[Interview] Kedar Karmarkar – Aviation Photographer Extraordinaire

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[Interview] Kedar Karmarkar – Aviation Photographer Extraordinaire

This video is an interview I did with famous aviation photographer Kedar Karmarkar back in July 2020.

You can enjoy the video above and also read the transcript below.

Each bullet point is a switch between speakers. Sorry, but I don’t have time to swap those bullets for a name, but I’m confident you’ll find it easy to figure out who’s talking at any one point.

Enjoy!

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  • Hi “Fights On” folks, Eran here, and I have a special guest for you today or tonight, depending on what part of the world or you’re in. I have been keeping an eye on this guy for a while. He’s a aviation photographer. You can see a quick shot of him there. And he has some amazing photos. He’s shared quite a few of them in his Fights On group with us. In my Fights On group with you, which is awesome. But if you go and check out his Facebook page and his business page, you’ll see lots more. So I thought I’d reach out, invite him on for a chat, because if you can’t fly in the darn things at least if you can take some awesome photos of them, then that’s the next best thing you can do. So welcome Kedar.
  • Hello, Eran.
  • And now you’re in San Jose in California, correct?
  • Yup, yeah.
  • But obviously from your accent, you didn’t start there. So where did you start from originally?
  • Yeah, so I am from Mumbai, India originally, and then I moved to San Jose back in 1999, for the job stuff. And then yeah, I’ve been here since.
  • Yeah. And you’re in the IT industry working for Cisco, is that correct?
  • Yes, yep.
  • But you have a side hobby, I suppose, we could say of aviation photography.
  • Yep, yeah, exactly.
  • Yeah.
  • Yep.
  • So how did you actually get into that? Because it’s not something that anyone can just pick up a camera and walk into an air force or a Navy base and start taking photos, it’s illegal. How did you manage that? Yeah, I grew up when I was back in Mumbai. I grew up with like the Commando comics and, I don’t know, like, I guess, you know, God put me a module in my brain for aviation, but especially like on the military types. So I always had a fascination for the World War II battles, Battle of Britain, and the German Advance and all that. So I was like really a lot into those kinds of comics and then reading about World War II, army, military, Navy stuff, the different caterers. So in walked in, like plan A was to join the air force, the Indian Air Force. So that didn’t pan out. And then, I joined the IT industry. And as part of that came to, San Jose where the initial apartment was on the flight path of Moffett Airfield where all the 129th Rescuing guys, the Pave Hawks and then the C-130 Hercules aircraft, they used to kind of bounce in a pattern. So I had a base kind of next to me. And then I think I, yeah, I came in May and then we had a air show in Moffet in, I think, June or July timeframe.
  • Yeah.
  • And when I went there, I was like a kid in a candy store, because here are all F-15s, F-16s, F-18s and all the stuff that I had read about when I was a kid, and it’s all out there, I can touch it, I can speak to the crew and all those things, and it was just awesome. And so initially photographic did not start off right there, but then I think I had a Minolta camera. And again, I did not have any knowledge about photography, camera, again, all those, you know, the P mode or whatever it is, that’s your best friend and I was just clicking it. So in fact, if you see my first clicks, it’s like all throws and props and all that stuff, right. Literally like with the whole internet and all that stuff, there was a forum called fencecheck.com a long time back, like back in ’99, 2000, you know, those times. And that’s where I kind of learned about the other stuff and how others are taking photographs. And then there was a whole lot of sharing going on at that time, where I actually picked up some of the techniques of shooting different, different planes, proper planes, check planes, and all that stuff. And then eventually like, yeah, like I had my… I got a book and then in 2004, I got my… No, not in 2004, 2003, I got my first digital camera. And I think that was the starting point. I actually learned what’s aperture priority or the shutter priority, exposure and how can I manipulate light in getting the different settings and all that. And that’s how I learned. And then with Fence Check and all that, a lot of sharing, kind of picked up on that one. And then that’s how I kind of started attending air shows a lot. And yeah, that’s when it actually took off. So 2005, 2006, I got a DSLR, and then a couple of friends on Fence Check, Glen Blore and Larry Grace, who’s kind of the ISAP top guy right now. They were kind of like my mentoring figures, if you will, at that point of time, you know. They kind of shared camera gear, stuff, and then processing techniques, because that’s what I learned that in the digital world, composing the short is half the battle one and then actually processing it is the next half of the vital. So I kind of… It was a huge learning curve. It was not like war life but I got into everything, yeah.
  • I know for myself, you know, when I first started doing any kind of photography and I don’t even own a DSLR, I just use my phone these days. But coming from the days of film where you had like 12, or 24, or 36, shots, you could screw it up or you do… It costs you money to take a photo basically. And then moving across to digital. I remember my first digital camera was a, I think it was an AGFA, and it took 640 by 480 resolution pictures, which at the time seemed ridiculously huge, but now pathetically. Yeah, digital’s just the game changer. So I was like, guys.
  • Yeah, yeah. And then just to add it right on top of that, like when I was a kid, I was a lone child of my parents. But they supported me like totally, going my dream of joining the air force. So they were kind of always incentivizing me with, if you get this much marks in your in your studies, then we get like two books on whatever, World War II or aircraft and all that stuff. So my parents and my uncles, especially, I remember him giving me a book about the Hornet the Salamander series from design to deployment. So I was kind of a bit of a geeky guy as well, trying to get all those weapon systems and all that stuff. But yeah, and then after I came here, like normally what happens is for people that I’ve seen is, when they get married, kind of stuff stops for them. But I tend to think for .
  • Yeah.
  • For me it was actually the opposite. Like when I got married, and then my wife’s kind of realised that I have this, she didn’t call it passion, she calls it obsession.
  • Yeah.
  • With all the flying stuff and all that. So she kind of like… She is very generous in giving me the time to get away from her and chase my first love, if you will.
  • Yeah, my partner hasn’t quite got to that point yet. She still doesn’t quite understand all the plane stuff, but it is what it is. So you’re a lucky man if you’ve got a wife like that, that’s all I can say.
  • Yes, I am extremely lucky from that side, at least from the home ministry side, if you will.
