Sunrise photography is one of the most fulfilling experiences that I have had in the last several years; and it is one that I can enjoy time and time again. Driving home with an SD card full of great shots, and a morning full of fun already under your belt before breakfast generally does not fail to set you up for a great day. My trip to the Wings over Houston sunrise photo-opp was no different.
My day began a 4am with a 60 mile drive to Ellington Field, before being shepherded into one of a series of minivans to be dropped off at the ‘war bird’ ramp before first light. The war bird ramp is where the vintage aircraft are stabled during the airshow, and is not accessible during the event. This is a live ramp on an active airfield, so you have to act responsibly and not wander into unauthorized areas. Not only that, but you have to be cognizant of the other photographers / aviation enthusiasts and ensure that you don’t wander into and ruin their shots. Even with your mind on these constraints, it is a very rewarding experience to catch a shot of the sun peaking over the horizon, bathing the riveted hulls World War II-era aircraft in beautiful warm and orange light.
An added advantage of the sunrise experience is that I was able to wander back through the static display aircraft on my way back to the car. As anyone can attest to, getting meaningful photographs of these aircraft with a throng of Texans seeking shelter from the sun under the wings can be quite difficult. You can get tickets for these shows by e-mailing the organizers (they usually advertise on the website), but you have to get a foot in the door well in advance; the earlier in the year the better.