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Sıtkı Atasoy

SHG Airshow 2020 From the Eyes of SPOTTERS

Issue 7 - 2020
SHG Airshow 2020 From the Eyes of SPOTTERS

We mentioned a spotting day event that took place in Moscow in our previous article. And in this article, we will be illustrating the annual SHG  Airshow that takes place in our country.

Like many other people, I had to watch the SHG Airshow 2020 far from the field as I could not attend due to certain issues arising from the pandemic that we have all been going through this year. 

Many groundbreaking developments which you will be reading about in detail in the following paragraphs occurred throughout this event and even though I could not be there up-close and in person, I had the chance to watch it live and was able to make my own observations. On this occasion, I was appointed to present to you content which could be enriched with the observations of my aviation photographer colleagues who attended the event.

The International Airshow officially dubbed as SHG Airshow is hosted every year at the "Sivrihisar Aviation Center – Necati Artan Premises” and is organized by the Sivrihisar Sportive Aviation Club in an effort to embrace aviation fans of all ages, worldwide. 

The SHG Airshow offers priceless opportunities to people of all age groups, mostly the youth who are curious about aviation. This very fascinating organization was held for the first time in 2015 and has been growing in popularity with each passing year and has grabbed attention in the international arena as well. 

This year similar events were cancelled, postponed or transferred to virtual platforms in many countries. As for our country, SHG Airshow 2020 was carried out with limited participation of only aviation photographers and flight crews along with the implementation of additional health measures.

The aviation photographers at this year’s event were particularly interested in the event which involved many restrictions due to the measures adopted because of the pandemic. Unfortunately, only aviation photographers that were selected based on an objective evaluation that was made according to the identified quota were accepted to be present on the field. The point we are most pleased about is the fact that decision-makers have grasped the concept that aviation photography is important and influences promotion of aviation activities, in other words, they realized that the aviation photographers are in fact cultural ambassadors. 

The SHG Airshow is quite critical in terms of the promotion of aviation culture, air platforms and other branches that are part of various aviation processes. Therefore, we should additionally thank the event committee and the relevant decision makers who gave us a place within the event as they are aware of the significance of the role that aviation photographers play in promoting the SHG Airshow 2020 to the entire globe, despite the limitations set this year on accepting viewers to the field.

Air platforms, aerobatic planes, jets planes, helicopters and many other interesting air vehicles with historical value belonging to the M.S.Ö. Air and Space Museum participated in the event this year and performed flights throughout the SHG Airshow. Different than the previous events, this year, the Cessna 195, which is the first Cessna plane built completely of aluminum and recently added to M.S.Ö. Air and Space Museum’s inventory, appeared in the skies above Sivrihisar with its shiny and elegant airframe, striking beautiful poses for delighted aviation photographers.

As part of the aviation safety and health measures adopted during the pandemic, the SHG Airshow 2020 organization committee demonstrated sensitivity and awareness on precautionary measures such as taking the body temperature of individuals entering and exiting the field and the distribution of hygiene kits to all participants. Moreover, the aviation photographers attending the event were pleased by the nice gesture of the SHG Airshow 2020 organization committee as they allocated a special space for them to maintain social and physical distance and served them food and water throughout the event and they inquired on their health conditions after the event by making phone calls to the aviation photographers who had participated in the event.

This year, the event opened its doors only to flight crews and aviation photographers. Yet by streaming live uninterruptedly from the beginning to the end, with the help of a professional production crew, it enabled our nation to enjoy the performances on TV and online. 

I watched the show with bittersweet joy due to the limitation set on the participation due to the pandemic and the words of Tolga Özbek, a P51 pilot, grabbed my attention as he said, “Though I have been inviting her for years now, my mother has never attended the event. Yet, this time she watched it live on YouTube and I enjoyed that…”

The support granted by public institutions and organizations to the SHG Airshow 2020 event was remarkable and many fixed-wing and rotating-wing air platforms posed for the SPOTTERs and viewers watching the live-streamed event.

Flight demonstrations at SHG Airshow 2020

The SOLOTURK F-16 Performance Team under the 132nd Fleet of our Turkish Air Forces fascinated the viewers as usual.

Different than in previous years, this year the landing, take-off of the CASA CN235 serving under the body of the ATAK Fleet of our 201st Search and Rescue Fleet and its tours over the field captivated aviation photographers as parachute jumps were performed, adding to the excitement of the event.

The Gendarmerie Steel Wings Aerobatic Team founded in 2018 under the Aviation Unit of the Gendarmerie General Command performed for the audience with Sikorsky S-70 helicopters as another aerobatic team along our country’s other aerobatic teams, namely the SOLOTURK and Turkish Stars. Especially, their farewell gesture by saluting the aviation photographers as part of the final airshow package was fantastic and was imprinted in all our memories. 

The helicopter team of the General Directorate of Security’s Aviation Department fascinated viewers with the flight demonstrations and passes they made with Bell and Sikorsky helicopters.

With its wonderful performance and exquisite sound, the P51 Mustang, with its giant airframe the ANTONOV AN-2 and BOEING Stermans with their massive passes overhead, DOUGLAS DC-3’s acrobatic and exciting airshow gave aviation photographers a great opportunity to capture unforgettable images.

Ali İsmet Öztürk who engraved our great leader Atatürk’s name over the wings of the “Purple Violet”, one of the most advanced aerobatic planes, once again left us all breathless with an exceptional airshow.

During the performances, the aviation photographers enjoyed capturing the images they had longed for.

The event of 2020 was different than the events of the previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was successful despite all the challenges. We owe a debt of gratitude once again to those who contributed selflessly in the organization of the event. 

In addition to being a visual feast for viewers, the SHG Airshow offers a vast variety of opportunities for aviation photographers to display their talent while capturing beautiful images. Thanks to the diverse air platforms attending the event and their different levels of capabilities, this airshow is regarded as an event that enables aviation photographers to experience all the shooting techniques we have mentioned in previous issues.

I am pleased and at the same time motivated by the fact that the experiences I have shared in the Aviation Photography (Spotter) articles are guiding beginner aviation photographers out there. I want to share an e-mail sent by Aycan Duruloğlu, who benefited from our previous articles and who seized the opportunity to implement what he learned so far, at the 2020 SHG Airshow. Wishing to see you in the coming issues…

“I decided to become a Spotter in 2018 during Semin Öztürk’s airshow at the Aeromania 2018 in Romania, I asked myself, why don’t I shoot this airshow? I failed to adapt myself to this thought due to my hectic work schedule in those days and my equipment was not quite convenient for this activity. Later, when I returned to Turkey for good, I decided to prioritize this issue. Unfortunately, I could not shoot a single decent photograph which I could claim “this is it” during the October 11st Mudanya Ceasefire airshow, held in Sivrihisar last year (2019), but I did not give up.

Then I started to follow the spotters in Turkey. My adventure of overwhelming my spotter colleagues with my many questions started after the 2019 Sivrihisar Airshow. In those days, I became acquainted with Sıtkı Atasoy’s articles in Aviation Turkey magazine. 

Sıtkı Atasoy’s articles indeed serve as guidance for beginners. For instance, a sentence in the 5th issue of the magazine told me, “Surely it has a financial burden as well” therefore “first scale your enthusiasm about it” and this made me think that maybe instead of immediately buying equipment we should think about how enthusiastic we are about becoming a spotter. So, I questioned my enthusiasm and I witnessed that the enthusiasm within me had already transformed into a sonic burst.  Gradually I started to improve my equipment to be able to get better shots in this expensive hobby.

Again, the same issue, spotters were instructed to have clean cameras and lenses, so I took my camera and lenses in for service and had them cleaned.

Mr. Atasoy mentioned in this issue that planning was critical; therefore, I made a very good event planning before going to the event. Then again, of course my plans were not working yet like the plans of our mentors. 

I examined in particular, the actions of a professional spotter throughout the event; he lifted his camera as he spotted an airplane and pressed the shutter. Though, I could only manage to catch merely a part of the image he captured in a single shoot maybe in 10 photos.

I am writing these lines quite carefully because my mentors are quite good and I am aware that I was not yet anywhere near them. Though I attended the event with 2 blank and formatted 64 GB cards (RAW-L), by 15:00 p.m. both my cards were full. At this point, I would like to remind readers again of the words of my mentor Mr. Atasoy, “I will gain control as the number of my shots and experience increases”, so one day I will be able to capture moments instantaneously like my mentors and manage to conduct optimum photo shoots. Surely, I am very happy to have made great progress compared to last year. Reading relevant literature and working hard, both lie at the basis of this profession as well as fully complying with the advice of mentors yet creating one’s own style at the same time.

In the following issue of the magazine, Sıtkı Atasoy recommended the use of camera modes. Until I read that article, I believed in the necessity of conducting manual photo-shoots. I felt relieved in a sense when I heard the same from other fellow spotters at the Sivrihisar Airshow as I had already decided to take photos in snapshot mode. I made two automatic adjustments to the camera, the first one was for shooting propeller planes since most of the planes were propeller planes and I had to capture a dynamic shot of the propellers to add the sense of motion in my photos. Therefore, as told by my mentor Mr. Atasoy, I adjusted my shutter speed to a lower rate and left the rest to my camera. Surely, I had to work for a long time until I was able to find the most appropriate rate for myself. The second automatic adjustment of the camera was the one for shooting non-propelled vehicles, for instance the very speedy ones like the SoloTurk F-16s, they looked as if they were suspended in the air, in other words as if they were frozen. I adjusted the camera to a high shutter speed and of course once again used the snapshot mode of the camera. And if you ask me what the snapshot mode is, well it is the TV mode in my camera and in other cameras it is the S mode.

My next goal is to work on the PAN technique for planes and to start taking photos in diaphragm (AV) mode. After all, I have learned that this applied to me too; I did not have to shoot manually.

By the way, I would hereby like to thank all my supporters and Sıtkı Atasoy for equipping me well with good advice this year. I am looking forward to the next issue of this magazine.”

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