  • What’s they all say, she who must be of aid, as the call it. So obviously you got better at it. How did you, like, was it just your connections with the other people that kinda got you into different places to start taking photos or what sorta helped you grow your career on that side of things?
  • Yeah, so initially it was just air shows, and it was kind of local air shows, like Salinas was one, San Francisco Fleet Week was the other one that I used to go to. And then Moffett dropped out of the radar and then I used to go to the Fence Check forum. There was a whole lot of awareness of what other air shows are going on, which acts are going to come there.
  • Yeah.
  • So that way I kind of you know, like… Especially Fence Check was a huge factor in me kind of growing. And then after air shows, it was like those arranged, what are they called? Photo calls, these things. So as part of Fence Check, I remember going to NF El Centro where they had the first organised shoot. We were like seven of us. And compared to like right now where almost like 200 people show up for the photo call.
  • Yeah.
  • And then that was one, then LIMU was another. Then we went to Fallon, I think. So, and then that kind of like shifted the focus a bit from like… I used to do a lot of air shows and then it was kind of the same acts everywhere, different lighting, but it’s same thing. But then I started like kind of getting intrigued by base visits and photo calls. And that’s how it kind of like got into that one. 2008 Quebec Air Show that I went to with a couple of guys from here. And then I met Eric Coekelberghs who runs the, the Belgian crew, the Aviation PhotoCrew right now. So that’s where I met him. And then 2010, he emailed me about, “Hey, how about doing air-to-air?” And that’s how I kind of got caught to know people. And then through people, whatever gig that they’re doing, then kind of going on to those kinds of trips. And so 2011 was my first air-to-air with those guys.
  • Right.
  • And yeah. And air-to-air is just kind of like a drug and, you know.
  • I can’t believe it.
  • Yeah exactly right. Once you get it, then it’s like, you get all the withdrawal symptoms, shaky hand and like itchy fingers, like, no, I have rule.
  • Yeah.
  • But that’s like a whole different world. And then that’s how kind of like… From there, there’s Scott Slocum. Locally, he was doing things. So that’s how I got into the Warbird scene, because Warbirds and the military, are just kind of my two subjects, if you will.
  • Yeah. And I think I’ve seen you mentioned Scot’s name quite regularly with stuff that you’ve done so.
  • Oh yeah, yeah. I have done all that stuff with him yeah.
  • Yeah. And are you mostly airway nowadays or do you still do a bit of a mix of ground and air stuff?
  • Yeah, I still like I kind of like to say that I am firmly rooted to the ground. And rooted flying in the air. So I think, yeah, like last, in fact, no, even the start of this year, I had, I think in January, I went to Hawaii for the Sentry Aloha exercise that the 18th Aggressor hired with the Raptors and the Eagles, the first known guys, Air National Guard. So that was his ground. And then a Red Flag, I think a couple of days I was there, the 2020 O1 and 02.
  • Okay.
  • And yeah, I went to Alaska last year in December at Alison and it’s kind of crazy. Like, no one goes to Alaska in December. People are kind of getting away from Alaska, but I kind of went there. And one of those beautiful, like the light. It was sunset at 2:30 in the afternoon
  • Yeah, wow.
  • And rise that light for 10:30 ish or something like that. But the light was beautiful. I got some great shots from that trip. So yeah, it is kind of a mix of air-to-air and ground.
  • Yeah. And so with your photos or what do you do with them? Do you mostly, do you sell them or do people hire you to take photos of them, or how does that side of things work?
  • Yeah, so right now my photoS are kind of lying on my hard drive and then mostly sharing on Facebook or Instagram. And sometimes I’ll create books and all that stuff. So recently I created the book called “Things With Wings”, part one, where I try to put up some photographs in and then try to get some background story on how that photo happened. And then legally again, I do contribute to magazines like “Combat Aircraft,” “AirForces Monthly.” And then just today, in fact, today morning when I got up, I saw the cover of “Spotter Magazine” where they had used the MiG-17 shot on the cover.
  • Yeah, actually if you don’t mind I might share the screen and show that.
  • Yeah, yeah, sure. No, worries.
  • Just so people can see it. Yeah, where was it? So I think it was this one. Can you see that?
  • Yup. Yeah, yeah.
  • Yeah.
  • That is the one.
  • Yeah, beautiful. So that’s that red MiG-15 or 17?
  • 17
  • 17, yeah. Yeah, that’s all right, that’s awesome. And it’s a cool looking plane, I love that colour on it.
  • Oh yeah. It’s now owned by Jason Somes of High Al fire shows, but it used the Red Bull mixed 17 flown by Reesman.
  • [Eran] Yeah.
  • [Kedar] Yeah.
  • Cool. Let’s see if you got any other interesting photos here. I always love your Viper photos. You get some really amazing ones with some amazing colours. Like this, like that.
  • Yeah, exactly. Like if you can see the hangar wall being painted by like just mellow sunset light.
  • Yeah.
  • And that was like 2:30 when they were taxing out to tangle with the Raptors of 3rd Wing from J Bear.
  • Yeah.
  • Yeah it was just beautiful light at Allison.
  • Yeah. And I love those funky aggressive colours that you often see on them.
  • Oh yeah. I like the aggressive guys. It’s a different colour than the normal hue or the model
  • Yeah, a bit of brightness there. So this one, now I’ve seen a lot of these recently. This is the Oscar. You wanna tell us a little bit about that?
  • Oh, yeah, sure. So this is the, world’s only flying example of the Nakajima KI-43 Oscar. Japanese call it Hayabusa, and then the allied name is Oscar. But yeah, the Erickson Aircraft Collection up at Madras, Oregon, they have this thing flying with them and this was on the recent trip. Again, I was flying out of the SBD Dauntless on this hop, and it was pretty a different experience, but a great experience flying in a Warbird, taking a photo of another Warbird. And then especially with Madras, they have the Mount Jefferson, which is there right now. And then there are those three sisters, they call it like it’s three mountain peaks. So there were like lots of different, landscape, like they have got kind of a desert kind of landscape and then the mountain tops and all that. That kind of creates different stuff, different backgrounds for the shot. So yeah, there I was. I think I was up in that cold air because the cockpit is open and the air is rushing around. And then we had some communication issues with the mic and all that stuff. So while we were flying join up, and that’s I think… Yeah, that’s Jim Martin who was flying it. And while you were on route, I was, because of the whole communications and all that, I understood some of the problems and I was literally practising my hand signals, like, okay, how am I going to tell them go here or you know go down, five, you know, five or 15 or whatever. So I was literally practising that on the way.
