Outdoorphoto Blog » Wouda Interviews Local Aviation Photographer Justin de Reuck

Wouda Interviews Local Aviation Photographer Justin de Reuck

BEGINNER

Aviation, aerial and air-to-air, Justin de Reuck is a born and bred Capetonian who captures thrilling moments in the sky. Although he has travelled extensively throughout his life, he has always called CPT home. Quite the outdoors kind-a-guy, he enjoys keeping fit, trail running, cycling and hiking with his wife Marilee and his three kids, Leah, Joel and Emily.

Photograph of an aircraft flying over the ocean

Back to photography

At the age of 12, Justin started experimenting with photography, shooting 35mm film and even built his own dark room for black-and-white processing, stating that “Back in the day, photographers didn’t earn a decent living and spent a fortune on film and processing”. So he decided that he had better get “some sort” of  post-matric education. He went onto Electrical Engineering, qualified as a Construction and Installation Electrician and sadly, photography took a backseat. In 2003, with the dawning of the digital age, Justin realised that it was time to get back to his real passion – photography. He quotes, “Passion is easy to fake but impossible to hide”.

Striking photograph of 4 aircrafts flying in unisen

A memorable moment

In his career as photographer, Justin describes his most memorable moment was when he had the opportunity to fly with the Silver Falcons. In case you didn’t know, the Silver Falcons is South Africa’s Airforce aerobatic display team. Just imagine yourself strapped in the back ejection seat of a PC-7 (a low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft) in tight formation, doing acrobatics! To top it off, he was present to witness a ramp shoot out of a Lockheed C-130, more commonly known as a Hercules. (A ramp shoot is when, during flight, they lower the cargo ramp at the rear end of the aircraft at which time the photographer goes and sits on the ramp and  to take photos.)

Photograph of an aircraft flying above the clouds

Top 5 photography tips

Justin share’s his top 5 photography tips to nail that air-to-air shot:

1. Shutter Speed

It needs to be slow enough to capture enough movement on the propeller or rotors. Speeds will vary from 1/125sec to 1/50sec depending on the subject.

2. Background

Even though you’re in the air, choosing your background carefully can make or break a good aerial image.

3. Horizon

The horizon must be level, however this is not always easy as the cameraship often mkaes in tight aerobatic turns which may not even be the right way up. But no matter what, the horizon must be level.

4. Light

This might be obvious to some, but during an air-to-air shoot, the light is constantly changing; not only on your subject, but on the background too. You need to be aware of both and shoot according to the mood that you’re trying to create.

5. Emotion

A good photograph should always evoke emotion. “When people look at one of my images and ask how I managed to shoot that, I know that I’ve achieved a huge part of the success of the image.”

Justin’s suggested gear list

Camera Bodies

Lenses

Lighting

  • Elinchrom Range Quadra
  • 3x Canon 580 EX II Speedlights
  • 1x Elinchrom Skyport
  • 2x Pocket Wizard TT5 Flex
  • 1x Pocket Wizard TT1 Mini

Storage

Another air-to-air photograph by Justin de Reuck. This time of the popular Iron Maiden 747 Boeing

Suggestions for beginners at an Air Show

Justin says that when shooting at Air Shows, it is better to use a long lens to ensure you get a great shot. If you’re on a budget, he suggests a 75-300mm, but if you can afford something like the 100-400mm, it would be an even better choice. (Luckily our clients have the option of renting lenses!)

Photograph of a beautiful cobalt blue and yellow aircraft flying above the ocean

Post-production

With this genre of photography, post is simple. Think cropping, sharpening, colour management and the usual exposure sliders. Nothing fancy. If need be, you can clone distracting objects in the background. That’s pretty much it.

Photograph of an aircraft flying with the sun setting behind it

A helping hand

You might not know, but Justin still owns and manages an Electronic Contracting company, which keeps him quite busy when he’s not out shooting. He is also quite involved in his local church and often uses his photography and electrical skills to help out with community projects. If Justin had one dream come true, it would be to go along on a mission to the International Space Station as the OFFICIAL photographer!

There you have it, Justin de Reuck. Talented aerial photographer and all-round good guy!

An air-to-air photograph of the Silver Falcons flying close together
An air-to-air photograph of two jets flying close together
Photograph of 5 Silver Falcons flying next to one another
Photograph of 4 aircrafts flying perfectly one behind the other
Air-to-air photograph of a red aircraft
Photograph of an aircraft flying in the sky
Photograph of a helicopter
A photograph of an aircraft with fireworks going off behind it

About the Author:

Wouda McMicken spends her work days as part of the driven Outdoorphoto team. She enjoys photography, especially experimenting with her treasured Nikon Film camera. The privilege of doing interviews with Professional Photographers all over the world is what makes her get up in the mornings, excited for a new day’s work. She is a self-confessed klutz and can be easily bribed with a stylish pair of jeans or good food. Having the ‘need’ for her nails to be neatly painted at all times, fresh jam doughnuts and salted caramel ice cream is her kryptonite. She dreams of a future filled with sunny skies, palm trees and sandy beaches with her Ukulele and a Piña Colada close by.

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