This week’s post is about aviation. A couple of weeks ago, I attended the “Buchan Fly In” at Englewood, Florida. I had been to this event about three years ago so I thought it was time to see what they were up to this year. The airport is basically a grass field along some homes, no tower, no controller, just you and the grass. This is a great event to get up close and see some old vintage aircraft as well as some home built planes. Since our family has been involved with aviation for quite some time (we used to live at the soaring capital of the world – Elmira, New York) I always get excited when I get a chance to see some aircraft. As with all of my adventures, it wasn’t without a few laughs. Strap in and here we go.

First off, I think radial engines are sexy. (It’s amazing my wife agreed to marry me!) All of that raw power with such a beautiful sound. This engine was on an old biplane that was for sale. You know what they say, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. It was coming up on noon and the light was really harsh. So me being me, I decided to bracket this scene and see what would happen. I wanted to get the lighter yellow color and also get all of the detail that was buried back in behind the cylinders of the engine. I set my camera to aperture priority at f/5.6 to blur some of the background. My Nikon will bracket nine frames, one stop apart. For subjects like this, that setting works just fine. This was handheld and shot on continuous. I am a fan of exposure fusion, NOT tone mapping. Exposure fusion takes the best parts of the photos and blends them together without the garish results that tone mapping will give you if you aren’t careful.

 buchan fly in englewood florida radial engine spencer pullenBeautiful Horsepower – Spencer Pullen © 2012

This was one of those moments. I saw this unfolding and I just started cracking up. The fellow in the golf cart has the sign “Follow Me”, but he stopped and asked a fellow worker for directions, who is on the cell phone trying to locate the directions. Like I said, you have to be ready to shot whenever the situation arises. I’m not wrapped to tight so what can I tell you.

 buchan fly in englewood florida follow me spencer pullen“Follow Me” to the bridge to nowhere – Spencer Pullen © 2012

I also like shooting detail photos when I go to these kinds of events. I also was wondering how much these gauges must have cost. My first shot was too dark. I exposed for the highlights in the scene, but the shadow area as gone. This is where I employed my flash. I dialed the flash power down to help accent the ambient lighting that was already there.

 buchan fly in englewood florida gages spencer pullenWhere’s the button labeled “Start”? – Spencer Pullen © 2012

This is another one of those humorous shots if you ask me. I was so engrossed in throwing light in where the rudder pedals were, I missed the gem of this photograph until I got home and was working on it. Now, would you jump into an airplane that had a ratty piece of paper that was held on with some scotch tape that was labeled “ENGINE FAILURE”? Who is doing the maintenance on these things, Larry the Cable Guy? I really like the second item, “Choose Landing Site”! Really? I just thought I would land this in my backyard. After a day of people complaining about this and that, I just laughed my rear end off when I saw this photo.

 buchan fly in englewood florida engine failure spencer pullenThere’s more to ENGINE FAILURE than meets the eye. – Spencer Pullen © 2012

I saw the headphones on the side of the cockpit and thought this would make a great detail photo. Again, I dialed my flash power down to help mix it in with the ambient light.

 buchan fly in englewood florida headphones spencer pullenGot your ears on? – Spencer Pullen © 2012

I really liked how the paint is worn and you can see the detail in the hinge that is holding the rudder in place. I’m not sure if this is FAA approved, but it has character.

 buchan fly in englewood florida hinged rudder spencer pullenDon’t come unhinged on me. – Spencer Pullen © 2012

Lastly, there was a fellow with a sporty looking biplane. The radial engine and spinner is what caught my eye. In this case the spinner was chrome. Chrome means reflections. Since the lighting was harsh, I used my flash to light the engine and you can see Numbnuts in the photo with the flash going off. If you have one of those gazing balls in your garden, you can do the same thing.

 buchan fly in englewood florida chrome spinner spencer pullenSelf portrait of Numbnuts – Spencer Pullen © 2012

That’s it for this week, short and sweet. As always, it was fun and a few laughs were shared with some of my shooting buddies. Sometimes the best shot has nothing to do with the event itself. The next time you see a golf cart with a “Follow Me” sign, check and see if the passenger is holding a cell phone!

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean


  1. Wow Spencer that last shot is amazing I love it!! How are you Pop and the girls? they are all great as usual but that one really caught my attention..
    take care sue baker

  2. I always enjoy reading what you post. I also like the little sayings under the pictures.

  3. Great exposure and detail in all your shots. I enjoy reading the posts and the opportunity to go out and try your techniques. Thanks for getting technical. Carol E.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *