WWII Comes To Me

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Birddogman
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WWII Comes To Me
2 months ago

We don’t have much of anything around here that one could call the world’s biggest or world’s best, but I’m told that the WWII weekend and the local airport is the biggest gathering of WWII re-enactors and war birds in the world. I don’t know if that is true or not, but it is way cool if you are a WWII buff, as I am.

There are thousands of re-enactors depicting troops and all sorts of others from all of the Allied and Axis countries. There is even a Jewish family who live very near me who portray German Jews each year – it is absolutely haunting to see them walking around with the yellow Stars of David on their clothes. There are hundreds of vehicles and a vast variety of restored war birds – trainers, bombers, fighters and cargo planes. There are complete European and Pacific island villages, thousands of tents, USO shows, period music and bands going on all the time; even a period radio station that operates all weekend and a period gas station.

The re-enactors are all very knowledgeable in their particular portrayals and are happy to chat with the visitors, so one can learn a lot in a short time. The airplanes flew right over “my” mountain all weekend long and I was able to get enough nurse coverage to spend some hours at the actual event. Poor Chase had to stay home – he would have hated it anyway.

Of course this event is a great photo opp and I took a lot of pics.

This year, I made much use of the relatively new 56mm F1.2 lens for people-type pics, shooting it as open as I could so that the crowds and other non-period background elements that get in nearly every image disappear into nice bokeh and I didn’t need to spend countless hours this year trying to clone out distracting backgrounds from every shot. Using that lens at this event was one of the reasons I bought it and I was not disappointed, but you can draw your own conclusions looking at the images.

I was also not disappointed in the snappy focus, focus tracking and general operation of the XT1 with the 55-200mm lens that I used for most of the airplane images. There were many elaborately equipped photographers at this event and, in the heat and humidity, I was NOT jealous as I watched them try to lug around their tripods, yard-long telephoto lenses and massive DSLRs, while I had the light, petite XT1 and four lenses, all of which together probably weighed less than their lightest lens.

You may disagree, but I was most pleased with the performance of the Fuji equipment in addition to its portability. These images are very different than my usual themes, but here are just a few examples for your viewing pleasure and/or comment. A mid-war portrayal of a Waffen SS trooper:

A 1930's Jungmann used by the Luftwaffe as a pilot trainer:

A nurse and friend at lunch in the French village:

A Fallschrimjager (German paratrooper) who is also a military policeman. My father jumped with the 101st on D-day and faced these guys in Normandy.

A flyable British Spitfire - first one I've ever seen in the flesh. That thing was simply awesome - looked fast sitting still - a real blending of form and function. A Liberator in the background (my uncle flew on one of those as a waist gunner in the Pacific). Watching these planes fly was quite an experience.

Gas station attendant in uniform – anyone old enough to remember those? Plus, 1940's Boy Scout helpers. Gas was cheap, but rationing allowed 3 gallons per week - imagine trying to run your life and get to work on that.

A Japanese “Val” dive bomber. More ships were sunk by these aircraft than any other.

Late war Waffen SS soldier, like those faced by my father in the Battle of the Bulge:

A formation of Texans (advanced flight trainers):

A few gratuitous doughnut dollies:

Coming in for a strafing run:

Captive Japanese Army "comfort girl":

I have lots more if anyone is interested. Thanks for looking!

Greg (no Chase this time)

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Fujifilm X-T1 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 10-24mm F4 R OIS +1 more
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