A Pearl Harbor Photo Pilgrimage.

A low-light sensitive imaging sensor and a perspective control lens were used for capturing this dramatic predawn view of the Pearl Harbor National Monument's new visitor center for - Seattle Architect The Portico Group. Photo by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

A low-light sensitive imaging sensor and a perspective control lens were used for capturing this dramatic predawn view of the Pearl Harbor National Monument’s new visitor center for – Seattle Architect The Portico Group. Photo by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

Multimedia essay by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

Whether you’re a filmmaker, fine-artist or commercial photographer, you need to be resourceful in a full-spectrum of talents to have viewers take a serious interest in your work.

For the past 12 years I’ve made traveling to the Hawaiian Islands a priority.  In this tropic paradise, my experience is one of creative renewal, brought on by inspiration from the Island’s “Aloha spirit” and dramatic volcanic landscapes.

Iconic view of Diamond Head, from Waikiki. Photo: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

Iconic view of Diamond Head, from Waikiki. Photo: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

On the Island of Oahu, Pearl Harbor, has been a great interest for me. Some years back, The Portico Group — a Seattle architectural firm began exploratory work for designing a component of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Pearl_Harb_VC_BPP_e76

In 2008, I contacted a principal architect, Mike Ham at Portico with news of my planned travel to Oahu.  At that time, preliminary stages of design were just taking place and there wasn’t much opportunity in photographing the site. Undeterred, I made arrangements for a window seat on a Hawaiian Airlines, Boeing 767, which would allowed access for aerial photographs of the Pearl Harbor site. Fortunately, clear weather did allow me to photograph the Monument on approach to Honolulu Airport.

There are beautiful architectural design elements within the visitor center. This one captures a Zen like composition. Photo: David Johanson Vasquez

There are beautiful architectural design elements within the visitor center. This one captures a Zen like composition. Photo: David Johanson Vasquez

Upon returning from the trip to Oahu, my aerial photos were emailed to the architect.  I followed up with a phone call … although the feedback was polite it was revealed the timing was still too early in the project for the firm to consider using photography.

If you’re a dedicated photographer, you realize the value of patience and learning from both success and failure while reaching for your objective. This applies to resourceful technical and creative approaches, which are used to achieve your vision and the equally challenging strategic applications used for marketing that unique vision.

Looking back from the Arizona Memorial  towards the new World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument Visitor Center.  Photo: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

Looking back from the Arizona Memorial towards the new World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument Visitor Center. Photo: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

By emailing new photographic work over several months, I kept in contact with Portico and learned in 2010 that the project was nearing completion.  Unfortunately for me, I would not be able to attend the December 7th dedication and would be arriving in Hawaii two months later. It was decided by the architectural firm, that a local architectural photographer would be hired to shoot the new center.

The new World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument's Visitor Center is a popular destination for national & international visitors.

The new World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument’s Visitor Center is a popular destination for national & international visitors.

Undaunted, I asked for the opportunity to photograph the visitor center in February, with no financial obligation to the firm.  The architect agreed to this offer by providing me with a National Park Service administration contact in Honolulu.

Youth and elders view a globe showing where the conflict in the Pacific  was fought during World War II. Photo: David Johanson Vaquez ©

Youth and elders view a globe showing where the conflict in the Pacific was fought during World War II. Photo: David Johanson Vaquez ©

A couple of weeks before flying to Hawaii, my contact allowed me to view images the Honolulu photographer took back in December. The photo coverage was good, with many angles of the new center shot, using various times of day for best light.  This review confirmed my approach would have to be a new approach from what was previously used. With the help of some intense research methods using Internet images and information gathered, I became familiar with the site’s geographical attributes before arriving.

