Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Pima Air and Space Museum

Vaught DF-8F Crusader

On the Southern edge of the Arizona desert city of Tucson lie the Pima Air and Space Museum, one of the best aviation museums that I have ever been to, granted, I've only been to 4 or 5, but they were all top notch museums (like the Boeing Museum in Seattle). It's directly across the street from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and it's infamous Air Force Boneyard and can be see from Interstate 10. If you're ever in the Tucson area, I highly recommend it. Be warned, however, it's not cheap; $15.50 for adults, $12,75 for seniors and military. When did museums get so expensive?

I happened to be passing through Tucson, on my way to Phoenix, to pick up a complete studio lighting kit that my good friend Kevin offered to give to me. Kevin is a former professional photographer turned airline pilot and has been very supportive of my continued efforts in photography. He's had this set of lighting gear sitting in various garages for years. He has been watching my videos and noticed that I use speed lights, which prompted his generous offer.

The set includes a total of 4 Hensel studio strobes; two each of the Integra 500's and two EHT strobes (1200's I think) with a battery power pack, as well as a complete modifier kit with stuff like soft boxes, beauty dishes, reflectors, stands, heck, he even gave me some sand bags! Needless to say, this was a MAJOR hook up. I hope he knows how grateful I am. Yes, I paid for dinner and brunch the next morning but my gratitude goes much deeper than that. I am sure he could have tried to sell it all but instead he gave it to me! 

This lighting kit was way too heavy and included too much gear that it wasn't practical to have it shipped, therefore, the only option was a road trip. The Santa Teresa, New Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona drive takes about 5 hours and 30 minutes. Not too bad really, I also drive a Prius. It's 50 MPG fuel efficiency equals about a tank of gas each way. This was a small price to pay considering what I was going to go pick up!

The weekend road trip also provided me with several outstanding photographic opportunities, the first of which was the Pima Air and Space Museum. I took the scenic route home, traveling on Highway 60 East out of Phoenix and then hopping on Highway 70 (The Old West Highway), along the way I happened upon a beautiful oasis at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, which provided my second photographic opportunity which I'll be posting about in my next blog. Stay tuned!

Back to the Pima Air and Space Museum.

I only brought 3 cameras and 2 lenses with me on the trip; the Sony RX1RII (fixed Zeiss 35mm f/2 lens), A7RII with Zeiss 85mm f/1.8, Zeiss 50mm Planar f/2 (Leica M mount) and I brought my Polaroid 250 land camera with one pack of instant film.

The air museum was a perfect spot to showcase the incredible resolution and capabilities of the RX1RII and the A7RII. You'll see the photos below and be sure to take notice of the 3 "crop" samples I included to get an idea of exactly how much you can crop an image in these 42mp cameras and still end up with a high resolution image.


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The following images were shot with the Sony A7RII. Scroll down for the RX1RII images.

US Interstate 10 looking West, somewhere in New Mexico

Above is the original, uncropped image shot with the A7RII and Zeiss 85mm lens. Check out the crop below and wow, just amazing clarity in a 90% crop!

Above, again this is the Zeiss 85mn lens and below you can see a crop that's even more than 100%!

And last one, again, the resolution is amazing.

Grumman J4F Widgeon Boat Plane

 Jet intakes of the Grumman RF-9J Cougar

View of the Pima Air and Space Museum, looking North from the second floor of the B-17 hangar/exhibit

B-17 Flying Fortress

B-17 Flying Fortress

North American RA-5C Vigilante

McDonnell F2H-2P Banshee

Lockheed Constellation

Douglas C-118 Liftmaster Air Force one

Douglas C-54D Skymaster

Avro AEW.2 Shackleton

Avro AEW.2 Shackleton tail section

Boeing EB-47B Stratojet

Pima Air and Space Museum

Convair B-58A Hustler

Mig Alley


Foreground MI-24D Hind Attack Helicopter, A10 Warthogs landing at Davis-Monthan Air Force base can be seen in the background.

MI-24D Hind Attack Helicopter

Are these East German markings on the Hind attack helicopter.


Martin PBM Mariner

North American F-107A

Republic RF-84F Thunderflash

 Jet intakes of the Grumman RF-9J Cougar

Lockheed S3B Viking

Grumman F14A Tomcat

McDonnell Douglas F4-E Phantom II

Waco ZKS-6

Wright Flyer

Waco RNF

Model B17 Flying Fortress

Bombadier area B-17 Flying Fortress

Inside the fuselage 

B-17 ball turret with twin 50 caliber machine guns

B-17 dioramas

Douglas C-124C Globemaster II

Boeing KB-50J Superfortress

Aero Spacelines 377-SG Super Guppy. I've actually seen one of these flying near Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas. It flies really slow and is definitely a sight to behold.

Convair B-36J Peacemaker

Below: a few planes, including this Beechcraft, have been painted by artists.

A view of the Hawaiian Islands from high above the earth. Just kidding, this is a model globe that can be found inside the Space portion of the museum.

And here are a couple shots taken with the Polaroid 250 Land Camera with FP-100C pack film.

I hope you enjoyed the photos. Obviously, both cameras are extremely adept at this type of photography and the 42 megapixel sensors provide medium-format-like resolution. Stay tuned for more!