  • Yeah. And I read this. You said you were in a Dauntless and I didn’t realise that you meant like a real live World War II Dauntless. That’s what you’re saying, is that right?
  • Yeah, yeah.
  • How the heck did you manage that?
  • Yeah, so they have a speedy Dauntless and I think last year, some of the guys who went there, they shot on the dauntless and I was like, okay, fine, I’ll go for one hook just to get the experience. But then it was an awesome experience because on the way when we were coming back, David Reed, who was flying me, who was flying the Dauntless, He said, yeah, let’s go into that dive diagonal that the speedy Dauntless is famous for.
  • Yeah, yeah.
  • So there we were up at, you know, or the Airport of Madras dive, bombing the airport. It was an awesome feeling. Like you’re almost like, almost what, 70 degree down, nose down angle?
  • Yeah. But with the dive brakes, when they come on, you are just kind of hanging there.
  • Oh my God.
  • And I could actually visualise, I’m like, holy crap! Like people did this actually in World War II.
  • And they were being shot at same time.
  • Yeah, and they are being shot at at the same time. And I’m like.
  • Yeah.
  • Yeah, you require literally brass ones or platinum ones. Only you can
  • What was that movie that came out recently about the Japanese with the Dauntlessness where they’re trying to kill off all the Japanese carriers? I can’t remember the name of it.
  • The “Midway.”
  • Yeah “Midway.”
  • “Midway,” yeah.
  • So I happened to catch the movie recently. And I didn’t like some of the cartoony kind of scenes at the beginning, which looked a bit kitschy. Some of the dauntless stuff was pretty cool, and yeah, to get in one of those things and do that.
  • Oh yeah.
  • With a hundred Japanese gunners trying to kill you.
  • Yeah, exactly.
  • Pretty serious stuff.
  • I could get like a GoPro or something, but like, I don’t carry. I’m dyslexic with video. So I was like, that’s fine, maybe another time, but it was a fantastic experience. that’s for sure.
  • Yeah, yeah. Awesome. And it’s an unusual complaint. So and what do we got here? We got a, what is that, the B-25 Mitchell?
  • Yep, that was the one-
  • Very, very close too though Or is as that just a good zoom lens?
  • Yeah, it’s a good zoom lens. So I carry like a 24/120 on a full frame and then 8,400 on the clock frame. So that way I get like everything from like 24 to almost like 600.
  • Yup, yup. All right, and so question for you. I’ve noticed that some of these older planes, I assume that’s not the real gun or they just remove the firing pin and left the gun in there or what’s the story there?
  • Yeah, yeah, they remove it. Most of the times they will remove the firing pin, but it’s the real thing in there.
  • Yeah, okay cool.
  • Yeah.
  • Yeah, this is an amazing one. So this is 109,
  • I mean 109?
  • Yep, exactly. Yeah. That’s a BF1O9 G, Gustav. And this was, I think, of the Military Aviation Museum on the East Coast, in Virginia Beach.
  • Okay.
  • Where Michael Spalding was flying that at around sunset timeframe.
  • Yeah.
  • And then I just kind of like, I process this picture and I’m like, maybe a black and white you know can, well, let’s fire a black and white. and I actually like Dauntless and so I kind of posted that one.
  • Well, it’s kind of reminiscent of the old World War II stuff where mostly, it was all black and white photography anyways, so yeah.
  • Yup, exactly, exactly.
  • And there’s a very close up colour one.
  • I kind of like the close up one and then that’s why I like, I think I don’t know which year it was. I think it was 2016 or something when I just come back from Belgium, and I am into like up close and personal stuff, like in your face kind of shots. So I posted some of those shots, and then I think we were up in, or we were down in Dallas or Houston, one of those places. And we were just sitting there and then someone brought up that, “Hey, this is like kind of in your face.” And someone said, “Yeah, that might be kind of like “your call sign.” And then Steve who’s another photographer, He like, “No FaceTime. “In your face sounds kind of crude, “but like FaceTime, that’s your call sign from today.” I’m like, okay.
  • Fair enough. You could be cold worse.
  • Exactly, right?
  • Right, yeah. And then of course the old Focke-Wulf.
  • Yep.
  • Do you know, the first time I sort of pictured this, because it had the full blade prop on it, it was quite distinctive, really made it stand out, but it was such a beautiful looking plane. I don’t know if I… Let’s see if we can find the original one you had. I know I’m doing horrible things jumping through there, but anyway. I’ll get it off to you. Look, I think it’s a beautiful photo.
  • Oh yeah, yeah. In fact there’s a joke on this one. When I first went to Madras, they had the Airshow Of The Cascades or whatever thing they call it. And we were taking off with the Focke-Wulf and the P-51. And I was in Scott’s plane and then we took off and then the P-51 took off, the Focke-Wulf took off. And the Airboss called up Scott saying, “Hey, what is the name of the German plane “that took off right now?” And Scott said, yeah, that is a Focke-Wulf FW-190. And the Airboss goes on the frequency, like, “Yeah, I think I’ll just call it FW-19.”
  • Yes, I think more than a few people have been cautious of that one.
  • Like, I don’t want to cause a scene on the air show. Like a Focke-Wulf aeroplane, “What did he say?”
  • Yes. That’s very nice. So, and of course the Raptor. So like never, I mean, you know what, it’s like, I live in a street in Perth, in Western Australia, which you’ve been to, and it’s like the most isolated city on the planet, just about. We don’t ever get things like the Raptors down our way. What, are they like up close?
  • Oh, those are beautiful machines. Like I just like the Raptor. It’s just the way, it kind of looks. The one thing that I found out and actually visited Avalon in 2019.
  • And for those who don’t know, Avalon’s an airshow in the East coast of Australia, is that correct? Correct me if I’m wrong.
  • Yeah, yeah that’s near Melbourne.
  • Yep, that’s right.
