By P. Dale Ware
Great fun! That’s what we had on our recent airpark field trip on February 24th adventure to Palmdale. According to Christine Wilkins, the event planner and leader, about 30 club members showed up dressed for the brisk weather. The temperature was quite pleasant when I arrived. However, when the sun started going down, it got b-r-r-r, bone-chilling cold. By 6P.M., my hands felt like two blocks of ice. I took gloves, but I worked with my camera more easily without them.
The airpark is located at Plant 42, just off Ave. P in Palmdale. It was named after Joe Davies, a well-loved community-spirited man who was a former Plant 42 commander. He was a great friend who used to greet Pat, my wife, and me with a hearty handshake and hugs. We worked together on several Palmdale community projects, including a fundraiser for the Palmdale Playhouse.
There are 21 retired military aircraft on display at the park, including a 1/8 scale model of the B-2 Spirit, an AGM-28 Hound Dog missile, a B-52, a C-46 and other fighter, bomber and transport type planes. I looked for the famous SR-71 spy plane I had photographed years ago, but it had been moved to the Blackbird Airpark next door.
It was a hoot working with my new Rokinon fisheye lens! I managed to get pretty close to the variety of vintage aircraft on display to try out a few distortion shots. I got one or two images I liked, but I really had to move around for better angles. Because the airplanes are positioned so close together, you have to be really alert for parts of wings, rudders and fuselages and power lines in the background. I found that working very low gave me the most acceptable results. If you visit the airpark in the future, it would be a good idea to take along knee pads or garden kneeling pads so you don’t get sore knees.
I took wide angle lenses mostly, since it’s pretty difficult to include much of the sky for sunset shots. When I left, I noticed several brave souls waiting around for the sun to go completely down. They might have been able to get some good color, but I was too cold to join them. I had to run to the bathroom on my way out. When you’re my age, and your body tells you gotta go, you better do it. Or else.