At 30-thousand feet in a Hawaiin Airliner Boeing 767, we begin our decent as we approach the Island of Oahu. Photo: David Johanson Vasquez ©

At 30-thousand feet in a Hawaiin Airliner Boeing 767, we begin our decent as we approach the Island of Oahu. Photo: David Johanson Vasquez ©

The February, 2011 flight to Hawaii was pleasant and as the plane was approaching Oahu I could clearly see Honolulu. However, after de-boarding the plane, blue sky had given way to a partial mixture of dark clouds.  Phoning the national park services, contacts, the staff informed me the forecast was not promising for my intended early morning photo shoot. So I decided to be flexible for the next week, while watching local weather forecasts for an early morning photo opportunity. After a few relaxing days under a blend of tropical sun mixed with passing clouds, a favorable forecast came in for the assignment.

Entrance to the Pearl Harbor National Monument's Visitor Center. The Battleship Missouri & USS Arizona Memorial are in the background.

Entrance to the Pearl Harbor National Monument’s Visitor Center. The Battleship Missouri & USS Arizona Memorial are in the background.

Traveling in darkness I arrived at the site, prepared to use the predawn light.  Scouting the visitor center a few days before, revealed a hill, which would be ideal as a shooting platform. Using some available artificial low light, I took a series of carefully composed photographs. Soon twilight gave way to sunrise, revealing a vibrant panorama backdrop of multicolored clouds in my viewfinder.  As morning light lit the visitor center, I joined the legions of visitors descending upon open gates.

The forward magazine of USS Airzona exploded after being hit by a Japanese bomb , December 7, 1941. Frame clipped from a color motion picture frame taken from on board USS Solace.Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection

The forward magazine of USS Airzona exploded after being hit by a Japanese bomb, December 7, 1941. Frame clipped from a color motion picture taken from on board USS Solace.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection

The "Tree of Life" sculpture,  is used as a universal symbol for renewal and rebirth of life.

The “Tree of Life” sculpture, is used as a universal symbol for renewal and rebirth of life.

The shores of Pearl Harbor, and the Arizona Memorial, have persistently drawn me to this honored site. Several members of my family have served in the military, and I have gratitude for the dedication and sacrifices during their time of service.  What began at this historic site, as a surprise Japanese attack, on an early December 7, 1941 morning, brought our country into WWII.  The individuals, who were under fire here, exemplify the strongest dedication to preserving and defending our nation, particularly those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. An unseen force pulls me to this place, and I offer homage to what happened at his historic site.

This photo which was taken September 1941, is part of another essay on Cuba and Panama, which was impacted by the Pearl Harbor attack.

This photo taken in September 1941, is part of another essay on Cuba and Panama, which was impacted by the Pearl Harbor attack.

The first photo essay I posted using WordPress was about my mother as a young girl traveling to Cuba and then Panama by a steam-liner in September of 1941. My grandmother was taking my mom and her baby brother to the Canal Zone to meet with my grandfather who was stationed there with the Navy. They had only been united for a couple of months before Pearl Harbor was attacked. My mom along with all Americans were forced to evacuate, for fear of a Japanese invasion. A German U-boat shadowed the ship my family was evacuated on in the Gulf of Mexico and I’ve included a link at the end of this essay for a related story on the Pearl Harbor attack.

USS Missouri "Mighty Mo" Iowa Class Battleship - The last battleship built by the U.S. and was the historic site on which the Japanese Emperor  signed the surrender agreement to end World War II.

USS Missouri “Mighty Mo” Iowa Class Battleship – The last battleship built by the U.S. and was the historic site on which the Japanese Emperor signed the surrender agreement to end World War II. Photo: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

My appreciation for 20th century history is another reason for my interest in this National Monument. Historically the Pearl Harbor attack represents a great milestone, a solid beginning as Pax Americana —[the U.S. ascending position as undisputed world leader for the second half of the 20th Century.]

Once inside the Monument’s entrance, helpful park service staff greeted me, as they were expecting my visit. The beautiful tropical morning light illuminated the site ideally as I photographed the visitor’s center from all the best angles.  Pearl_Harb_VC_BPP_e815

Leaving Pearl Harbor after a successful shoot, I felt fortunate the weather had been so cooperative, as it produced a combination of soft, diffused light with interesting clouds to ad sky texture.

