Tag Archives: air-to-air photography

Behind The Scenes Of An Amazing Air-To-Air Photoshoot With Two F-16C Block 52+ Jets

Ever wondered how some of the air-to-air photos which appear in aviation magazines are taken? This video will give you an answer…

The following clip was filmed by world famous photographer Sławek Krajniewski, best known as “Hesja“, from a Polish Air Force CASA C-295 during NATO Tiger Meet 2018, that took place at the 31st Tactical Air Base in Poznan-Krzesiny, Poland, between May 14 and May 25.

The air-to-air photo shooting involved two Polish Air Force F-16C Block 52+ Fighting Falcon jets from 6th Tiger’s Fighter Squadron somewhere over Kołobrzeg and Bagicz airfield.

As you can see, the two “Vipers” flew extremely close to the photo-ship, so much so it seems the photographers could almost touch the F-16s. The video is also interesting because it shows the maneuvering and work required from both sides (pilots and photographers) to get the cool shots you can find on aircraft magazines and websites all around the world.

In case you were wondering what kind of lens Hesja used during the shooting, here they are: 70-200mm and 24-120mm. One of the shots resulting from the multiple “breaks” that you can see in the last part of the clip can be found here below:

Make sure you visit Hesja website and like his Facebook page here for more amazing photographs!

Photo: flying with bent propeller blades or mobile phone's camera oddity?

These pictures were shot by a friend of mine who was flying a two ship formation with another SF-260EA. The images are beautiful but what make them more interesting is that the propeller blades look bent in both pictures. Is the aircraft flying with a damage propeller or is it an odd effect of taking a picture with a cell phone camera to a high speed rotating object? Obviously, the correct answer is the second one (in fact, Roberto and his wingman landed without any problem with the propeller in perfect shape…), but is anybody able to explain why the phone camera produces such oddities?

I’ve flown with the SF260 in the past and took many pictures using professional cameras and none gave the same results (read here and here).

Flying with the SF-260EA

Usually, within my articles and blog posts, I tend to publish the most beautiful pictures of a particular photo-session. These, most of times, depict the aircraft with as less distubing objects (canopy mounts, wing tips, etc.). However, in some cases, pictures that don’t make the news and that are not published, are interesting as well, as they provide a different point of view and give “a taste” of what, flying an airplane looks like. The following “flight-oriented” pictures were taken by both me and Giovanni Maduli (flying in the 70-24 bird) during King flight on June 4, 2009. The article about the 70° Stormo SF-260EAs was published on Rivista Aeronautica 06/2009.











F-104 air-to-air pictures by Katsuhiko Tokunaga

Many visitors of my site and photo gallery ask me questions about aviation photography and especially about shooting air-to-air from a chase plane. I’ve already written about the difficulties of taking nice pictures when strapped on an ejection seat inside a small jet cockpit and provided a few explainations and tricks (either on specific posts or via email) to take nice air-to-air images. What I’m presenting now is the first part of a large collection of pictures taken by the most famous military aviation photographer in the world: Katsuhiko Tokunaga. In year 2000, Code One magazine wrote the following introductory text to his photo gallery:
“Katsuhiko Tokunaga began his aerial photography career in a T-33A jet trainer. Since then, he has covered the high-performance military jets of twenty-six nations, concentrating on air-to-air photography. In addition, he has taken official pictures for foreign aircraft manufacturers, air forces, and navies. He has also worked on the production and direction of many aviation videos. His published work appears in magazines in Japan and in other countries. Based in Tokyo, he has accumulated over 800 flight hours in high-performance jets, among them the F-16. He has also flown with and photographed USAF Thunderbirds, Japanese Blue Impulses, USN Blue Angels, Canadian Snowbirds, British Royal Air Force Red Arrows, French Patrouille de France, Italian Frecce Tricolori, Swiss Patrouille Suisse, Portuguese Asas de Portugal, Spanish Patrulla Aguila, Swedish Team 60s, Yugoslavian Letece Zvesdes, Slovak Biele Albatrosys, and Swiss PC-7 Team”. Since 2000 he has taken thousands more breathtaking pictures (something we can define “works of art”). I’ve obtained by him and by Gen. Gagliano of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force), the authorization to publish a selection of the images “Katsu” took in the last years with the ItAF. All pictures have this website’s logo just to prevent unauthorized usage. The following is just a selection of the picture Tokunaga took in 2004 flying with the F-104 of the Grosseto-based 4° Stormo.
All the 300 pictures can be found here: http://lowpassage.com/photo-archive/f-104-air-to-air-pictures-by-katsuhiko-tokunaga/

All the following pictures are copyright Katsuhiko Tokunaga / AM











The Troupe Azzurra

“Troupe Azzurra” is the artistic name under which the team of photographers and video operators belonging to the CPA (Centro Produzione Audiovisivi) of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force, ItAF), is known as. The “Troupe” was born in 1979 and it is composed by personnel qualified to fly with all the conventional and jet aircraft of the ItAF. In fact, its main duty is to document the activities of all the flying units of the Armed Force, both in Italy and abroad. Officers and non-commissioned officers of the CPA always follow the ItAF units in every operation, deployment or exercise, to collect the images of the Italian aviation story and to satisfy the requirements of both televisions and newspapers. Today the archive of images and videos contains material dating back to a period preceeding the Aeronautica Militare foundation (Mar. 28 1923) and pictures and videos of the Troupe appear regularly on both magazines and calendars. Each year, the most spectacular images are used to illustrate the wonderful ItAF Calendar.
I’ve known personnel of the CPA since 1998 and I often work with them to write the texts of the documentaries of the ItAF. I’ve used pictures of the Troupe Azzurra for some of my articles, published both in Italy and abroad. In 2004 I wrote the texts and was responsible for the only official book on the F-104 Starfighter published by the ItAF: “F-104 – Storia di un Mito”. I worked closely with the CPA and I had the possibility to browse the enormous archive of the Troupe Azzurra in order to choose the pictures to be used in the book. In the following page you can find a a large selection of pictures of the F-104 Starfighter taken by the “Troupe Azzurra” during the whole service life of the Spillone (as the aircraft was dubbed by the Italian pilots) until 2004: “F-104 pictures from the Troupe Azzurra archive”.

The following pictures are just a few examples of the images of the Troupe Azzurra (all pictures courtesy Aeronautica Militare – “Troupe Azzurra”).