  • And yeah. And then, so the one thing that I really kind of just noticed was the huge, the horizontal stabiliser. Those are like massive in size and they are just, you know know, like I head on a shot, with the stabs kind of deflected when he goes during the preflight, and there’s actually a ground crew there and you can just easily make the difference between the size of the stabiliser and the normal human being.
  • Yeah
  • And yeah, this is massive and plus it’s kind of like the air superiority fighter. So, just been to fighting stuff, right? Like not even air to ground, but I think recently they have done some hops with air to ground in the release.
  • Oh, Interesting.
  • Yeah, yeah.
  • Look, I gotta say, and this is just a personal opinion, some people will disagree with me, but if you compare the look only of F-22 and the F-35, the F-35 is an extremely ugly plain, and then the Raptor is a extremely beautiful plane.
  • Well, the F-35 from the, like, if you just look at it from the side, yeah it does look like a toy or like it’s a bit ungainly, it doesn’t look like a fighter. But then it has its views, like if you especially look at it from the front or a front 45 degree angle, then it does have it’s nicer sides.
  • I have seen a photo on Facebook ages ago someone took a one face-on, and it did look really cool. Like it was the first time I looked at one of them, oh, that looks all right.
  • Yeah.
  • But yeah, well, I suppose they don’t get any branding points of being good looking as long as they kill the bad guys. That’s the most important thing.
  • Yeah, yeah. Exactly.
  • What have we got here? And of course back to my… This is my second favourite plane, the, well, I still call it the Falcon or the Fighting Falcon even though everyone calls it the Viper these days.
  • Yeah, yeah. Yeah, and especially I like the aggressive guys, you know, so they just have those funky paint schemes ink on it and that’s actually cool looking.
  • Yup, yup. Then is, what’s this, a rhino?
  • Yeah, the a Echo Super Hornet.
  • Yup. Of course, I knew that.
  • Yeah, from the lower level.
  • That’s your more typical grey colour as you see, you’re boring grey.
  • Yeah in fact better still they half glass scheme that they have applied here. We’re just kind of reducing the radar cross section of the Viper.
  • Okay.
  • Yeah, it’s sort of different than the normal grey ones.
  • Yeah, there’s a base commander somewhere on Facebook who’s… They had a Viper, they ran a competition to come up with a paint scheme for it.
  • Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. The ghost.
  • Ghost, yeah. Have you seen that one, photographed that?
  • Oh yeah, yeah. I’ve done especially a night shoot with that, with the ghost. I kinda liked the ghost better than the more recent one, which was that they call it the Red. Has the all black and red, kind of stencilling on it. I don’t like that. The ghost is much more. I kind of like the ghost scheme, better than Red.
  • I’ve, seen a few shots like that. It’s almost like image pixelation on a computer and I’ve seen that one of them. And then I’ve seen some SU-27s I think that I’ve got similar sort of patterns on them as well stuff.
  • Right, yeah. I think what they call the Felon, what is that, the Sukhoi-57 or whatever they call it?
  • Or the issue 57, yeah and the other one
  • Better fact for whatever, right?
  • Yeah
  • That has got that ghost theme.
  • Yeah, yeah. There’s a bit of an old, old, old plane. Wanna talk a little bit about that one. That’s French for memory?
  • Yes, and then I think, I don’t know, like he has got this Uber symbol up there in the back of the canopy.
  • There it is. I’ll have to put my glasses, I can’t see.
  • Yeah.
  • There’s something there. Oh dear.
  • How about thar for a Uber ride?
  • Yeah. And this one, I think I just saw this one recently, so.
  • Yeah, that was Battle of Britain.
  • Who doesn’t love the Spitfire and the Hurricane.
  • The entry duo, right?
  • Yeah, exactly. I know when I was talking to Paco, he said one of his dreams was if he could go back in time and fly a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain, he said, that’d be a dream come true, so.
  • Yeah, yeah, exactly. I like the Spit as well. Like it’s really got like really clean lines. It just looks awesome.
  • Yeah, it’s a beautiful plane. So look, I wonder one of the things I wanted to ask you about, I’ll stop the screen sharing if you hang on a minute, so we’ll go back to that there. So I wanted to ask you about some of your photo shoots. So I know you and I talked a little bit ahead of time about three that we were gonna discuss. I’ve got one photo from each to show people, but you’re gonna send me some more photos, which I’ll edit in later on. So.
  • Good, yeah. So do you wanna take us through those three and tell me which one it is and I’ll wake, I’ll get the photo up .
  • Yeah, yeah. So we can, we can talk about the F-36 first.
  • Yep, all right. Let me just open the photo and do a screen share on that one for people. Where is my Zoom controls gone? There we go. Okay, so go for it. Tell us a bit about that and I’ll turn this off in a second and go back to you.
  • Yeah, so again, this was like a recent photo shoot with Steve Hinton Sr. And I haven’t interacted much with Steve, but I’ve kind of like, I think a couple of occasions where he was standing kind of next to me. But he’s a super cool guy and he just like flies the Sabre like, I don’t know. Especially the recent hop. I remember I was sitting on the floor and on the Beech Baron, that’s called a slide, and Matt Booty who’s another photographer up in Seattle. He was there with me and he was kind of sitting. So he could look outside the other window and he could see what’s going on on the left side of the plane. And I had the vision, looking on the right side of the plane. And normally what happens like when in the join up is like these guys, like if you’re flying like that, these guys will come, kind of like that and then kind of, you know, ease over.
  • Yeah.
  • Or sometimes they will just kind of gently come up and then just park their plane. But this time, like I was blind on what’s happening on the left hand side. And he basically, like, we were flying like this and Steve actually, he came from the left and he actually came and just parked the plane right there. And when it actually happened, I was like okay, where is he? Where is he? And then suddenly I see this, you know, Sabre just pop up, and literally he just parked like right there as if you park a car in a grocery parking lot or something. And I was like, whoa! Oh my God, it was awesome. Like that join up has been like etched in my memory right now. And then if you can zoom on the, like, if you can not even zoom, like if you can just display the photo again, you can see the reflection of the Beech Baron in the front part of the nose. It’s a very shiny looking Sabre.
  • Hang on a minute. I’ll just get that.
  • Yeah.
  • And I’ll just go full screen. So somewhere there?
