Urban Landscape Design
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Shooting Without A Tripod for a Change

It's been a very long time since I've taken a day off and it was starting to affect my moods and demeanor.  Between my architectural photography business and ongoing home renovations, my lovely wife Deb pulled me back to life yesterday insisting that I accompany her to the Chicago lakefront to watch (i.e. photograph) the Annual Chicago Air Show. 

I guess I wasn't quite far enough down the hole to recognize that a day out of the office would be good for me.  Besides, I always loved the air shows as it reminded me of my four and half years serving in the U.S. Air Force.

As I gathered my equipment while prepping to leave the house, I realized how different this day would be without the use of a tripod to capture the action in the skies above the lakefront.  Hand holding a 70-200 mm lens with a 1.4 converter would honestly be challenging for me.  I am so accustomed to aperture settings of f/10 - f/16 and shutter speeds from .5 sec. to 30 sec. or more with multiple exposures, almost always requiring the use of a sturdy tripod.

Upon arrival at our selected beach spot, I took out the camera and was immediately confronted with an array of embarrassing choices I rarely face.  How to capture these fast moving aircraft? After all, I'm accustomed to capturing rooms, buildings, and landscapes that always held perfectly still and fully cooperated with my photography method?

Auto focus or Manual focus?

Auto exposure or manual exposure settings?

Image stabilizer mode 1 or 2?

Aperture priority or shutter priority?

These choices may sound obvious to many professional photographers but shooting so often with a proven set of camera and lens parameters over the last seventeen years actually made some of these questions significant.  I sorely realized that I'd fallen into a professional rut and some of my photography skills had atrophied since opening my business so many years ago.  As always, it was a matter of carefully thinking it thorough albeit much slower than I was accustomed.

I found this realization to be a great lesson in personal development.  It was actually humbling to realize that there can be wake-up calls to even the most seasoned photographers.  And better to realize this now than on the job with a client present.

However, lesson learned, here are a few shots captured at the Air Show.  BTW, I'm not showing a few shots taken before I completely figured out the best parameters for shooting! 

Chicago Air Show 2019
Aerial Stunts were such fun to capture
Spectacular Stunts at the Chicago Air Show
Amazing skill on display
Spectacular Air Force Demonstrations
Beautiful setting for an air-show along Lake Michigan
The Blue Angels
Blue Angels in formation
The Blue Angels in Formation
Always a great show when the Blue Angels are in Town

See more at www.crewsphotography.com.