AVGeek - Back to Where it Started

Posted on Tue 07 November 2023 in Photography

My first full frame mirrorless camera purchase was made 4-5 years ago - a Sony a7R ii. I bought this camera because I decided I was going to be a storm chaser and I needed some good gear to really document all of the tornadoes I see. Turns out that's not entirely true because you first need to learn how to see tornadoes in order to take good pictures of them. You don't just buy a camera and become a photographer because you have the camera. Anywaaaaay... so when there were not storms to chase I wanted to work in improving my skill as a photographer, and I liked airplanes. So, I started taking pictures of airplane photos.

one of my first airplane photos. one of the first airplane pictures i ever posted, a delta 747 on it's farewell tour landing at msp

Personally, I wasn't super interested in trying to see every aircraft that landed at MSP. The "heavies" or simply put, larger airplanes are the ones that really captured my attention. I would try to make it out to see every heavy that was unusual for MSP that I could. I've taken a lot of photos of Antonov planes, although I never saw the 225 before Russia destroyed it in their warmongering. I'm not going to post all of those pictures here, but some were decent, some were not. I also have been lucky enough to photograph Air Force One and Air Force Two multiple times at our airport.

one of my first airplane photos. one of my first Air Force One Photographs

The more cool planes I saw, the more picky I got and the less that I wanted to go out and photograph airplanes. Then Covid came and the heavies stopped coming in as much as the world came to a halt. Disappointing, but that's okay, I'd still make it out when something really cool like Air Force One was coming in. Then, one day when President Trump was coming to Minneapolis, the Secret Service kicked all of the photographers out of the spot that we've taken plane pictures from so many times in the past. That was the nail in the coffin for me - I lost my passion for AVGeek Photography.

Well, the last two days have been different. I was browsing FB and saw a post saying that President Biden would be visiting on Wednesday, and Vice President Harris would be refueling here Thursday night. It's been a long time, so what the heck? I'll go out and take some pictures. I've learned so much about photography and made quite substantial upgrades to my kit since last time I took an airplane photo.

Sitting in the parking ramp at the MSP airport gave me that feeling I used to get again. That feeling of anticipation and anxiety while waiting for the arrival of the most powerful person in the world. The fear that I was going to get kicked out and miss my chance to take a picture. The worry that even if I didn't get kicked out I wouldn't remember how to take airplane photos. Turns out, I didn't get kicked out, but the second part was actually not wrong. I didn't take my best photos of Air Force One because I forgot the right spot to go in the ramp, and I used the wrong lens for the job. Don't get me wrong, I think they're good pictures, but they're not my best. The day was not particularly inspiring either. There was a very severe lack of light and the sky was a very dull gray. It doesn't mean that my subject was any less interesting, just that I couldn't do my best work.

President Biden departing for Northfield in Marine One President Biden departing for Northfield in Marine One

Anyway, it's been a bit since I started writing this and then had to leave to photograph some owls at the last minute. I think I'm going to end this one here and pick it up a little bit later in a different post. I had a lot more success photographing Air Force Two than I did Air Force One, and when I am in the right headspace for aviation blogging I will write about it. Right now owls are on my mind. That's where I need to be for the winter. I will write about that this week. Or I won't, because I have some plans to leave and photograph owls! We shall see.