Photo: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

Photo: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

For my remaining visit on Oahu, was an enjoyable and relaxing time with family and friends.

At Jackie & Mark's home we're etertaine with some live Hawaiian Music.

At Jackie & Mark’s home we’re etertained with some live Hawaiian Music.

We all came together for couple of nights to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday in Hawaiian style with great food, live music and Hula dancing.

Our Hawaiian host coach the Johanson father & sons act to do "The 3-Step Male Hula Method"

Our Hawaiian host coach the Johanson father & sons act to do “The 3-Step Male Hula Method”

Celebrating the former Marine, Dave Johanson's 80th-birthday near Honolulu, Hawaii.

Celebrating the former Marine, Dave Johanson’s 80th-birthday near Honolulu, Hawaii.

Waikiki umbrella 2011

Of course I found some time for my personal photography work. Hawaii has some remarkable subject matter, which is always worth discovering. Pearl Harb essay 2011

Beside the gorgeous tropical landscapes there is a diversity of Ocean Culture to experience.

On the Island of Oahu there are urban scenes with blends of South Pacific, Asian and North American cultures creating a unique, Pan-Pacific experience.

One of my creative specialities is night or low-light photography. The moon over head gave a halo rim-light on the palm trees.

One of my creative specialities is night or low-light photography. The moon over head gave a halo rim-light on the palm trees.

Honolulu has some high-density urban environments with high-rise hotels and condominiums.

Honolulu has some high-density urban environments with high-rise hotels and condominiums.

Perhaps the sense of renewal I experience while working and playing in Hawaii is due to this unique fusion of culture created on the Islands.

A night view overlooking Waikiki Beach and the volcano crater Diamond Head. David Johanson Vasquez — ©

A night view overlooking Waikiki Beach and the volcano crater Diamond Head. David Johanson Vasquez — ©

Photo: David Johanson Vasquez ©

Photo: David Johanson Vasquez ©

Pearl_Harb_VC_BPP_a1373

Pearl_Harb_VC_BPP_2ec1432

A skyline view of Honolulu's Waikiki area. —David Johanson Vasquez ©

A skyline view of Honolulu’s Waikiki area. —David Johanson Vasquez ©

Another influence I draw from this land is the constant vibrant growth of plant life — along with continuous volcanic activity, which never slows down as it furiously creates new land on a daily bases.

Upon returning to a cold winter in Seattle, several days went by before a meeting could be scheduled with the Portico Group.  Once the meeting did take place, a couple of lead architects, along with marketing manager, Leigh Tucker, reviewed the photographs I brought in.  The response was enthusiastic and appreciative for the photographs presented, along with compliments for my approach of using subtle light to help illuminate compositions. Two dramatic photographs were purchased at the presentation in order to meet a deadline for an architectural awards competition-taking place that week. These initial purchases covered all my expense of travel and lodging  while on Oahu. Within days, more images were acquired from me, which featured views not included in the earlier photography completed at the December dedication event.

This rewarding photographic experience was a classic lesson in fortitude, patience passion and not giving up, no matter how challenging the odds are.

Nighttime on Waikiki Beach.— David Johanson Vasquez

Nighttime on Waikiki Beach.
— David Johanson Vasquez ©

Mahalo nui loa! ~

Resource Links for more information and learning:

World War II Valor in the Pacific – World War II Valor in the Pacific National

Monument

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument – Arizona Memorial

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument | National Park Foundation

The Portico Group | Architects | Landscape Architects | Interpretive Planners | Exhibit Designers

Flights to Hawaii, Hawaii Vacations & Travel – Hawaiian Airlines

Male hula dance: Learn the movements…

Pearl Harbor Images

A Glimpse Into Havana’s Legendary Watering Hole | bigpictureone

Advertisements

Tribute to A Civic Titan Whose Influence Is Woven Into a Postmodern Pacific Northwest.

Text and photos by: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights

Governor Albert Rossellini with representatives of the Armed Services on Veterans Day 1961.

