The "boom operator at work" shot

June 21, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

A challenging shot for anyone documenting the KC-135 is the one of the boom operator at work.  The boom lies on his or her belly facing rearward at the back of the tanker with a view of the receiver aircraft and the boom which is flown into the receiver aircraft.  The issues photographing the boom at work include tight spaces, extreme lighting conditions (boom in darkness, receiver in daylight), and a very wide angle between the boom and receiver aircraft.  There are 2 mirrors that the boom uses like an inverted periscope to see past the boom to view the arriving receiver aircraft.  In this shot, I photographed the boom with my Nikon D800 which has a dynamic range of 14.4 stops.  This excellent dynamic range allowed me to, in post processing, use the adjustment brush in Lightroom to darken the outside the window view, and lighten the boom's face.  I solved the issue of photographing both the boom operator and receiver aircraft by using the upper mirror to reflect the boom operator concentrating on his work.  I didn't need to use a super wide lens to capture both subjects which could have resulted in distortion.


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