Fast Track At The Reno Air Races; Look Up For Spectacular Photo Ops Page 2

Fortunately, I had warmed up by tracking the slower planes. I tightened the head adjustments further to support the heavier lens. I was able to keep the Jets in frame and captured my shots after a few tries. I will bring faster 400 speed film this year, although digital equipment is probably the best solution. I can set the ISO to 400 when I feel a need for speed, and use a 400mm lens with Image Stabilizer.

Thunderbird Jets flying in formation.

Stunt planes, Thunderbird Jets, and flybys are great to shoot from the grandstands, but I had a second option during the races last year. I was able to gain press credentials and had special access to pylons along the racecourse. We took buses out to one of the pylons before each race. I was right on top of the action. And it was great being so close to the planes in flight. The noise level of the vintage war planes was deafening. Experienced photographers brought earplugs; I borrowed a pair.

Shooting up at the sky in the high desert makes it look bluer than blue. I did not need a polarizer. I zoomed in tight with a 200mm lens and 100 speed film. I tracked along with the action as planes closed in on the pylons. Planes racing at warp speed were banking into tight turns around pylons. I was getting great shots of planes side by side, but a serious accident there one year made me rethink my position. The Reno Air Races are a spectacular spectator sport. I have decided I like taking pictures at the grandstands best of all. Most of the planes are flying in a straight line a safe distance from the crowds.

World War II war plane racing around pylon at Reno.

The Reno Air Races are very exciting and a nice break from the casinos. I'll look for you there in September, when I'll be working with my digital camera and Image Stabilized lens.

World War II Mustang.

For more information about the Reno Air Races, visit You can also visit Brad Perks' website at