The first time I met former Governor Al Rossellini was 20 years ago when I photographed him on assignment for the Boeing Company.  It was at Seattle’s City Hall in the early 1990’s where he was meeting with mayor Norm Rice and various other city officials. I remember how warmly he greeted me when I entered the room and how his great smile and enthusiasm could instantly charm, while putting you at ease.

Albert Rossellini was a Democrat Governor for the State of Washington from 1957 to 1965; during an era some historians consider the beginning of postmodern history.  His terms as governor were distinguished by major accomplishments and his résumé would be the envy of any serving governor today.  Rossellini championed foremost regional development of public infrastructure, including expanding of the state highway system, and oversaw construction of the worlds’ longest floating bridge, which spanned Lake Washington.  He was a governor who proved his belief in the value of public education, making every effort to enhance the states’ universities and helped to develop a regional community college system.  Al Rossellini also had a rare, over-the-horizon-vision; which embraced economic development, by creating a state department of commerce which successfully help land the Seattle Worlds Fair in 1962.  Many of Rossellini’s accomplished goals, launched the states’ economic trajectory towards becoming a national and international player, which has been well sustained into the 21st century.

Last January I sat down with former governor Rossellini at a dinner party held for him to celebrate his 101st birthday.  I felt  honored having a conversation with a civic leader whose vision and action helped shape the political/economic dynamics of the Pacific Northwest .  Another distinction I experienced was being in the presence of a centenarian with a great sense of humor, quick wit and enthusiasm for discussing a variety of subjects.  Within just a few months of the dinner party, the unstoppable Al Rossellini would achieve yet another outstanding accomplishment, a record for being the longest surviving governor in United States History!

My brother Jim setup the dinner party at his home to celebrate the governors’ birthday. He’s been a friend of former governor Rossellini for several years now and wanted us all to have an opportunity to celebrate the occasion.  My parents were also invited and in attendance for the governors dinner party.   Towards the end of the event, my dad revealed a photo he had saved for 50 years, it was of governor Rossellini with my dad, along with four other members of the armed services. Written on the back of the photo by a department of defense photographer was: Veterans Day 1961, state capitol, Olympia, Washington.  As  both men reminisced about the event, I grabbed my camera and proclaiming, “here’s a Paul Dorpat moment,” (the name of a photo historian, who shoots the series “Now & Then” of historical montages for the Seattle Times Newspaper.)  Without direction, the senior citizens placed themselves as they had been positioned 50 years ago for the Veterans’ Day photograph.  Some weeks afterwards, I scanned the black & white photograph and compared it to the digital photo I had recently taken at the party. Marveling at the analogue print as a piece of ephemera in my hands; I mused on its value as a recorded fragment from half a century back in-time.  Now the two photographic events, which were separated by decades, are united,  representing  a wonderful continuity of the two men, in their golden years of life.

Governor Albert Rossellini with representatives of the Armed Services on Veterans Day 1961.


                                                                                 

In the contemporary history of Washington State,  Al Rossellini’s accomplishments have served the region exceptionally well and will continue to do so for many years to come.  With Governor Rossellini’s death this week, he will be dearly missed by his loving family, grateful friends and admiring colleagues.  For those in the State of Washington who are not aware of this great civic leader, Albert Dean Rossellini, just take a big look around, his supportive influence is just about everywhere, seamlessly woven into the fabric of our region.

Al was always a fountain of energy, continuing to the very end his devotion of helping a good cause;  perhaps sometime in the future he’ll take a break from his retirement in the sky and send some much-needed advice and vision back to our civic leaders…


Mac Ghost Encounter, Captured Within a Historic Cabin.

Woken by a sudden sound within the darkened cabin revealed a strange glowing light moving across the ceiling.

Photos and story by: David Johanson Vasquez  © All Rights

For over 50 years my wife’s family has owned a two-bedroom cabin next to the Naches River within the Eastern Cascade Mountains. The cabin was built within Wenatchee National Forest, early in the last century and is part of a historic cabin community.

