, 06:11 PM   #31
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I'm using a homemade drone made with balsa wood, discarded plastic utensils from KFC, duct tape and four miniature gasoline motors with spit valves and miniature turbo chargers. I have an old Kodak 616 with folding bellows hanging below using florist wire.

So far I haven't been able to get it off the ground, but I'm still fine tuning. It's just a matter of time...

Ron F.
I looked all over for you during the santa train, but I guess you're a good hider..

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Old 01-23-2015, 06:13 PM   #32
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I just went through 4-5 of Grumpy's most recent posts, starting with the one you linked. "killin' it" ??? Not in my view, looks like he is a very boring aerial wedgie shooter.
I would agree. There wasn't much in the way of creative composition there---just a bunch of high altitude shots of BNSF units. Z-z-z-z-z-z

I really like Doyle's shot of the approach to the bridge south of Evansville (that's a former L&N line, I might add). I actually love the wide angle distortion.

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Old 01-23-2015, 06:17 PM   #33
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Hey Dennis,

No, not putting down night flash photography or quad-copter photography, and not sayin' that there aren't some photographers getting some really stunning shots with both techniques. Just sayin' that when each of these "new" forms of photography first debuted, virtually anything shot that way would skyrocket to To24. Now that the tools to do either one are readily available, we're going to see a lot of mundane shots, and the novelty value is going to rapidly wear off. Even our resident RP-critic Janusz appears not to be very impressed with the me-too shots that are bound to result when these things become as ubiquitous as the railfan with the little bitty video cam and a tripod.

I think that the last statement in my post said it all. Once the fad wears off, we're going to start looking critically at these images, and there will be those (such as the folks you mentioned) who will master it, and those who will shoot mundane "flash wedges" or "sky wedges".
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:17 PM   #34
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I looked all over for you during the santa train, but I guess you're a good hider..

Loyd L.
My wife and I only chased it from Speers Ferry over to Frisco this year. I've only got a half million shots of the train from the last 40 years, so it's lost a little of its mystique for me. Still, it's a cool operation to see each year.
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:26 PM   #35
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Until you use a KC-135 for your aerial shots, you're just a child:

Image © Chris Paulhamus
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:41 PM   #36
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Hey Dennis,
...
I think that the last statement in my post said it all. Once the fad wears off, we're going to start looking critically at these images, and there will be those (such as the folks you mentioned) who will master it, and those who will shoot mundane "flash wedges" or "sky wedges".
Pretty much talking past each other. Dennis looks forward to the good stuff enabled by the new technology, Kevin points out that dull stuff is coming also. Both are right.

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Even our resident RP-critic Janusz appears not to be very impressed with the me-too shots that are bound to result when these things become as ubiquitous as the railfan with the little bitty video cam and a tripod.
So true!

Is it too much of an exaggeration to say that Beebe, were he shooting today with his equipment and his mindset, would be known far and wide as Mr. wedgie-to-excess?

What would Beebe do with a go-pro and a copter? I bet he would do some wonderful stuff! Hmm, who would be the modern equivalent, we need someone who is good at photography, offers a bit of flair in his life (trumpet player, maybe?), gets around, knows everyone, but still is as old as the hills, had boots on the ground in the steam era ...

Someone get Ron Flanary set up with this stuff! What can that creaky mind of his conjure up!
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:54 PM   #37
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What would Beebe do with a go-pro and a copter? I bet he would do some wonderful stuff!
I'll bet you're right - wonderful wedgies.

So - what's wrong with a good wedge shot? It's not a bad style, just another style:



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Old 01-23-2015, 07:55 PM   #38
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Until you use a KC-135 for your aerial shots, you're just a child:

Too rich for my blood!
(Though used, seems tempting through B&H)




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Old 01-23-2015, 08:04 PM   #39
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Until you use a KC-135 for your aerial shots, you're just a child:

Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 231017
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus


Actually, I do have some AR shots that I took on roughly a dozen and a half 135 missions that I was fortunate to ride along on back in the late 80s and early 90s. Most of them were night missions, where photography was just not possible, but I do have some daytime images of F-4Ds getting gas off the Jersey Coast. I believe they were from the 108th TFW at McGuire. That's a Guard unit that later converted to tankers. Anyway my experience was that the optics on the side windows weren't all that great, but they were just awesome down in the pod with the visor door up. Been a long time since I had the opportunity. Since the '91 Gulf War, our local unit, the 157th (NHANG) has only been able to accommodate a few ride-along sorties for the CAP. I believe that unit is scheduled to get the KC-46A in a couple of years. Their current birds are just a couple of years younger than me!
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Old 01-23-2015, 08:35 PM   #40
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My wife and I only chased it from Speers Ferry over to Frisco this year. I've only got a half million shots of the train from the last 40 years, so it's lost a little of its mystique for me. Still, it's a cool operation to see each year.

