Smoky Mountains Earn Their Name

For my flight out of Knoxville on May 27th, the Smoky Mountains definitely lived up to their name. Many of my flights this spring have been delayed because of weather, but Brian, my pilot, and I thought we had gotten lucky with the forecast improving leading up to our flight. Before it was over, though, we flew around rain, through rain, and upon our return diverted from Downtown Island Airport only three miles out because a downpour we had been racing to our destination won the race. Even where it wasn't actively raining, the air over the mountains held so much moisture that the haze did look very much like smoke.  

A Morning at the Great Tennessee Air Show

Aerial photography has gotten me more interested in all things aerial, especially the aircrafts themselves, reviving and interest that goes back to childhood. Way back to my elementary school days I can remember going to the library and looking at books of cool fighter jets, and my older brother was a career Air Force flier, starting out in the F4 Phantom. So yesterday I made a short trek to Smyrna, Tennessee, just outside Nashville, for the Great Tennessee Air Show. I primarily wanted close access to planes I don't normally see, whether vintage or cutting edge technology. I knew there would be crowds of people around, so angles looking up to isolate the aircraft are what I had in mind. I wanted to make a few of those against a wonderfully ominous and stormy sky before the clouds opened up, but was disappointed in the low number of planes there on display. As I was walking back to the car, because I could tell a downpour was only minutes away, a small (compared to the ones in the desert west) airplane graveyard on the other side of the parking area called to me. I had photographed these planes before, from the air (third image below) but had not been close to them previously at ground level. I had these planes all to myself. After shooting, as I made my way back to the car through the first raindrops, I was reminded of two things. First, how utterly different scenes and the scale of subjects looks from the air and from the ground. And secondly, that when you go out to shoot you might not get at all what you were after, but if you're open to other possibilities they are often presented to you and your efforts can be greatly rewarded!   

 Detail, Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota.

Detail, Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota.

 Detail, Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker

Detail, Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker

 Relics, Smyrna Airport

Relics, Smyrna Airport

Gratuitous Beauty

I was treated to a spectacular light show on my return drive from a recent Knoxville flight. I enjoy the long drives made necessary by some of my flights, especially the early morning ones, and always try to allow extra time to stop and make pictures, although, admittedly, some are taken quickly while behind the wheel. This one was made at a rest area before the last light faded.

Same Place, Different Day

Some of my aerial work affords me the opportunity to photograph the same locations from month to month and observe seasonal changes. This location is in the very western tip of Virginia where it narrows to a point between Tennessee and Kentucky. The state line runs along the exact ridge in this location, looking west, with Virginia on the left and Kentucky on the right.

 December 2015

December 2015

 January 2016

January 2016

 April 2016

April 2016