Alaska, aviation, biplane, Stearman, aviation photography
Boeing Stearman in a ground to air photography session flying over Lake Hood/PALH during the Alaska Aviation Museum’s Aviation Festival on July 17, 2016. Photo by Rob Stapleton/Alaskafoto

The natural function of the wing is to soar upwards and carry that which is heavy up to the place where dwells the race of gods. More than any other thing that pertains to the body it partakes of the nature of the divine.— Plato

The man has always desired to fly.

It has always been one of those things which capture the desire of man. The sight of a bird in flight invoked the feeling of envy in their heart. They tried to tread upon this domain of the gods throughout history and failed. From the times of Icarus, mankind strives to find its wings and soar to the heavens. Finally, on December 17th, 1903 mankind was able to break the bounds of this domain which until now was forbidden to them. Mankind has not looked back since that day.

Airplanes are the ships through which we have conquered the skies. As such an airplane, no matter how large or small, commands a certain dignity and awe. The sight of an airplane rouses the primordial desire in us to fly and still has an air of divinity. There are people who admire with passion capturing images of aircraft in all their resplendent glory.

Aircraft photography is one of the many budding photography fields. Aircraft photography is tricky business. One needs to be careful of the angles, the light and the background to do justice to what one is trying to capture. Aircraft portraits are especially popular. But it’s a pretty complex task. an ideal airplane photographer is especially careful about the angles. Most aircraft are grand structures that require some clever positioning to capture the full body of the aircraft.

The easiest time for an aviation photographer to take pictures is when they are stationary at the airport. But aircraft are something which is not in their element when they are stationary. The best aircraft photographs are those which capture the airplanes while they are in flight or are just being airborne or landing. Images in these stages of flight are trickier still. The airplane photographer needs to be aware of the direction of the landing or flight beforehand to set up his camera.

But it doesn’t stop here. Timing is the key in such instances. A single second can be the difference between an amazing and an ordinary photograph. The shutter speed and aperture need to be set very accurately to capture the best aircraft photography.  This gives us an idea of how difficult it is to truly capture these machines in their element.

If you are interested in aircraft photography and want to see some great aircraft portraits, come back to