  • Yep, there it is.
  • Oh, okay. Cool.
  • So that’s where the Beech Baron was. And he was like, yeah, he was comfortable being close, but it was just an awesome join up. I just love that the way he joined up. And after that like he ignored it. It’s Steven Hinton Sr. So, you know. He just like parked the plane wherever we wanted it. It was just a great shoot at sunset. It was awesome.
  • Yeah.
  • I recently ran across some videos on YouTube with him. I think he was from an aviation museum he’s involved with where he was walking over to the Sabre and talking us through outside. It’s a beautiful plane.
  • Oh! You know, that’s the same shoot that we were.
  • Oh, okay. There you go.
  • Yeah. And like from his angle, from his, whatever, the video angles that he has, it looks as if it’s very normal. It doesn’t look any dramatic. But it was just awesome for us on the other side. And especially for me, because I was expecting him like to see him some sometime, somewhere in the back as he kind of gently join, but he just popped out right there and it was just awesome.
  • This is a good example of the, in your face type shot you were talking about earlier.
  • This is more kind of the hero shot, focusing more on the pilot. But yeah, it was awesome. Like some of those shoots kind of stick in your brain, right? So that’s one of those, you know, the memorable ones.
  • Yeah.
  • Of
  • Yeah, and I mean, it’s a beautiful plane so. I love that polished metal basically. I mean there’s essentially no paint on it. It’s not very camouflage friendly, but it’s still looks amazing.
  • All right.
  • Yeah, yeah, it just looks amazing. So that was one, that was the most recent.
  • Okay.
  • Yeah it was good.
  • All right. So and what was the second shoot that you wanna tell me about?
  • So the second, I think it was of the MiG right? The MiG-17 I think?
  • Yeah, there we go. That one there.
  • Yeah, and then that’s the cover shot from the magazine. But yeah, it was just awesome. Like, again, this was I think end of April or end of March. I’m not too sure, but somewhere around there. But again, Jason was kind of kind enough to fly for us. And in fact, I just love, like, because we were just like the two of us, me and Matt. And then, especially Scott, he’s got that, he calls it belly hole, but Jason Somes who’s flying the MiG-17, he calls it the booty hole. So it’s actually a hole in the floor of the Beech Baron.
  • Right.
  • And I kind of had an idea like, hey, since it’s just two of us and we are going to come back to the airport anyways, can we kind of track the MiG-17 and can I get a shot over the runway from that angle. And , sure we can do that. And that was it. And the main thing in this one, and especially with this angle is the compression effect that has. So if you’re looking from there, and especially you’re looking through a viewfinder and with the decompression that’s going on, you feel that he is like really close to the ground. And I didn’t want him to go down like more further because I like he’s already like right there. But then looking back, I saw someone who took a video of like as we kind of dragged the MiG along the runway and he was quite high. It was like just the compression factor that makes you feel that he’s like, kind of right there really close to the runway.
  • It definitely looks like that. So I kind of like this angle and especially that the runway numbers, you know, it’s kind of a great new thing.
  • And so those two shiny they’re what, smoke?
  • Yeah, those ones was, I think, what was it? The Sanders smoke generators that the system that they have. And he got it recently, overall with those guys, He works, closely with those guys to overhaul that system, to generate that smoke and all that. So yeah, it’s beautiful bird. Especially the red paint and on that, it’s awesome. Even the chrome on the nose. It’s beautiful.
  • Although I have to be honest, I’m not really a raging fan of some of those earlier MiGs, but I remember when the guys, when DCS bought out the MiG-19, that was the first time I actually thought about buying a module like that. And this one has got some similarities obviously, but that colour scheme is beautiful, it looks amazing.
  • Oh yeah, it’s a great contrast. It kind of looks great. Even in the sky, even with the sky background, even with the green hills. We thought that it might look a bit like odd but it’s really a good contrast even with the green or even with the sunset. It’s just an awesome colour and he Obviously he’s kept the plane awesome.
  • Polished and shined it a lot.
  • Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Especially, exactly.
  • Yeah, pretty much.
  • Yeah but.
  • So how did this one happen? Was he already in the air and you just basically synchronised to be above him and you kept sort of above the runway basically.
  • Yeah, so we went out over the, and this was in Camarillo Airport. So it’s kind of like right by the ocean. So we went out just kind of close to the waterline for the shoot, get some different angles, different lightings. And then when we were headed back, we were like, okay, let’s… We did some other stuff as well and then as the airport was like two minutes away, we kind of called him into that position and then we just dragged him there, over the runway and then he broke off and then we landed. But yeah, I kind of liked those shots as well.
  • Yeah, ’cause I was thinking if you’d have been filming him while he was taking off, that would have been an amazing synchronisation where everyone watches.
  • Oh yeah. I think that they did some videos as well, like in the afternoon and especially when he engaged the afterburner, I think so they, they were trying to get the video as well. And I think we got some good footage as well, but again, I’m not into video and it was again using Scott’s system. So Scott was doing all those funky things with the video, trying to pan the video where he is and all that. But yeah, like they have got some great video footage as well, which I think Jason is building up the website right now and then he might throw in all those things over there.
  • Okay, cool. All right. So we’ve got another photo to show. So let me just start that up again. So I’ll just go to, looks like I have to get it that way, so back. So this one.
  • Oh, yeah.
  • This is an amazing shot. So tell us about this.
  • Yeah, so this was, again lucky, especially like the background story to this is, I think I was in Barcelona the week. I think I flew the week before Friday or Saturday, I think, because it was Cisco Live Europe, which is my company’s customer conference in the European edition of the customer conference. And that was in Barcelona. So I was there from like, I think Saturday to Wednesday or Thursday, I think. Yeah, I was there till, Wednesday I think over there. And my friend who commands one of the units in Nellis, he had a chain of command ceremony on Friday at nine o’clock, you know, in the morning. And I’m there in Barcelona. And then I didn’t have any engagements on like Thursday or Friday. So I decided to come and like return on Thursday itself. So I get on a plane in Barcelona time, like somewhere early in the morning I fly to Frankfurt, get a connection from Frankfurt to San Francisco. Land in San Francisco on like Thursday evening around like three o’clock or something. And it takes me like an hour and a half with traffic and all that to get home. I get home, I throw my bag, get into a shower, shower up, change, pack another bag, take my camera gear, and I’m out the door going into San Jose Airport to fly to Vegas. So on the same day, like I left Europe, I’m like, you know, I’m bound for Vegas in the evening. I landed at Vegas in the night and I just crashed on Thursday night. And then Friday morning I went to his change of command ceremony, that stuff, and then it was just one day off, outside the Nellis Speedway where they had the Red Flag, the 2020 O1 edition that was going on. And a lot of, the brother for the RAAF, the RAF and who was there? I think only these two guys were there. The Royal Air Force had got the, I think a couple of Typhoons and the Tambostores, the F-35B from 817 Squadron, and then you guys had Super Hornets and Growlers, I think number one and number six, right? I believe.
