Why is the number 5 upside-down on this plane?

The No. 5 plane spends much of its time upside-down in performing mirror stunts with other planes. So during these signature moves, the number 5 is right-side up.

Considering all the rain we’ve had lately and the tornado that ripped through the area just a few miles to the south less than a month ago, we felt lucky to have pleasant weather for this year’s Vectren Dayton Air Show. The USAF Thunderbirds were the headliners for the aerial show this year.

Thanks to my in-laws, Jim and Deanna, who scoped out the show for us yesterday, we had a nice spot in the neighborhood where we could enjoy the show at a distance and see the planes as they made their turns back to the airfield.

I used my Canon 7D Mark II with the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 for all the shots. This was my first time trying to shoot the airshow using a Feisol CT 3442 tripod with a Jobu Jr. 3 gimbal head. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to maneuver quickly enough using a tripod, but the gimbal head was actually quite responsive.

It was actually bright enough that I could shoot at f/8.0 and still get a shutter speed of 1/1000 second with an ISO of 800. In past years, I chose to shoot wide open most of the time to keep my ISO under 1600, and I think the lens is definitely sharper stopped down a bit. I was aiming for my meter to read about 2 stops overexposed, because most of my field was bright cloudy sky, but next time, I think I should aim for around 1 to 1.5 stops because I actually slightly overexposed some of the mostly white planes in the far away shots, and it was a shame to waste the light when I could have had an ISO of 400.

My friend Dave taught me about the Dehaze filter in Adobe Lightroom CC. I don’t actually have that version, but there is a brilliant free tool that simulates it by accessing equivalent controls within earlier versions of Lightroom.

Just click on any photo below to see a larger image.

So many thanks to all who contributed to these images. I’m looking forward to hopefully more air shows in the future and further refining my tripod skills.