My volunteer work for Lokale Omroep Rijnwoude took me to Schiphol Airport yesterday, to take pictures of a 63 year old Douglas DC-3.

This aircraft is owned by the Dutch Dakota Association, a small foundation dedicated to the preservation and operation of classic aircraft, especially the Douglas DC-3 Dakota.

The reason for the pictures is they're flying a roundtrip over the Rijnwoude Municipality next week, and are inviting local residence to experience the flight. As it is difficult to photograph the aircraft before flight, they invited us to the hangar for a look around.

The shoot was on one hand quite difficult and on the other not. The maintenance staff was quite helpful in pointing out great angles, and powering up the plane for inside shots. They also helped greatly by providing platforms from which I could shoot down on the aircraft. Nevertheless, I was very glad I had recently purchased a super wide-angle lens, because the size of the aircraft meant i would had to have a lot of distance between me and the aircraft; which really wasn't there as the hanger doors were closed. Another thing was I really had to watch out for distortion; the 12mm really warps the plane if you take a picture at a wrong angle.

The other problem was light. Even though the hangar was relatively well lit, it was still very dark for taking pictures, and the size of the hanger meant flash was not a solution, outside of the plane. So I had to shoot most on 800 or 1000 iso, which isn't really a problem with the D200. Most image noise wasn't really obtrusive, and where it was, it was easily removed with Noise Ninja software.

Inside the aircraft I had some fun using the SB800 flash unit wirelessly, using Nikon's magical CLS. When I photographed the instrument panels of the cockpit, I just placed the unit on the seat, out of sight, and pointed it at the panel. Keeping the flash on the camera would've made for a very flat image.

I can hardly wait until next week, when I'll be flying inside the beast! :-)

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