  • I’m not up to speed which ones I know.
  • Yeah, I think so. And then they had the B-1B which again, I have not taken a shot of a B-1 in a long, long time. The weather was gorgeous, as you can see. Beautiful skies, great weather. And this shot just happened out of the blue where this Bone came in first and then it was given a Speedway break and then it was in the pattern while the Growlers were coming. And just to get the whole length of the bone, I was like, I was kind of wide angled and that’s when I just know it was just a lucky shot. I didn’t even see those guys coming in.
  • Yeah.
  • Like, yeah. So that was like YouTube.
  • Yeah, it’s an amazing photo. So just to zoom in I mean, what really intrigues me is this massive, big wing with that sorta spoiler? Am I terminology correct?
  • Yeah just that massive big wing with that’s again up to the the front of it .
  • Oh yeah, oh yeah.
  • And looks like a sniper part on the bottom.
  • Yup, the sniper part yeah.
  • Yeah.
  • So in fact, I learned a lot about the, B-1 when I heard the “Fighter Pilot Podcast”
  • I hate “Fighter Pilot Podcast.”
  • Yeah, the episode on that, on the B-1. And that was like, really, I got to know a lot from that episode as well, like how they use the B-1 you know, how it flies and all that. So yeah it’s a great looking bomber. It’s almost like a fighter.
  • And it’s not that young either. I mean, it’s been around for a long time, isn’t it?
  • Yeah, yeah. I think that the main thing about it is like, when it works, it works, but when it is down it’s a pain for maintenance, I think.
  • Yeah, yeah I can believe that. So.
  • Yeah.
  • Fair enough. Okay, cool. All right. So there’s some at, now you’re gonna send me some more photos to put in the video so people will get to see those, that’s, which is great. Appreciate that. So I thought we’d sort of end the interview with, I’m always fascinated to know what kind of planes people like, particularly on the military side. So from your perspective, what are your 10 favourite military aviation planes and why?
  • Well, I would put the top in dialogue here which might, I think if Zip is listening to this, Zipapambuza of Public Affairs at Fallon, I think I owe him a beer every time he quotes something from “Top Gun” or something.
  • Fair to that.
  • So I think the code I would like to use here is the list is long but distinguished.
  • Yes. I can understand that.
  • Yeah like it’s everything military that kind of intrigues me. If I start from the Warbirds, I grew up with the Spitfire, the Hurricane, the BF-109, BF-110, the FW-190s, the Stuka, who can forget the Stuka. and then Junker 88s, then even the obviously the Lancaster, the Henkel Itchy 111 and all those things, they are just like, awesome. The B-4Os, especially when I remember still, I was think up aboard the B-40s in North Africa. I think it was the number 112 Squadron, which basically carried those sharp mouth it was made famous by buying tilers. But yeah, so like, I love those guys. Like, I think you, the RF used to call it Kitty Hawk, the U.S. guys call it the Warhawk. So those kind of like all those era of fighters and bombers, and then coming to the, the modern age, like the jet age, obviously like things like the MiG-17, the Sabre, but then coming more later, it’s obviously the F-4 Phantom, F-14.
  • Which are probably all perennial favourites at the best of times.
  • Yeah, exactly, right? I think the F-4 Phantom is like someone said it’s a demonstration of like, if you put two engines, even a brick can fly or something like that, right? Yeah, exactly. It’s just a brute force, you know, brute looking aircraft.
  • Yeah.
  • The F-14 is again like just the romance of fighter aviation, right? Immortalised by “Top Gun.”
  • Of course.
  • “Top Gun” I think inspired a whole lot of generation to be fighter pilots, I guess , that movie.
  • Yeah.
  • And then coming closer, it’s like the MiG-21. That’s kind of like the quintessential fighter. MiG-29, just for the curves it has. The F-16 for the same reason, kind of like the canopy and then the curves that it has. The F-15 Eagle, that’s kind of like the, again, the air superiority fighter out there. The Raptor and what else? The Flankers. And then the, especially, I think that the three things that I really came close to getting them in my viewfinder was the, I think the F-111, and I still kick myself in the butt for that, because I think it was 2009 when you guys brought them over to Nellis for the Red Flag. And I was at work and I couldn’t get away. And, or maybe I was lazy, I guess. I don’t know what I thought.
  • You didn’t know they were about to get rid of them.
  • Exactly, and I was like, yeah, I’ll get them, next time or whatever. And then I find out that they are retired and like, oh crap. They were like in my proverbial backyard and I didn’t go. So I still regret that stuff, but then-
  • I consider myself lucky to have seen a few in real life and seen them fly a couple of times, so.
  • Yeah, like there’s another friend of mine who’s in Brisbane, and he actually has, like, I think he dug up his swimming pool and he built a man cave in there. And in that man cave, he has like a full, like a life size, 737 simulator button.
  • Okay. And that one, then he’s got Bell helicopter simulator on jigs and all that stuff. So it kinda moves and all that. And then yeah, he had an 810 simulator. He had a F-16 simulator, which was down but I went a couple of years back, and then he was working on the F-18 simulator. So, but yeah, like so, he used to tell me about those dump and burn stuff that he used to do in the Brisbane River, flying among the skyscrapers and all that stuff. And I was like, ah, man, that would have been a sight to watch.
  • Yeah, yeah.
