I am a semi-professional photographer living in Lancaster Pennsylvania who works for a Large Site Contracting company in the area. I have been fortunate to put my love for photography to use at work by taking photos of various job sites and heavy equipment which has led to some paid gigs with other companies. My love for photography gripped me later in life after I randomly purchased a DSLR just because it was on sale. Once I began to play with the camera I discovered how much I loved it, and I began to self-teach myself the different skills and techniques to get quality photos. Scott Kelby’s Kelby One service was a great source for education for me as well as Jared Polin from Fro Knows Photo.
Ever since working at Naval Air Station Wildwood Museum in Cape May, NJ part time after high school, I have had an interest in aviation. Years later after finding my love, photography, it didn’t take long for the two to join up. After hearing about the Mid Atlantic Aviation Museum's World War II Weekend, which is only 30 minutes from home, I decided to head up there with my camera. Not knowing anything about aviation photography, I ended up with less-than-stellar images. This put me in a funk until I happened to visit some of my wife's family in Virginia Beach. Her brother’s house sits next to NAS Oceana so you know where this is going. After my first time experiencing two F/A 18’s fly right overhead I was hooked; I had to see more. I have spent the last two years since then trying to hone my skills with the help of fellow aviation photographers that I have met along the way. Last year I settled on giving my aviation work a unique name to try to stand out from the rest. In the honor of my Brother SGT Michael Scusa who was KIA in 2009 in Afghanistan while part of Black Knight Troop, I am proud to call my aviation work “BLACK KNIGHT AVIATION”.
When shooting airshows, I have my trusty Canons by my side; a 7D Mark II and 5D Mark IV. My go-to lens right now is the Sigma 150-600 (sport) with a Canon 70-200 f/2.8 on the second body. For wider shots, it is the Canon 24-70 f/2.8 or Canon 17-40 f/4. I have dabbled a little bit with off camera flash during darker hours with aviation and loved it, hoping to do some more in the future. I always shoot RAW and do post-processing in Adobe Lightroom. I would say 90% of my shots are completely done in LR, with the remaining going into Photoshop for final work. I prefer to keep everything in LR simply because it can more than handle the job and if you catalog everything there, you will always know where your shots are. If you need help with LR, look to Scott Kelby. None better at teaching that program than him.
If I had to give any tips, it would be just to practice, practice, practice. I love great panning shots. Panning with slow shutter speeds is something a lot of people love to do, but it is also something that can scare the hell out of you. Once you get comfortable with one shutter speed, drop it lower. You will have some trash on the cutting room floor when you cull your images, but if you hit on a couple shots you will not be sorry. Happy Shooting!