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When I saw the theme for week 6 as “Movie/Song Title” I knew right away that I’d be shooting something for Top Gun, it’s my favorite movie of all time! Not because I think it’s a great movie, it clearly is not, but because ever since I was a wee little lad I wanted to fly fighter jets and that movie has awesome aerial footage and when you see that for the first time in a theater as a teenager it has a way of embedding itself into your psyche.

My entry for week 6 - I shot this as an HDR but liked the moodiness of the -1 EV bracket. I know it's not an F-14 which they used in the movie-we don't have those at the Air Museum, but it comes close, twin engine, twin tail, air superiority fighter. The F-15 Eagle was the Air Force's answer to the Navy's F-14 tomcat.

Unfortunately genetics dealt a death knell to my dream of flying by way of bad eye sight, so I’ve had to live with my number one dream unfulfilled, however my passion for all things aviation is still intact. As fate would have it Utah has one of the best air museums in the country, and it’s a mere 30 minute drive from my home. Hill Aerospace Museum sits on the north west corner of Hill Air Base and is home to a vast multitude of aircraft and memorabilia housed in several hangars and an outdoor display.

It was a cloudy, yet relatively warm Saturday and we were going to a family party at my sisters home who lives 5 minutes away from the museum so it seemed like a waste to not go and grab a few shots before the party. I also took the opportunity to arrange to meet up with one of the best photographers in Utah; Marc Edward Smith who has won among several things the People’s Choice Award at the Utah State Fair this year. I’ve interacted with Marc on G+ for awhile and we share a lot of the same passions and styles of photography and he always seemed like a great guy, well after finally meeting him in person I’d have to say that he is indeed a great guy! And I think it was probably a good thing that we both had our wive’s with us at the time or else we would’ve talked forever, we didn’t really get a chance to shoot together but are planning on returning someday soon to do a real photo op of the place, I can’t wait! It also happens that I ended up winning a print from him which I’m super excited about having as his pictures and the prints of them which he makes himself are amazing.

So enough about the background story how about some shots?!

The B-25 Mitchell, this is part of the Jimmy Doolittle Tokyo Raid exhibit - 9 shot HDR

The B-25 showing a T-38 Talon hanging above it - 9 shot HDR

I’m loving the 10-20mm for this place! it’s nice to have a true wide angle as the displays are really crammed together, I wish I could get higher though since planes always look cooler from above as it’s a view we don’t often get to see.

A WW-I fighter, this area of Hangar 1 has a history of flight display including a Wright Flyer seen in part above this plane. 9 -shot HDR

A close up of the prop, check out that serious Horse Power! - 6 shot HDR

In the corner is this beautiful B-17, My favorite bomber of WW-II - 9 shot HDR

Notice the veteran talking to the group? That’s a true American hero, a B-17 co-pilot that was shot down on his 22nd mission (you needed 25 to rotate home) and became a German POW. His name is Major Corbin B. Willis Jr. USAAF (Ret) and his story is absolutely amazing!! Please take the time to read it. I really hope that I get to see him again as I’ll make sure to get a proper portrait of him. Unfortunately we had to leave before we could talk with him very long, but in the few minutes we shared I was impressed beyond belief with his attitude and courage, read his story and you’ll see what I mean.

Major Corbin B. Willis Jr. (Ret) Taking a well deserved break - 9 shot HDR

The tail guns of the B-17 - 9 shot HDR

Nestled under the B-17's port wing is the most beautiful airplane ever! The mighty P-51 Mustang, I think it's very considerate of the Hill Aerospace Museum to place my two favorite WW-II airplanes side by side. - 9 shot HDR

"Audrey" - 9shot HDR

This beautiful P-38 Lighting was retreived from a crash site in Alaska, you can see some of the original parts on display in front of it. - 9 Shot HDR

Moving along to the back of the hangar before it connects to Hangar 2 is the beautifully restored F-104 Starfighter, last year this was sitting outside on its belly without wings - 9 shot HDR

A rocket with stubby wings! The F-104 Starfighter head on - 9 shot HDR

"Does this make my nose look big?" some wide angle love for the F-104 Starfighter - 9 shot HDR

On to Hangar 2 and the modern era:

The F-4 Phantom it's so ugly it's beautiful - 9 shot HDR

The impressive Ch-53 Pavelow and the HH3 (CH-3) behind it. - 9shot HDR

The HDR version of my Week 6 submission, I like this version also. - 9 shot HDR

The F/A-18 Hornet - 9 shot HDR

The A-10 Warthog II a truly fearsome looking airplane, with its impressive GAU-8 30mm cannon. - 9 shot HDR

A final look at the A-10 as we head outside to leave - 9 shot HDR

A parting shot as we left of the B-1b Lancer as it sits in the multi-acre outdoor display area, one of many large planes and helicopters on display.

The B-1b Lancer a supersonic bomber with the North Wasatch mountains as its backdrop. - 9 shot HDR

I hope to get back to the museum soon, hopefully along with Marc Edward Smith  as this was a very time limited trip, but I think a successful one as far as testing out how the D7000 will do in such a harshly lit environment. The white balance of those nasty interior lights is a bear to handle and I look forward to having more time to create much better compositions in such a tightly spaced and busy/cluttered area.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Happy Shooting!