I'm not sure where all I shot it, but I did knock down most of the must have shots that I am familiar with, so who knows if I'll return.. lol

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Old 01-23-2015, 09:02 PM   #41
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I think that the last statement in my post said it all. Once the fad wears off, we're going to start looking critically at these images, and there will be those (such as the folks you mentioned) who will master it, and those who will shoot mundane "flash wedges" or "sky wedges".
I'd take a "sky wedgie" ANY day over a ground level wedgie. To me, an elevated view of a train is the best way to view it (we spend our entire lives looking at model trains that way). I've photographed dozens of trains now with my 25 ft tripod, and shooting from ground level just doesn't look appealing to me any more. Death to the ground level wedgie!!
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:06 PM   #42
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Death to the ground level wedgie!!
Does that apply to hilly terrain?




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Old 01-23-2015, 10:12 PM   #43
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To me, an elevated view of a train is the best way to view it (we spend our entire lives looking at model trains that way).
Because our approach to reality is supposed to mimic our approach to representations of reality? Got something sdrawkcab, Jim?
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:14 PM   #44
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I agree there is a certain amount of fad-isum and novelty but that is true of all technological advances. And yes I expect a lot of dross aerial photography to assault our eyes.

On the other hand, I have enjoyed immensely the work of Gary Knapp, Sean Hoyden, Thomas Nanos, Stephen Husser, and Peter Lerro. I am glad they got those tools to do their night work.

I therefore am eagerly looking forward to masterly made photos from angles never before seen in human existence.

I'm in my ninth year doing night flash shots and still enjoy it over every other kind of foamer photography. I'm constantly trying new ideas.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/96826069@N00/16257987122/

I find it a LOT more challenging than shooting in the daytime (or maybe it's just a lot more work?) I compare daytime foaming to antelope hunting, and night time to duck hunting. (One emphasizes speed and covering a lot of ground; the other is about picking a great spot, setting up the perfect spread, then patiently waiting.) The copter stuff has great potential, but I need to wait until either it gets cheaper or the gear gets more able to withstand crashes. Like I said, the winds where I live are brutal. They've already done hundreds of $$ damage to my lighting gear over the years.

Are copter shots and flash shots a new fad? To some extent yes as there are a number of those who will jump on it and quickly get bored. This has happened with fisheye lenses too. I wouldn't call flash shots a new fad though as it's been around for decades. Everyone knows O.W.L., but there was an even more accomplished photographer than he dating to the early 1930s. His night work remains unsurpassed and his books are still good sellers after 80+ years. Ariel photography seems to have gotten it's start with the great Nadar in 1863, from a specially built manned balloon! Think of it--in 1863 the cameras required you to mix up chemicals on the spot in a dark bag and take the shot before the emulsion dried (wet plate/colloidion), and then process the plate immediately! Tough enough in a studio setting, don't even want to think of doing it in the air. In the early 1900s, when lightweight roll film was available (e.g. B2), people would attach small lightweight cameras to kites, fly them up high, and trip the shutter with a string. I'm not aware of any train shots done this way though. It was a fad at the time, but as we see the idea has never really gone away.


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Old 01-23-2015, 10:24 PM   #45
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Loyd... Jim,

Not sure if you are aware of this, but beyond the Forums on RP, there is another section where you can actually upload pics too!

Go to "members", "add photos", and then "File to upload".

Its that easy!

/Mitch

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Old 01-23-2015, 10:25 PM   #46
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Too rich for my blood!
(Though used, seems tempting through B&H)

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$39M? That's a bargin! They were $54M when I was flying them (at least that's what my performance reports say)!
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:32 PM   #47
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Anyway my experience was that the optics on the side windows weren't all that great, but they were just awesome down in the pod with the visor door up
My shot was taken out the pilot's side window...the issue is more with the SD1000 than anything else! Best seat in the house. Same goes for this one taken by one of my boom operators:
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:59 PM   #48
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Does that apply to hilly terrain?
Of course! Hence the "elevated" part of my post.

Nice shots, man! Too bad for the YN2 leader though.
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:01 AM   #49
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My shot was taken out the pilot's side window...the issue is more with the SD1000 than anything else! Best seat in the house.
No question, the glass on the pointy end is nice, like the glass in the pod. The side windows I was speaking of were in the cargo/passenger section, and those were more like what you get on an airliner. Still, given the age of the airplanes, even at the time (these were re-engined E-models), they were kept in remarkably good condition. There was a lot of pride in the Guard Guys who took care of them.
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:41 AM   #50
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Loyd... Jim,

Not sure if you are aware of this, but beyond the Forums on RP, there is another section where you can actually upload pics too!

Go to "members", "add photos", and then "File to upload".

Its that easy!

/Mitch

PS - here ya go, Jim '
I'm saving the 10 slots for the snow photos I won't get tomorrow.

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