Friday, July 8, 2011

The First Annual Aviation Photography Seminar

We've been talking about this for some time and we finally managed to get most of the pieces together to make it happen.  Next month, on the Saturday before Sinful Sunday, August 13th, 2011, we will host an aviation photography seminar on site at Lee Bottom.
The seminar will be run and taught by our good friend Bob Burns.  It will be held from 9-4 on Saturday and then break for the night.  Those who wish to stay or return for Sinful Sunday, weather permitting, will get to put their newly learned skills to use while having Bob on hand to make suggestions and critiques of their work.
If you've ever had an interest in aviation photography, this is your chance to get some great instruction and have a little fun at the same time.

This seminar is limited to twenty people.  To get your slot, email us at
Cost of the seminar is $100.  If you're into photography, you know that's cheap.

Below is more info on the following:
Bob Burns Bio
Basic Equipment to Bring
Seminar Synopsis

Bob's Bio:
Bob’s interest in Aviation began when he was introduced to flight in a Ford Tri-motor at Hulman Field, Terre Haute, Indiana at the age of 4. He continued this love affair with flying when he joined the Air Force during the Korean War, and began photographing aircraft for his personal enjoyment.

During this time, he acquired his first professional camera in order to capture his love of flying and the beauty of flight through photographs. After his service in the Air Force, he joined the Martin Company, in Baltimore, Maryland working in Flight Test as an Instrumentation Tech. There he continued to enjoy photographing aircraft at various air shows on the East Coast, and gradually began developing his craft. In 1962 he joined NASA and remained in the Space Program until he retired in 1996 as a Senior Systems Engineer.

During the early 70’s, his photographs began to be noticed by some magazine editors, and they requested his photos for various articles, and this lead to more request for photos. Some of the early publications using his photos include Air Classics, Air Combat, International Air Power Review, World Air Power, and Naval Proceedings. The Naval Proceedings assignments included trips to 7 different aircraft carriers, providing the excitement of carrier traps, and catapult shots, and membership in the Tailhook Association.

While with NASA, Bob was never without his camera, even during his world travels. Eventually his journeys totaled close to 2 million miles of travel on various NASA and military aircraft. Some of his more memorable flights were with the Astronauts practicing Space Shuttle landing approaches in the NASA Gulfstream Shuttle Training Aircraft, and in the NASA KC-135 Zero-G aircraft, notoriously nicknamed “The Vomit Comet”, with good reason. In his position as a Space Shuttle Simulations Director, he was in a position to photograph unique events, and many of his photographs went on to become official NASA photographs.

Over the years he has provided photo work for many aviation writers, including Robert Dorr, Richard Hallion, John Tegler, and the late Jeff Ethel to name a few. He also has sold his photographs to publishers like McGraw-Hill for text books.

Bob currently performs as the official photographer for the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma, Tennessee, and as a staff photographer for the annual Indianapolis Air Show, along with occasional assignments for Air-In-Review, Pemberton, New Jersey, and Wings Productions, Severna Park, Maryland. He also has had assignments for the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine, and is currently shooting for Skyways, a vintage aircraft journal. Many of his photographs have graced the cover of the American Aviation Historical Society Journals, United Airlines Retired Pilots Association publications, American Bonanza Society’s (ABS) publication, and the Quiet Birdmen’s BEAM.

Having captured so much history on film, Bob’s conversion to digital, in 2000, did not come easy. Now though, the transition is complete and Bob is ready to teach you what you need to know about aviation photography.

Basic Equipment to Bring:
Attendees should bring their DSLR with several memory cards. Consider a range of lenses to cover 28mm to at least 300mm. A Monopod or tripod for static shooting is optional, but helps in some situations. A flash unit for fill and any interior shots is also useful. In the event of inclement weather, a plastic bag, or water resistant case will protect your equipment.

Those wishing to take full advantage of the Photoshop portion of the seminar should bring a laptop computer. The seminar speaker will be using Photoshop CS5. It is suggested that you have the latest version of Photoshop you are comfortable with, either Elements or CS. Most versions of Photoshop have the main features that will be dealt with for Aviation Photography.

Seminar Synopsis:
The first Lee Bottom Aviation Photo Seminar will provide photographers interested in shooting aircraft the opportunity to observe and learn the techniques used by professional aviation photographers. Bob Burns will share the knowledge he has gained in 50 years of aviation photography.

Topics covered will include; equipment, settings, composition, and the use of Photoshop to bring your photographs to their full potential. Many examples of Bob’s work will be used to highlight, and graphically demonstrate the various types of aviation photography, from static to air-to-air shooting.

Participants will have the opportunity to put into use the techniques covered during the seminar on aircraft visiting Lee Bottom Flying Field. The first Lee Bottom Seminar will be limited to 20 participants, allowing one-on-one time to cover areas of interest in more detail.

The day after the seminar, is Sinful Sunday, and this provides a unique opportunity for the participants to shoot a large variety of Vintage aircraft, in all types of static and action situations. Lee Bottom Flying Field provides a very unusual setting with a large tree covered hill that runs parallel to the 4,000-ft grass runway. This hill often provides the illusion that the photo was taken as an air-to-air picture, with the trees appearing below the aircraft. Aviation photographers will find this feature to be very rewarding.
Note:  This synopsis is subject to slight change for better meeting the needs of photographers in the class

If you know anyone with a passion for photography, please let them know about this unique opportunity.  There are very few places with such great access to aircraft and with Bob's instruction, some great new skills can be learned and put to use immediately.

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