  • And kind of like you missed that. But then the other thing is like the Blackbird, that’s kind of my sexiest plane ever. Even though it was just used for reconnaissance and, you know, spying stuff and all that. But I would have loved to get that in my viewfinder.
  • Yeah, it’s a very unique and interesting plane that’s for sure.
  • Yeah, yeah.
  • I regret the only photos I have of an F-111 are taken. Now, this is how old is I’m showing my age here. It was on 126 photos So there was a size, wasn’t 35 mil. It was little Instamatic snap camera, and I think the photos are 126. So I have a few shots from a PSA for Space Show. I attended when I was maybe 17 or 18 or 19, which were of an F-111 and then I think there was a couple of the Mirage-3 as well.
  • Oh yeah, right. Yeah. You guys have the Mirages.
  • That’s all I got unfortunately. And they haven’t really had any. Like, I think the last airshow which I’m sure was when I went, they haven’t had any since. So you have to go to the East coast of Australia to get them. even though RAF based peers, which is less than two hours drive from where I live, that’s where all the training happens.
  • Oh, okay.
  • That I think it’s a budget thing, unfortunately.
  • Got it, got it.
  • I was actually scheduled to fly to Melbourne, which is on the other side of Australia, you know that, not everyone watching does. I was scheduled to fly there in March to attend a wedding of a friend’s. And I had scheduled to go to see both of the RAAF museums there, but of course our little friendly Coronavirus spot that one.
  • Oh!
  • So I had to leave.
  • So in fact I remember the last time I went not Avalon, but I think I went there before for a customer meeting and James Kurtley was again kind enough to show me around the museum and kind of share all the tidbit info that he has. Even though his brain might be this size, but I think he’s got like information like around this size in there.
  • He’s got a tad of something in the head.
  • Yeah he’s someone we kind of factored in there with the idea that he was kind enough to show me through the whole museum and all that.
  • Yeah.
  • Next time you may get back to Perth, let me know. Well, I’ll take you down and show you our local museum, which you probably saw a few shots from the live stream I did the other day about that.
  • Right.
  • It’s nowhere near as impressive as some of the other stuff out there, but it’s still pretty cool to see someone there. I mean, it’s got a real live Lancaster there, which is pretty amazing.
  • OH, cool cool. So yeah. Well, mate, well, look, now you’ve mentioned briefly, you had a couple of books, so I just thought I’d show people that. If you hang on a sec, I’ll just find the right page to go to.
  • Right.
  • I gotta figure that one out. Where is it? I have to put the classes on I’m afraid.
  • Yeah, no worries.
  • It’s just wonderful being blind blind. Wow blind, here we go. So I know you’ve recently released this one, so “Things With Wings 1” is available. So tell us a little bit about that.
  • Yeah, so like I was, a long time, again, I’m like trying to create books on that stuff is like not first nature to me. It’s not even second nature. I have to like really, really think hard. So I was like going through like, okay, I need to make a book, but then I was just cycling through, okay, what theme should it be? Should it be like Warbirds or should it be like contemporary? Or should it be like, like the latest stuff, or just like EdWare or, you know, Crown, or whatever it is. And I was just like, just going through them, like as a, you know, we surf the channels right on TV. And like really not making any sense out of it. And then, so I was like, why am I like working so hard to try to get a team? Like, why can’t I just random, you know, I’ll just throw a random series of shots and try to come up with the background story on, you know, what happened. The “Things With Wings” it’s a book, it’s not about like, you wouldn’t be able to find okay, the information on an F-4 Phantom or F-4E, you know. Whatever the aircraft itself. but it’s just a background story on, you know, Hey, what happened? How did I end up? Was there anything interesting that happened in that? So some of those are like, anyone who doesn’t even need to know like F-16 or F-4 Phantoms, or whatever it is, it’s just a general things kind of stories if you will. The in there. So like, I think the first page, so yeah, this was the shoot that I did last year with the Aviation PhotoCrew in Greece. So I went to Greece there and we had the French, the Patrol de France flying over the Acropolis, which was like a great thing. This was my first air-to-air shoot, the T-6 Texan. How did I get that shot, the 810 with the flares and all that? So kind of background stories on how it happened. So it’s kind of like in the heart, like the heart book edition, as well as eBooks. Have a level of flower books, have a level from Apple books as well.
  • How big is the physical book? It’s not big as such. It’s kind of a thin book. Basically I made it more for the electronic version.
  • Okay, yeah.
  • So that’s why I kind of kept it to a small display. Just like some pages, I don’t remember how many pages, but-
  • I think it said 36 pages from memory.
  • Right, Yeah. So that’s one thing is. So yeah, that’s what happened on the background of this book.
  • Okay cool.
  • So its just a random collection of shots with some background story on what happened on that. Also background story on that.
  • Don’t know to to get back outta here.
  • You can just close a window, I guess.
  • No, I don’t think it is.
  • Or the tab.
  • Let’s try that. Nope, okay, never mind. Then we will get, there we go. That slide. Okay cool. So you can buy it in PDF or ebook format and you can also buy it in printer as well. Correct?
  • Right. Yeah, exactly.
  • So I thinks that’s all through- a pile of Apple books, I guess, as well.
  • Yeah, so Kindle, Apple and so forth. So, that’s cool. So yeah anyone who wants to go and check that out, just Google “Things With Wings 1” and put in Blurb, which is where you sell it from. Is that right?
  • Yeah, exactly
  • Yeah okay. So, and I think you said in passing to me that you were working on another book, is that right?
  • Yeah, so just recently, like couple of days ago, I got this, like originally that was the plan, but it didn’t work out. But then I’m going to go ahead with the plan anyways, iS last, no, not last year. Last year was 2019. 2018. I worked with the 64th Aggressive Squadron in Nellis. I am trying to document some of day in the life of those guys, and I came out with a book on the 64th Aggressors called Bandits of, what it’s, it’s a blur right now. Bandits of… Huh! I don’t know. I forgot the name. But it was basically on the-
  • You can send me a picture of the cover. I’ll stick it in the video.
