Vantage Point: The aviation photography of Jon Pece
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Vantage Point: The aviation photography of Jon Pece

Dawn Patrol. The sun has just risen as this F-16 approaches for fuel prior to his mission. D700, 24-70mm. Photo and caption by Jon Pece

(cont.) Normally while shooting, I'll move the camera around the window plus or minus a few inches in order to increase my chances of a sharp image. Prior to flight, I would recommend checking the cleanliness of the windows so they can be cleaned if need be.

During flight, you just have to hope for no hydraulic leaks around the boom operator's window in the back of the jet. Tiny leaks in the actuator of the hydraulically powered exterior sighting window can cause hydraulic fluid to splatter onto the window, reducing visibility. I would not zoom beyond about 70mm - after that, the image quality completely deteriorates. A long term hazard of flying about 30,000' is a great increase in radiation that can lead to degradation of the image sensor resulting in hot pixels.