From Seattle, the drive takes less than three hours via Highway 410, and brings you over towering Chinook Pass. This Pass intersects with the glorious Pacific Crest Trail, which travels over mountain ridges from Western Canada to Mexico.  Looking west from this panorama reveals a stunning, up-close view of the iconic stratovolcano, Mount Rainier. Descending Chinook pass, you travel a steep grade, past scenic waterfalls tumbling from lofty jagged mountain peaks. Eventually you come to a mountain valley, which follows the American River before it joins forces with the larger Naches River.

Naches River with Highway 410 in background.

    

I’ve always admired this cabin’s secluded setting, hidden underneath stands of mammoth pine and fir trees. The nearby geography is fascinating, if not a bit eerie; above the site are mountain peaks, surrounded by countless basalt columns of rock resembling giant statues frozen in some stoic pantomime. Wild winds occasionally blow through creating deep resonating sounds as they brush past the rock columns.

A full moon illuminates basalt walls standing over the valley bellow. There are many natural caves in the area, one in particular is massive and a favored destination for hikers during hot summer days. In earlier times, Native American Indians used it for shelter as well as ceremonies when traveling through these lands to reach Chinook Pass, for passage over the steep Cascades.

Slide area caused from a broken snow dam. The event shot boulders, trees and a torrent of water down ravines, causing a 50' high tsunami to rush by our cabin.

Last year, a few miles down Highway 410 from our cabin, a massive landslide made national news as part of a mountain gave-way; destroying several homes, diverting the Naches River and buried a large part of the highway, which is now permanently detoured across the river. This past spring, another natural event took place with a creek next to our cabin.  A sudden, disastrous occurrence nearly wiped out several historic cabins. Last winter’s record snowfall had been so great; it created huge dams of water when warm spring weather finally arrived. A mountain peak miles above the cabin had its massive snow dam burst, sending tons of ice, mud and trees down a series of steep ravines leading toward the valley bellow.  As this blast of mud and trees approached lower elevation, it turned into a terrifying 50-foot high tsunami.  Choked with tons of fast moving debris, it gouged out a new shoreline, ripping and tearing thick trees from their foundation and depositing them onto Highway 410.  Amazingly, no deaths occurred from this event and it only caused minor damage to nearby cabin, fortunately sparing ours from harm.

The cabin has seen many gatherings of family and friends.

For me, whenever I return to our cabin, I feel renewed;  relaxed by hearing an enchanting melody created from the babbling creek while blending with sounds of wind blowing through evergreens and smelling fragrant scents of pinewood.  I’m not quite sure why, but many of us who come to visit experience vivid dreams when sleeping here.  Perhaps being able to decompress from routine urban activities, allows for a more natural dream environment.

The twilight curtain is pulled back, revealing timeless constellations.

My sister-in-law, Kathy, whose best friend, Shelly, is known to have psychic abilities; she came up one weekend to the cabin a few years back with Kathy and my mother-in-law.  Apparently some unusual, unexplainable sounds happened, along with other strange events, giving them an impression — this cabin is a “spirit rich environment.”  They believed the main spirit presence was from my father-in-law, who had always favored the cabin and passed-on a few years before. Intrigued by the reported cabin event, I came up later that year with my cameras prepared and set them on long exposures in various locations, to capture any supernatural occurrences.  After making several attempts, I discovered, without using a hefty amount of imagination, I wasn’t able to find anything resembling a spirit presence in my photographs. Disenchanted with my efforts, I lost interest and forgot about the specter sighting.

A few weeks back, I returned with family members to the cabin for some quality R&R. There are many great hiking trails nearby with wonderful scenic views. We chose to hike past the community’s pioneer cemetery and beyond to a gravel road which leads to the mountains above us. Our hike was abruptly halted by what the river tsunami had done. We were shocked by how violently this rushing wall of water and trees, ripped apart what was once a well-built road, leaving a crater more than 300 feet wide. No longer usable, the Forest Service closed it indefinitely since they no longer have a budget to keep up all but the most essential roads.

