Taking a flight used to be an experience. Women wore dresses and men wore suits. Unfortunately for us, the seats seem to keep getting smaller, the prices keep going up, and the class and comfort that used to go along with flying have disappeared with our complimentary peanuts. Thankfully, there are those at EAA AirVenture who are keeping the excitement in flying through the Oshkosh Airshow. Colorado photographer Ken Redding recently got to capture the art and style of it all.
Every summer for more than 60 years, EAA AirVenture has invited aviation enthusiasts to gather and marvel at the accomplishment of human flight. In July of this year, over 10,000 aircraft were on display in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Ken is constantly in search of interesting and inspiring material to add to his portfolio, so when a pilot friend encouraged him to attend the show he knew it would be a great opportunity to create some exceptional shots.
Never having shot planes before, Ken relied on his experience as an automotive photographer to help plan the production of his shoot. Shooting a large event like the airshow left very little control in Ken’s hands. “We had to make sure we caught some early and late light and understood the daily schedule so we were in place and ready,” says Ken, planning as much of the shoot as he could.
During the shoot, Ken had to battle the mid-summer heat and humidity of the cheese state. “Once the sun was up we were wringing wet,” he says. “It was hard to stay hydrated.” Despite the blanket of moisture in the air, the blazing sun, and the fact that they were walking around on a cement tarmac for most of the day, Ken captured some amazing images. He used his background in shooting fast-paced sports like cycle racing and skiing to his advantage when shooting the aerial maneuvers of the stunt pilots.
In addition to capturing the exciting movements of the air planes, Ken was also careful to get some still shots of the structures themselves, gracefully reminding us that the machines are functional pieces of art, made of polished steel, hand crafted wood, and glossy paint jobs.
I loved the lines and curves of the wings and fuselages as well as the unlimited differences in how air planes are made and decorated.
The freedom of a self-assigned project allowed Ken to pick and choose what he wanted to shoot, and the results left him with a great collection of shots that he is posting on his blog and cycling through promotional materials. His experience at Oshkosh has inspired him to try some air-to-air shooting and he has received an offer to do just that. The Wright brothers would be proud.
To view more of Ken’s work, visit kenreddingphotography.com.