Man Bites Dog

on May 08, 2018
At airfield, with onions. I was out at Jandakot aerodrome testing the Fujinon XC50-230mm 1:4.5-6.7 OIS II lens for this column and turned around and there he was - our friend Mark - consummate wedding and aerial photographer of Mark Wagenaar Photography ( go look up his website and admire the pictures...). Not on assignment - at lunch. I know it's mean to pester our customers while they are on break, but the lens was on the camera and my finger was on the shutter button.* He's been a pilot himself, so he could form some professional opinions about the student take-offs and landings that were constantly going on. We both agreed that the Jandakot authorities have done a wise thing in making an observation park with a refreshment café in the center of the action - people are naturally curious about airport activities and this gives them a safe and comfortable way to look on - and keeps them out of places on the airfield that they should not be. I like it because it's close to home and lets me test the longer lenses and cameras with superzooms. At the normal time of day that I get there the sun is behind me and illuminating the place evenly. Depending upon wind direction the flyers move from left or right but you can be sure on a fine morning that there will be plenty of action all the time. If you are watching takeoffs it is easier to predict the exact moment when the aircraft unsticks - landings need more observation powers. Surprisingly, modern reciprocation aero engines and small propellers can be very quiet, so you can't depend on engine sound to clue you into the landing. I suppose that is not the opinion of some of the residents in new suburbs around the airport...but Mark and I agreed that the close proximity of Jandakot RFDS base and Fiona Stanley and SJOG Murdoch hospitals is a very good thing. I'm under the landing flight path for the RFDS planes at my house and I don't begrudge them their operations. When one of the big turboprop birds whistles in late at night you know there's a darned good reason that they are making that landing. Aside: I want the engine off the RFDS plane for my Suzuki Swift. I'm prepared to put up with the neighbour's complaints when I pull out of the carport... On a technical sell-you-a-lens note, look at how well the supposedly light-duty Fujinon lens did on the Fujifilm X-E2 body. The only limitations were the heat wobble rising around some of the light planes from the hot tarmac or the atmospheric haze between me and the QANTAS noon flight coming in. And that yielded to " dehaze " in Lightroom. More on this optic topic tomorrow. * And I did tell him he would be the star of the column today.