Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Classics of the Sky

On the weekend, Lee, Rob and I headed down to Tauranga for the Classics of the Sky airshow.

The weather forecast wasn’t looking good all week, especially for the main show day on Sunday. None of us really wanted to hang round on Monday if the show was postponed, so we were praying for good weather!

When we arrived on Saturday, this was the weather that greeted us:

Sunday was a different story though. Lots of low cloud and a few showers. The organisers pushed on though and ended up putting on a pretty reasonable show, even with the poor conditions.

The downside was the photography challenge….. pictures like this:

Still, I was happy to snap away and I racked up a fair few pictures over the two days. The moisture around the place gave some great votice effects. Camera settings wise….. I used centre-weighted metering for the single aircraft and evaluative for the formations. On the Saturday I adjusted the exposure by anywhere up to +1 to see what effect this would have on the end result. Sunday though…. I just left it on +1. For the prop aircraft I shot using Tv and played with shutter speeds of 1/200 up to 1/320th.

So, onto the pictures. I’ve grouped them generally by aircraft and they are a mix of Sat & Sun pics. It’s easy to tell which is from which day :). On some of the ones I took on Sunday, I’ve cropped them quite heavily due to the background as the aircraft generally stand out quite weill. A lot of the photos were quite sharp allowing me to blow them up a little bit using Photoshop.

Anyway, enough waffle…

RNZAF (Hercules, Orion, Seasprite, Kiwi Blue):



WW1 Fighters (Sopwith Camel, Nieuport, Fokkers):

These planes are great to watch. When watching (and hearing) the Sopwith Camel, it amazes me to think that guys could fly these into combat with having to control air speed with that blip switch all while trying not to get shot down!


 Roaring ‘40’s – Havard Display Team:

Always fantastic to watch.



My favourite.


Piper Cub:

Fantastic crazy display of the agility of this little aircraft! The wingtip got mighty close to the ground as it bounced around.

Dominie and Boeing Stearman:

Yak-52 Display Team:

This is only the second time we’ve seen these guys and the routine was great to watch. So much so, that I kinda took a few pics of it….

Buzzy bees…

Some locally made Gyroplane. Apparently great to fly, but not sure I’d want to give it a go….

Some of the other aircraft, including the sports aircraft on display (Pitts Special & MX2) and a short top dressing routine:

Tiger Moth:

Another amazing routine.


Only the second time we have seen this guy as well. What a rumble when it takes off. You can really feel it. Impressive to see.

P-51 Mustang:


The Jets (Venom, Strikemaster & Dragonfly):

This was our first time seeing the Dragonfly. Pretty cool, but odd looking plane.

For the jet photography, I tried something different. Having done a bit of reading up on the internet, there were a few suggestions to try shooting jets using Av at f7.1 – 9. So, I had a crack at that on Saturday. The results looked okay, but decided I’d just try going back to Tv on Sunday and up the shutter speed to 1/1250 (upping the Iso as well) to see the difference. Pretty happy with the results (if only the background was a little more exciting……)

Some general shots, including static displays and an Audi doing burnouts:

Finally, some people never learn. Some tit tried to hijack a plane on both days of the show….. luckily the Police AOS and dog squad were already there ready and waiting for this very thing…… :)

I also decided to have a crack adjusting some layers, but masking part of a photo to only adjust part of the image. This was mainly to try and continue building my knowledge of Photoshop. It’s far too much work! Still, although I don’t think it looks quite right, I’m pretty happy with the overall result with the adjustments.

So, overall. A pretty good show and we did enjoy it. The location and set-up was good. Weather wasn’t. Will we go back? Yeap, we’ll be there at the next one in 2016. Hope you enjoyed the pics.

Oh and the Sigma lens is awesome. I am very happy with the results. A very worthwhile purchase.