Worn out from our hike under a warm summer sun, we made dinner and resolved to watch a movie. As we were about to begin our feature, an event happened which fixed our focus on a place near an antique Franklin stove. One of the pet carriers we brought with, made a sound as if a dog was inside, trying to push it open. Not one of our dogs were near it, so we were a little startled, but decided to laughed it off and began our video.

Mac ghost projection on the ceiling above the curtains.

After our movie we were all tired and called it an evening to fall asleep. About 3:30 in the morning a sound woke me up. Peering into a dark room, I assumed I was awoken by snoring from a nearby family member. Trying to get back to sleep I began closing my eyes when some soft white light captured my attention. Appearing like fine mist, it shimmered while hovering above a set of drapes and overflowed to the ceiling. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming this, or possibly I was only half asleep while just imaging the event.  My next assumption was… perhaps it was caused by moonlight entering into the room, but how could it be coming in with all drapes closed?  Now I began recalling the alleged spirit sighting a few years back. As hair began standing on the back my neck, I laid there lifelessly as to not disturb the mysterious specter. This light seemed so unearthly, that it reminded me of years ago when I was photographing in Alaska’s Arctic region;  experiencing up-close, the surreal northern lights above me as it moved like some cosmic curtain across the sky. Collecting myself, I grabbed a camera and held it on top of my chest, pointing its lens at the floating light. Holding a deep breath, I took half a minute exposures. Mesmerized by the scene, I shot close to a dozen photos before gathering enough courage to approach the buoyant glow. Now, only a few feet away from the radiance, I saw some movement in an adjacent room. Turning my head slowly, I viewed my brother-in-law with his hands grasping his ipad as he worked on some project. The origin of this mysterious luminosity was now revealed;  it was light coming from his electronic display, being projected through two semi-closed doors. Partly disappointed and relieved at the same time by a false phantom sighting; I  became inspired by this event and began taking photos in the cabin’s predawn light to create a series of subtle compositions.

The source of the specter is revealed.

The next morning I used the mistaken spirit sighting for a spoof on my family, with a serious expression, I announced a supernatural encounter late at night, which I photographed.  After breakfast, I ran a cable from my camera into a TV to share what I had captured.  Eyes were now riveted towards the TV screen, waiting to see the alleged spirit. When photos began appearing, gasps were being expressed at what appeared to be a specter sighting.  Having successfully pulled off my prank, I then showed the last photo, which exposed the real culprit behind this hoax, which was my brother-in-law holding his “Mac ghost ipad projector.” About half the gathering laughed while others groaned at being spoofed by a supernatural story.

Now the cabin has one more campfire story to add to it its colorful list of tales, until the next one is experienced or manufactured.  Happy sightings…

Paine Field in the Pacific Northwest is becoming an aviation mecca.

  

In
Paine Field’s, General Aviation Day takes place in mid-May, located next to a vast aviation center— including the world largest building (by volume), where Boeing/MacDonald assembles most of its commercial aircraft. Included in the aviation center is an ultramodern Future of Flight museum, all clustered around an international airport.

General Aviation Day 2013, is on, Saturday, May 18th, Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For details please visit:  http://www.painefield.com/

General Aviation Day 2012, is on, Saturday, May 19th, for details please visit:  http://www.painefield.com/    

 

Photos & story by: David Johanson Vasquez  © All Rights

    Wow, I knew to expect a great event from the warbirds appearing at the General Aviation Day, but I had known idea it would be so fantastic! This dynamic annual aircraft exhibition held at Paine Field in Everett, WA has one of the best settings for such an event and is becoming a major “aviation mecca.”

A surprise appearance of a Boeing Dreamlifter has photographers scrambling to get a shot.

Aerial view of Paine Field Airport, in Everett, WA, looking north. The airfield in managed by Snohomish County.

