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PhotoBlogging: Lessons Learned

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Submitted for your approval, The 2004 Reno Air Races.

This is my first time out covering an event for the web. I used my normal around-the-house Sony Mavica, thinking it would be fine( how hard could it be?).

It was not fine, it was awful. There are two things to take into extreme consideration when working in the field. First, always check you batteries youself, and always test the camera prior to being at the event.

The camera died about 30 minutes of arriving at the Races, so coverage of any actual "air races" became impossible. What was covered was grossly inadequate, because what makes a good house camera does not make a good field camera. The Mavica has a big LCD display, which is nice around the house, but is basically unuseable in outdoors light, so you end up taking pictures like your granny did with the old brownie camera of the past, you just point and hope at the composition of the scene.

I also had to rethink the whole process of covering the show as opposed to just watching as an audience member. Next event I will cover is the Launch of SpaceShipOne in Mojave on September 29th. So, I guess its off to 'Best Buy' for camera tryouts and product reviews, and more than a little bit of practice.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience of trying to catpure the scene and get it on the web. I think theres a number of things I can do next time to make it worthwhile for the audience.

Oh, what did I think of the event? I loved it. But you knew that anyway. I love Reno, the whole vibe is unlike anything else there is in aviation. While most of aviation is a culture of squeaky clean choir boys, the Air Races represent the latent badass part of our little culture. Theres large amounts of greasy food, beer, loose women, "smokeless tobacco", big reciprocating engines and smell of jet fuel and the magical sound of a dozen Mustangs going all out overhead. All sense of "politically correct" is dumped in the trash outside the entrance to the races like cartons of milk past its 'drink before' date.

This is not an event for the sierra club or greenpeace types, there is no reformation in the offing for these types, no discussion of 'greener fuels' or "noise abatement". This is the aviations version of what the pirates had at "Port Royal". After hours, you go back to the Reno casinos and give the knowing glance and thumbs up across the blackjack table with pilots and crew of aircraft you only wish you could sit in, much less ever hope to fly.

September 18, 2004 at 09:13 PM in Photoblogging | Permalink

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Did you know about this?

BoingBoing reader Inder says,
I want to let boingboingers know that WanderPort will be providing a free wi-fi network at the launch of SpaceShipOne for the Ansari X-Prize in the Mojave Desert September 29th through to the second launch. If any bloggers are attending the launch and want to have a mac address pass-through to make sure they can file, just send us an email info@wanderport.com and we'll make sure they can get their blogs posted. We'll also be providing a few WISIP phones for free North America phone calls.

Posted by: Jared | Sep 20, 2004 2:26:08 PM

Great photos - Reno looks like a blast.

I know what you mean about taking pictures vs. watching the show - I tried my hand at shooting the Thunderbirds in Eau Claire, WI, a couple of years ago, and while I got good results, it really detracted from my enjoyment (since my face was stuck against the camera the whole time). Having a digital SLR really helped, though...

Thunderbirds here:
http://delobi.us/photos/airshow/eau_claire/index.htm

[end shameless self-pimping :)]

Posted by: delobius | Sep 21, 2004 4:58:24 PM

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