August 2018

August 3, 2018

Capture Stunning Chicago Air & Water Show Photos

Aeroshell_Dennis_Biela.jpgLooking to capture stunning images of the 60th Chicago Air & Water Show? Then register for Helix Camera's Tips & Techniques for Taking Great Aviation Photos event hosted by Aviation Photographer Dennis Biela.

Biela says it doesn't matter what type of camera you have as long as you know the limitations of that camera and take photos that suite the camera's capabilities. For instance, if you are using a phone or a camera with the limited range he suggests "Watch the smoke trails written in the sky. Focus on the interest beyond the little dot in the sky." A perfect act for this is Team Aeroshell, flying four T-6 Texans, that throw down a lot of smoke. Dennis suggests capturing shots of them performing loops and using the smoke trails to drive interest.

Biela points out that a propeller driven plane with a still prop looks weird. Be sure to play with shutter speeds of 1/25th to 1/60th to capture some prop blur. Also, consider panning rather with the aircraft to capture some blur in the background.

He suggests finding your way to show center to increase your odds of getting a great shot. For the Chicago Air & Water Show that is North Avenue Beach. It offers a great spot to capture the action but can be overcrowded. Another great option is to get up high in a skyscraper to capture a unique view. Check out our Chicago Air & Water Show viewing guide for some additional suggestions.

You can get more tips by attending the Helix Class on Wednesday, August 15th, the class costs $39. The timing of the class is perfect as performers begin arriving on Thursday and will be flying over Chicago on Thursday and Friday practicing for weekend event.

Dennis has been photographing airplanes for most of his career. His father made him a deal in High School that he would fund any flying lessons his son wanted if he agreed to wait until after graduation to drive, sounds like a great deal to me. He went on to earn his license and has ratings in gliders and hot air balloons. His work has been published in Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine and EAA's Sport Aviation. He embedded with the Blue Angels a few years back and is finalizing a book comprised of photos from this experience. Check Dennis Biela out on Instagram to see some of his great work!

August 1, 2018

Sean D. Tucker's Last Solo Appearance in Chicago

oracle1.jpgIf you needed another reason to attend the 60th Annual Chicago Air & Water Show we have a bittersweet one for you. Sean D. Tucker, considered by many to be the best stunt pilot, will be making his final Chicago Air & Water Show appearances as a solo performer at this year's show.

Tucker told KSBW 8 reporter Felix Cortez "I'm retiring as an extreme hard-charging hair on fire solo aerobatic pilot". He will wow the Chicago Air Show Attendees with his thrilling performance in his Oracle Challenger III, an airplane that is now slated to go on display in the Smithsonian's We All Fly exhibit opening in 2021.

Although we will miss seeing his dazzling solo performances we were relieved to hear he will still be flying in the airshow circuits but instead in group performances with other pilots. He said "I want to start doing a baller in the sky with other airplanes. I want to dance the waltz and make it exciting." That was good news to use his joy of aviation is contagious.

He has performed over 1,300 performances and surely inspired generations of pilots through those flights. After he performs at the Chicago Air and Water Show he makes his way to show center where he can often be found shaking hands with fans of all ages.

I have met him several times and cannot think of a better aviation ambassador than Sean D. Tucker. Don't miss your last chance to see Sean D. Tucker fly the Oracle Challenger 3 in Chicago. Check out our Ultimate Guide to the Chicago Air and Water Show for more information on the show.

Sean D Tucker