Freeware Focus: Alex Feldstein
Where do you go to get the photos?
My local airfields mostly plus any air show within driving distance. I am fortunate to have several GA fields within 50 miles plus a couple of international airports with good access to shoot the flight line. To name a few, as I live in South Florida, I have fairly decent access to Miami International (KMIA) and Fort Lauderdale (KFLL), both with good viewing angles, and general aviation fields like Kendall-Tamiami (KTMB), Opa-Locka (KOPF), Homestead Executive (X51), Ft. Lauderdale Executive (KFXE), and more.
How many aviation related photos do you think you have taken?
Easily thousands. Those are the ones that I publish. On a typical airshow visit I shoot at least 500-600 in one day, but only a few will make the cut. I find that as I grow as a photographer I become my worst critic.
Have you ever had any of them published in a magazine?
Not on print magazines but have published in aviation-related web sites on occasion. Also some of my bird photography has been published in conservation-related group sites and newsletters.
Do you sell your photos for commercial use?
Not usually as I do not make a living out of this. It is just a serious hobby. That said, I have sold a few selected images for advertising purposes (not for stock-photography).
Have you done or considered doing photography for use by flight simulator developers?
I have done this on ocassion. I was asked by a prominent company in the FSX space to give them 360 degree angles of a few planes used for modeling static AI in some of their sceneries.
What do you consider your best or most popular work?
Bird photography, some landscapes and architecture, and my aerial photography (something I don't get to do enough of).
What software packages and tools do you use to process the photos?
I shoot exclusively in Nikon RAW format. I use Nikon's Capture NX2 to process the RAW images. I use Paint Shop Pro for minor adjustments and as a base to host other utilities like Topaz Adjust or Silver Efects and the like. Most of the PS-compatible programs work fine in PSP which is a much more accessible choice to Photoshop. I can't justify the cost of full Photoshop when I do not use photography as a profession. PSP and CNX2 can do 80% of what PS can do.
How do you decide what you are going to photograph next or where you are going to go?
Depends on the mood of the day, the light and the weather. If the light is right, I'm there.
What type of equipment do you use?
Nikon equipment plus a couple of other manufacturer's lenses (Sigma/Tamron).
Do you use special filters or lenses to get the effects you want?
No filters other than a circular polarizer when required. I shoot only digital nowadays. I used filters in my old film-days. They are mostly not neeeded anymore except in very few situations.
How many different cameras do you use and do you have a favorite?
Three Nikon cameras. A full frame D700 used for landscape, architecture and low-light situations such as museums. A cropped frame D300, which has more reach due to the cropped sensor size, used primarily for wildlife and air-shows. I still have and use my old D80 which is small, light, and unobstrusive and can take all my collection of lenses (I do have quite a few). The old manual lenses do not meter in the D80 so I seldom use them with it.
What is special about taking photos of aircraft than anything else?
I find it challenging and fun. Wildlife is more challenging due to the unpredictability, but aircraft wide-angles, dealing with reflections and prop-blur is always a challlenge.