Paine Field’s, General Aviation Day takes place in mid May, located next to a vast aviation center; including the world largest building (by volume), where Boeing/MacDonald assembles most of it’s commercial aircraft, along with an ultramodern Future of Flight museum, all clustered around an international airport.  Located next to these aviation assets are Paul Allen’s, (cofounder of Microsoft and commercial space visionary/developer) Flying Heritage Collection and John T. Session’s (Seattle attorney and entrepreneur) Historic Flight Foundation.

    It’s remarkable this quality of event has such minimal admission fees, yet it offers the public a rare opportunity to walk right next to these historic World War II airplanes; to look inside at flight controls and touch the aircraft aluminum skin of these fierce flying machines. Only minutes later these same vintage World War II fighters, bombers and scout planes are beginning to fire up their inline and radial engines; which sounds like a monstrous dragon clearing it’s throat until there’s just a steady roar that grabs everyone’s attention. As one airplane after another takes off and returns making multiple passes, spectators are lining the edge of the airfield and to watch in awe.

Formation flying over a navy blue warbird with her mighty wings folded.

    At midday the participating, Historic Flight Foundation open house began. Within the Foundation’s grounds were scores of World War II aircraft, along with dozens of people in army uniforms of the era; I had to remind myself… this was not a movie I was watching, nor a dream… but an actual live event. Even Steven Spielberg couldn’t have outdone the staging or realism for this assortment of warbirds, soldiers in uniform and military equipment of the era.

Is that Steven Spielberg

Is that Steven Spielberg wearing an aviation hat in the background? No, it’s John T. Sessions, founder of Historic Flight Foundation.

Having taught history of photography courses,  I added some postmodern sepia to photos from the event.

Constructed in 1936, Paine Field was a works progress administration project during the great depression. Most of the vintage collections began flying shortly after the Field started operating, so it’s fitting the warbirds are now roosting here. Inspired by history and the original purpose for these aircraft; I employed digital post production techniques for the images in an attempt to recreate a photographic “look” of the 1930’s and 1940’s. In particular, sepia-tone as well as early Kodachrome transparencies inspired my recreated images.

This image looks so authentic, as if it could’ve been taken 60 years ago.

Another birds-eye view of the warbirds.

It’s rare to see such multigenerational enthusiasm for a public event. Especially seen within children and adolescent’s eyes were  genuine looks of awe and wonder from what these aircraft inspire. Seeing the kids excitement resonated with my own memories about aviation when I was a youth. The fact that these historic fighters and bombers were not just static displays — but actually flying at “tree-top-levels”  — whose roaring, rumbling engines you could feel, hear, and smell –captivated every age-group’s attention.

Cub Scouts enjoying the day, viewing vintage aircraft making fly-overs.

One particular image in the photomontage series below, captures the wonder within faces of a group of youth standing underneath the wing of a Historic Flight Foundation bomber, just as an aircraft roars nearby. The adage –“a picture, tells a thousand words” applies to this one; but also simply put…  a face can sum it up with just one… wow!

Hope for the future, by remembering the past.

Female pilot inspects the B25 she’s ready to take into the sky.

Here’s my flying quote of the day — “Both optimist and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.” ~ Gil Ster

Look, up in the sky it’s a tight formation of warbirds.

Yes, that tough cat really does have claws.

“Navy blue” ready for takeoff with a ribbon of Cascade Mountains in background.

Looking and touching is encouraged for a great live interactive experience.

An awesome flyby with two fighters accompanying a B25 bomber.

Up close and personal views of warbird taxing for takeoff.

Plane spotting groupie at Paine Field’s GAD vintage airshow.

This warbird isn’t shy and knows how to be a crowd pleaser!

Never a dull moment for a full house, and plenty of flybys to see.

For over three generations these warbirds still inspire awe on the faces of youth and elders alike.

Something for the entire family to enjoy, learn and share from.

Another target rich environment for photographers.

Inspired by the wings of flight.

A target rich environment for airplane spotting photographers.

This vintage navy warbird gets ready to fly by modern Boeing airliners.

Mom and dad with kids in tow to see a great show.

A sunshine halo encircles vintage warbirds returning home from a successful flight.

Father and son with a birds-eye view from top of the world.