  • Yeah, yeah exactly, 64th Aggressors. So at that time, the CEO of the 18th Aggressors, he was there and he saw the book and he’s like, “Hey, can you do the same thing for my squadron?” And so we started off with that idea, but it didn’t go anywhere. But I still came like went to Alaska to document, you know, a day in the life of a Blue Fox by the . And then I got some good shots, I got great interviews. The crew was like really, really helpful. Especially my contact there, he was like awesome, in trying to help me out. So I got some good material, I’ve got some great shots, I’ve got some great text as well as far as the interview goes. And all that got published in “Airforce Monthly.” That was a two part series. I thought the editor will just try to compress everything into one article and then go with that. But I think he liked that whole thing so much that he went with a two-part series on the 18th Aggressors. So I’m just trying to kind of, you know, get the same kind of text, maybe some a bit more, and then try to make a book of all the other shots that couldn’t go into the articles. And kind of presented to the aggressors.
  • Yeah,
  • But that’s the one thing that I’m kind of looking forward to working on.
  • Okay.
  • That would be a new book somewhere at the end of the year, I guess.
  • All right. Sounds good. Is that gonna be a much bigger one?
  • Yeah, so I’m probably going to go for good you know, lay flat kind of the type of the book. So that way you hit doesn’t have that centre of the page going into the kind of the intro, as they call it, So it’s like trying to get a good meal quality of the book and then, try to go out with that one, instead of just a normal book, right?
  • And it’s like, you’ve used Blurb there. I’ve used Blurb to publish a couple of books before as well. So they give you lots of options for that kind of stuff.
  • Right exactly.
  • Certainly a lot easier to do that now than it was 10 or 20 years ago, if you wanted to publish I a real book.
  • Yeah, exactly, exactly. So I just wanna take advantage of that stuff. And then for me the good thing is I have the materials there, I just need to put it together that book, so.
  • Sure. Okay, so if anyone wants to find anything more about you or check out any of your other photos, what’s the best thing to do? Go to your Facebook page, I guess?
  • Yeah, Facebook page, on that site, like facebook.com/kedarkap. and then on Instagram, it’s kedarsclix. So it’s K-E-D-A-R-S C-L-I-X, right? Those are the, the handles that I have.
  • Yeah, so that’s you. And do you post more on your is it Comoca or is that how it’s pronounced`?
  • Yeah, yeah, Comoca.
  • Yeah, with Facetime or do you post more on the Aviation Photography one on Facebook?
  • Yeah, so the Aviation Photography, like I have like a weekly theme that goes on there and then I kind of take. So then this week you will have obviously have the B-40 Warhawk. That’s the team that’s going on right now. So this bull shot of the Kavanaugh Flight Museum’s B-40. You’re like right there, head on. I just kind of liked that angle. So-
  • How on earth did you get that angle? It’s an amazing shot.
  • So we were, I think in a, if I remember right, yeah, we were in a Caribou.
  • Okay I’ve actually flown in a Caribou, it’s the worst plane flight I’ve ever had. I nearly threw up.
  • No, yeah. The Kavanaugh Flight Museum guys they have a Caribou, which is a veteran of the Vietnam War.
  • So the back can drop down, right?
  • Yeah, so the back hatch down and then you’re like right there flying. So on the photography page, it’s more about like themes of every week.
  • Yeah.
  • So, and I’m on my regular page, I just post whatever the latest that I worked on. So that’s out of Avalon.
  • Yep, there’s another Facetime shot.
  • Yep. I now know to look for that with you as your signature shoot and move as it were.
  • Okay, cool.
  • So that’s one where they can catch me as well. And then Instagram as well.
  • And with your photos, if anyone wants to buy them or have prints made from them, do you offer anything like that as an option?
  • Yeah, so if you go to the SmugMug page that I have, it’s a k.k.smugmug.com. Or just kedar.smugmug.com, not K.
  • Smugmug.com
  • And that should get, there you go.
  • Okay. All right. And so-
  • They can even browse… Yeah, they can browse to airshows and then they can go through all of the other stuff that I have.
  • And let’s say if they wanna buy a photo or do you do prints or just photos?
  • Yeah, I think they do a whole lot of other stuff. Prints and metallic prints or canvas or whatever.
  • Yeah, awesome. Check that out, views@kedar.smugmug.com. Definitely worth looking at it. I didn’t even know about that one. So, I remember seeing some of your picture. This is the, it’s the F-82, is it?
  • The SB-82, in fact. It was the second prototype that they built and that flew.
  • Right.
  • And I think it’s Tom Riley, if I’m not mistaken, who really painstakingly, restored this flying. Again, it takes one of a kind in the world, still flying.
  • Yeah, its beautiful.
  • Yup, great restoration by the group.
  • Yup. Alrighty, awesome. Well, let me get rid of the screen share so. Well mate, look, I really appreciate your taking the time to come on and have a chat to me much. That was great. And as I said, next time you get to Perth, give me a yell and I’ll take you on a tour of the museum and you can tell me some old fun stories.
  • Absolutely, especially these days, it’s more about like virtual meetings.
  • Well, yeah. I mean. Look, I was hoping I could maybe get to New York at some stage for the effort in 50th celebration, but now scheduled for, I think they said April, but I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to get out of the country by that stage. So it sucks, but it is what it is.
  • Yeah, exactly. Like that’s sort of like it’s been a lot of, I think since obviously the last short in matters, but it’s been like almost months that I haven’t like had face to face conversations with just friends, right?
  • Yeah.
  • It’s becoming a luxury right now.
  • Yes , I know what you mean. I mean, we’re not too bad here at Perth. We managed it really well, so we can go out and we can go to restaurants and all that sort of stuff now. But yeah, I mean three months of not being able to go out and just have a meal with a friend was a really weird and not so enjoyable experience.
  • Yeah, yeah exactly.
  • All this is just great, but yeah, what’s first face to face is face to face. Like you can’t take it out of the equation.
  • Yeah, I think I read somewhere, somebody said, if you’d have predicted this, you would’ve bought shares in Zoom because their share price went nuts after this all started.
  • Right, exactly, yeah. There’s a whole lot of companies doing the virtual meetings right now, right?
  • Yeah, exactly so. All right, well mate, thank you very much for coming on. I really appreciate it. And I’ll check this up in the group and on YouTube at some stage and yeah, we’ll go from there. So yeah. I just want. Yeah, good to talk to you.
  • Yeah, same here.
  • Bye.

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