Sightings: Head On

You don’t normally see a DC-3 from this angle. Good thing, too.

Mike Shore

When photographers ask for a vertical shot, they don’t mean this.

The 70–200mm telephoto lens that Mike Shore of Austin, Texas, used to grab this Douglas DC-3D created a compression effect, “in which the subject appears a little more extreme in comparison to the background,” he says. “This is all in the glass, and it’s a great technique to capture the eye.” The airplane landed in Bend, Oregon, around sunset on January 14, 2007. Shore asked to make an air-to-air shot, and owner Jonathan Phelps agreed. Helicopter pilot Sharon Vickers took Shore to 1,500 feet in a Robinson R44, where he set his Canon 20D at 1/125th of a second, f/3.2, and ISO 800.

“It was really dark out,” he says. Pilots Steve Dunn and Paul Bazeley flew the airplane about 15 to 20 feet off the runway at almost full speed, about 140 knots, then performed a two-G, 40-degree pullup. Shore made the photo as the Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94 Twin Wasp radial engines, each with 1,350 horsepower, clawed their way to a thousand feet, at which point the pilots banked right at about 100 knots. “At low altitude and low speed, safety is power,” says Dunn, who was in the left seat. “Always leave yourself a way out.” The finely restored DC-3—“You could eat off her, anywhere on the airplane,” says Dunn—will join a flyover of 25 to 30 DC-3s at the AirVenture gathering in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, this summer.

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