The Complete WACO Club Fly-In Experience

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Rocking my new hat, I snapped a quick self portrait using my reflection in the steel of a biplane.

I got a last minute email from one of my former professors asking me if I could head down to Wynkoop airport to photograph a big annual WACO Club Fly-In for our aviation book, Lost in Oscar Hotel .  After wrapping up some work for my other various jobs, and a hectic packing process, I hit the road to Mt. Vernon.

            I arrived later in the evening, so I had missed most of what was going to happen that day, so I made my way over to the camping area where some of the pilots were staying overnight. Exhaustion from a full day’s work and the long drive out, combined with the fact it was already too dark to see, I delayed setting up my tent and just slept in the car.

            I was up by 6am, and hit the ground running to make the most of the sunrise lighting and meet the pilots.

I even managed to get a few wide angle GoPro shots to get a unique perspective on the planes.

Unfortunately, things slowed down around noon. Most of the few pilots who were coming had already arrived, the heat had driven most people into the hanger and under the tents, and the lighting wasn’t good for much of anything by that point. However; it did give me the opportunity to slow down a bit, grab some lunch, talk with the pilots about potential stories, and even swap some tips with some of the event’s other photographers.

A particular highlight was this photographer’s homemade monopod. The left hand grip for stabilization was an awesome idea, and he even had rigged up a follow-focus. 

A massive storm came up out of nowhere. Those who couldn't make it under the tents in time hid under the planes' wings.

A few minutes later, the sky opened up, forcing the Wynkoop visitors under whatever cover they could find. Fortunately, I was already under

the main tent conducting an interview as the downpour started. It gave me the opportunity to shoot those who had ducked under their planes’ wings for cover.

Just taking shots from under the tent wasn’t quite enough for me though. After tucking my camera into my bag and making a break for my car, and stashing my Nikon, I braved the storm with my waterproof GoPro. I was soaked and freezing after, but it was worth it to get the tighter shots.

Eventually, the storm blew over. Most of the crowed trudged through muddy mess that was formerly the air field and headed home. I stuck around to get a few more photos and a couple more interviews, but it was mostly mop-up work. I wound up leaving around the time the pilot’s banquet started since there wasn’t much of anything left to cover, 

 

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Dispite the poor weather and low turn out, I had a blast covering the WACO meet up. Anything for Lost in Oscar Hotel is usually a blast, and I almost always wind up with some killer photos. I even got a bonus free hat, courtesy of Brian, the awesome Wynkoop worker.

With all of the photo editing done, I can move on to typing up the stories, conducting interviews with the contacts I made, sending off photos, and maybe even do some layout work for the book.

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One thought on “The Complete WACO Club Fly-In Experience

  1. Pingback: Lost in Oscar Hotel is Out! | Sam's Thing a Day

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