Star Spangled DC-3

I'm going to try something new here today. I have generally kept my Mental Notes separated from my photography. Not for any particular reason, it just sort of happened that way. Oh, I have a link and slide show widget in the sidebar pointing Mental Note readers to my online Photography Gallery & Picture Shop, and occasionally I have used some of my images to illustrate a blog post, but never before have I used this venue to write about my photography directly.

But lately I've been looking for ways to drive more viewers (OK, let's be honest, I really mean potential customers) to my online gallery. I've been looking to expand my social media presence, and may do that very soon, but it occurred to me that I already have a built-in audience of 3 or 4 regular Mental Note readers and an unknown number of irregular ones, so this seems like as good a place as any to showcase my images and tell the stories behind them. It's strange that I hadn't thought of it sooner.

So from time to time, when the mood strikes me, I'll share a picture accompanied by a few relevant words. Let's start with the story of the Star Spangled DC-3.

Star Spangled DC3

This was the first airplane I ever photographed, at least in a serious fashion. It was in the spring of 1978 during the final weeks of my senior year in high school. My mother had recently given me my first SLR, an Olympus OM-1, as an early graduation present.

I was attending a boarding school in the mountains of Lake County in California. Our school cook, Chick, was also a seasoned pilot, and one Spring afternoon he took me and my buddy John flying out of Lakeport. We had hoped to fly over the campus and get some aerial photos, but it was a bit stormy that day and the ceiling was too low to safely fly over the mountains. So instead we just flew over Clear Lake. The flight was rather bouncy, and after one go-around I'd had enough, as had the cook's wife, so we got out and let Chick and John go around a few more times without us.

A pair of DC-3s were parked at the edge of the field, so I took my camera over to check them out. One was missing its engines, but this one was intact. I walked all around it and photographed it from every angle. This shot is still my favorite. The angle was partly inspired by a scene near the beginning of the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind wherein a WWII TBM Avenger engine is photographed at a low angle as it was started up.

I shot this photograph on Agfachrome slide film mainly because, unlike other brands, the price included processing. All I needed to do was pop the film into the included mailer and drop it in the mail. It was by far the easiest way to get film developed while living far from the nearest drugstore. Although it has been in storage for the last 40 years the color has held up remarkably well, but compared to the Kodachrome slides in my collection it had quite a few blemishes which required several hours of digital clean-up work.

Prints of this photograph (framed or unframed) are available by clicking on the image above or by clicking here. If you don't have room on your walls, the image can also be printed on customizable greeting cards, handy tote bags, soft fleece blankets, decorative pillows, and round beach towels. If you or anyone you know likes historic aircraft or patriotic imagery, any of these products would make a great gift. Every purchase includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. Finally, please note that the "Fine Art America" watermark will not appear on your prints or other products.

If you'd like to purchase a digital download with publication rights please visit Pixels Licensing.


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