Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Seafire PR503

This airplane flew last week, following a 40+ year restoration by at least three owners. It probably will be the warbird sensation of the Oshkosh airshow later this month, when it makes its public debut.

I wish that the picture were better. It was taken around 2000 near Minneapolis with one of the plane's previous owners. I was in town on a business trip relating to a corporate acquisition. I was not expecting to have spare time to see old airplanes or other sights, so I didn't bring a camera. One day the deal cratered (as corporate law jocks like to say when a sale is abandoned) and we all found ourselves with a free afternoon. The museum that owned the Seafire was closed that day, but I called and talked someone there into letting me in. I bought some disposable cameras at a drug store on the way there, and did what I could with them. In the ill-lit hangars, that wasn't much, and I came away with no photos of some pretty neat planes, including a Lockheed P-38 that was about to be sent to Duluth for static display that I'll probably never see again. The Seafire was in an open restoration hangar and I was at least able to get some poor pics. That was about the last time I went on any trip without a decent camera.

An old-time photojournalist -- nobody is sure who -- when asked how to get good news pictures, said "f/8 and be there." "F/8" is just a typical lens setting; the point is that a lot of photography is just about being in the place where something happens, whether it is a war or a sunset, with a camera at the ready.