I attended the annual Wings Over Houston airshow last Saturday and probably should have just stayed at home. I had only a couple of hours sleep and my back was killing me. Ellington Field is big enough where just walking from the entrance to the back of the crowds was several hundred yards. By the time I found a spot, I was not just exhausted, but in a lot of pain. Oh well, time to suck it up. Houston has only one airshow a year. And they gouge you for it pretty good too.
I decided to leave my old 10.1 mp EOS XS DSLR at home and instead took my 24.3 mp Sony NEX 7. At least the NEX has a viewfinder, so I wouldn't have to deal with reflections and all, looking at the display. Well, in retrospect, I think I would have been better off taking my old Canon and leaving the NEX. It was extremely bright last Saturday and the brilliant sun overloaded my NEX's ability to keep up with its digital viewfinder's display. I don't have a long zoom for that camera, so I packed one of my favorite manual focus zooms instead -- a Tokina AT-X 100-300mm f/4, a very sharp zoom. Well, I was dependent on the NEX's focus peaking utility to tell me when a subject was in focus. This normally works pretty well, but it was so bright last Saturday, that the best I could make out was a slight yellow glow around an airplane (focus peaking shows in yellow) as it whizzed by. So I was guessing this would be good enough.
I was shooting with the lens stopped down usually to f/16 or f/11 because I wanted to get the shutter speeds low enough -- 1/250 or slower -- that I would get some convincing prop blur. Usually this isn't a problem for me. But combine the difficulty I was having with focusing and just my general fatigue, and very few of my images were salvageable. I think I wound up with maybe 25 or 30 keepers. Compare that with the first time I took my Canon DSLR to an airshow, where I took over 800!
So anyway, here are some of the better shots I managed. The Thunderbirds were the feature act, but I didn't get a single keeper from their show. I was so dead tired by then I was barely able to see straight.
This B-17 is at the show every year. I have much better shots of it than this one:
This B-25 is also a regular. This pic is halfway decent, at least:
An A-1 Skyraider:
Couple a helicopters:
And some jets:
Better luck next year.