How I got the shot: Vintage airplanes

The Suffolk-based Fighter Factory is in the process of moving some of their vintage aircraft to a new airfield in Virginia Beach. This was an assignment we'd been working on getting for months, trying to get it arranged.

When I took the picture we were banking in formation to land at the new airfield. I was inside a Navy TBM Avenger built in 1945, the same kind of plane George H.W. Bush was shot down in during World War II. The pilot was Navy Cmdr. Ret. Olie O'Brien. I was shooting out of the window at a Navy Vought Corsair FG1-D. The windows are very small on the Avenger, and I was strapped in, which made it difficult for me to move. I could see the picture with my eyes, but had to take it with the camera pointing over my shoulder -- it was a blind shot. One advantage to digital photography, though, is that when shooting blindly you're able to use your LCD screen to preview what you can't see through the viewfinder.

We were coming in for a landing, and these vintage aircraft become a little unstable as they slow down, making it necessary for the pilots to distance themselves from each other. I was able to take the picture as they did this. We were flying through a group of clouds, too, which diffused the sun and made for a nice highlight on the wing.

It's also worth noting that I cleaned the windows before we took off.


Canon Mark II N with a 16mm to 35mm F2.8 lens

Shutter speed of 1/1000


400 ISO