Ski Plane Weekend | a 7 Image Story

Ski Plane Weekend | Piper Cub on SkisSki Plane Weekend | a 7 Image Story  Usually, the lakes are frozen and there’s plenty of snow for the annual Ski Plane Weekend.  Some of the finest pilots from around the country take leave from their heavy iron and bush flying to gather together on this weekend to fly ski planes just for the fun of it.  This year, it’s a bit different.  Northern Michigan had a big flaw, which melted most of the snow.  The best we could fly was a Super Cub on tundra tires.  Let’s look back to earlier years.

Although some pilots bring their planes with skis, mostly we fly the Piper J-3 Cub on skis and the Piper PA-18 Super Cub on skis.  Most pilots love to fly both planes.  The skis add a bit of spice to life in the winter.  Add a snow shower and we pilots have dreams of being a bush pilot.  And, they have sticks, not a yokes.  They bring us back to the basics; no moving maps or no retractable gear; in fact, the J-3 does not even a battery.  Yep, you have to hand prop it.  The Cub’s standard chrome yellow paint known as “Cub Yellow” identifies it as one of the best known aircraft of all time.

Each image will be posted individually this week with a bit more narrative under category Ski Plane Weekend.

Click any image below for a slide show!


Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | Piper Cub Flying in Snow

Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | Piper Cub Flying in Snow

Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | Piper Cub Flying in Snow  Most pilots want to fly the The Piper J-3 Cub on skis.  The skis add a bit of spice to life in the winter.  Add a snow shower and we pilots have dreams of being a bush pilot.  It brings us back to the basics.  You hand prop it.  It has a stick, not a yoke.  Wolfgang must have been thinking about the Piper Cub when he wrote Stick & Rudder.  To see the entire story with all seven images, go to Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | a 7 Image Story.

Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | a 7 Image Story

Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | F-22 RaptorNikon 1 V3 for Aviation | a 7 Image Story  My journey with the Nikon 1 series cameras and lenses started with the V1, skipped the V2, and embraced the V3.  The V3 fixed several annoying V1 traits.  Also, handling, auto-focus, and metering improved dramatically.  About the same time, a firmware upgrade allowed the auto-focus to more easily keep aircraft in focus while panning with the lens attached to the FT-1 adapter.  Thus, the Nikon 1 V3 became a reasonably nice camera for capturing aviation images as well as most other images.  I’ve captured a variety of aircraft images including props, jets, sailplanes, float planes, helicopters, and even a blimp.  Those images included statics both on land and water as well as ground to air while panning handheld.  Unfortunately, there haven’t been any air to air images yet.  Thus far, my data base contains over 75K+ V1 and V3 images with over 1330 posted on this blog.

What the V3 does well, it does very well.  Now, the V3 is my preferred carry camera for capturing daily walkabout images.  It shoots much like a DSLR in continuous mode.  Although a bit noisy at higher ISOs, the image quality is quite good, particularly for posting.   Although bracketing would really be helpful, today’s post processing software reduces the need.  The 2.7 crop factor helps improve images where getting closer is not an option, like at air shows.  Would I only take it to an air show or fly-in and leave my DSLRs in the hangar?  Well yes, occasionally I do, if a light travel pack is required.  Still, I’d rather take both my DSLRs and the V3.

In a nutshell, what specifically do I like about the Nikon 1 V3 for aviation?

  • The Nikon 1 V3 is relatively small and light to carry.  Carrying heavy gear all day around air shows gets old, fast.
  • With it’s 2.7 crop factor, it adds inexpensive reach to my telephoto lens allowing me more flexibility in positioning.
  • It’s easy to carry with a telephoto lens attached, like the AFS 70-300mm & FT-1, using the sun sniper shoulder strap.
  • Image quality seems quite good unless a really large print is required.
  • With a little practice, it can be panned handheld with slower shutter speeds to capture blurred propellers.
  • The tilting LCD reduces the time spent hugging the ground to get that low angle shot.
  • While I seldom use video, a short video makes a nice addition to event posts.
  • Of course, most Nikon AFS lenses work nicely, using the FT-1 adapter.

The V3 presents a few more challenges over my DSLRs!

  • The Nikon 1 V3 requires a bit more camera discipline than a my DSLRs.  The controls sometimes move during normal handling so the photographer must often check to ensure the settings are correct.Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation | WWII Bomber Crew Reenactors
  • Panning in low light can be demanding and a high ISO generates a good bit of noise.
  • The small camera frame, attached to a long, heavy telephoto lens, does not seem balanced; making handling a bit tricky.  The Nikon AFS 70-300mm works nicely, whereas, the AFS 70-200mm; not so much.  Also, care must be taken not to break the camera mount with a heavy telephoto lens.  Always carry it by the lens or the FT-1, not the camera.
  • Higher ISO images sometimes require a pass through noise reduction in post processing.
  • The V3 does not have exposure bracketing, which would come in handy.
  • Changing the battery and/or the MicroSD card in the field takes some time and care.
  • Build quality is more consumer than professional.  If dropped, it can break.

What’s next?  Nikon appears to have discontinued the Nikon 1 V series; too bad.  A V4 camera could have addressed several V3 issues to become a really great camera.  It’s not yet clear what my next carry camera will be; maybe another V3.

Each image will be posted individually this week with a bit more narrative under category Nikon 1 V3 for Aviation.

Click any image below for a slide show!

My Nikon 1 V3 aviation kit fits into a very small Lowepro camera backpack.  The camera equipment includes a Nikon 1 V3 Body, Nikon FT-1 Adapter, 1 VR 10-30mm f3.5-5.6 PD-Zoom, 1 VR 30-110mm f3.8-5.6, AFS 50mm f1.4G, and a AFS 70-300mm f4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR.  The supporting equipment includes a Nikon Speedlight SB-N5 Flash, LitePanels MicroPro Hybrid, Sennheiser MKE 400 Directional Mic, Sun Sniper Shoulder Strap, Extra Nikon EN-EL15 Battery, Nikon MH-25 Charger, Extra SD Cards, Lens Cleaning Supplies, and a Headlamp with red & white light.  A small MeFOTO tripod has its own bag.  Find more Nikon 1 V1 and V3 experiences posted under IMHO.