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Davis Monthan Tour And Pima Photography  
User currently offlineaug From Canada, joined Apr 2009, 2 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4654 times:

We are planning a trip to Pima and Davis Monthan this November and I have read somewhere that on the bus tour they only allow small cameras on the bus and no camera bags...

I can dig the no camera bag policy but would they hassle me if I took just my 7D and 28-135 lens with me on the tour? Has anyone done the bus tour with a DSLR recently? Just how visible is it really from the bus and can I realistically get anything decent from the tour?

I am quite looking forward to Pima too! Got any tips?

7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBottie From Belgium, joined May 2004, 281 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4638 times:

No problem with a DSLR, had my 1D-IV and 28-300 with me on the bus without any problems.

User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12508 posts, RR: 46
Reply 2, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 4611 times:
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Davis-Monthan tour:
Likewise, I took the tour in March and had no issue with 2 x D700s, one of which had my 70-200mm lens on. But, there are other issues you should be aware of:
The buses used have very heavily tinted windows.
The tour I was on was full, and I was lucky to get a 'window' seat.
If the bus is full, you've got no opportunity to move from side to side to shoot different planes.
What you can shoot will be dictated by which side of the bus you're on and where the sun is at that time of the day.

While the tour is interesting, from a photography perspective it isn't great.  

Now the good news - Pima Air & Space is a fantastic museum and there really aren't many issue from a photography perspective. I can offer a couple of tips though:
Get there early (I think they open at 9am). Obviously, the best photography conditions are early morning and late afternoon (it closes at 5pm I think). I would suggest shooting the outdoor stuff at those times and the indoor stuff during the middle of the day.
I visited on two consecutive days, a Sunday and Monday. I was surprised to find that it was a lot busier on the Monday than the Sunday. On the Sunday I had no issues with anyone getting in my shots, the Monday was more of a challenge in that respect.
The planes are generally well laid out and significantly less crowded together than at many museums.
It's a big museum with lots of planes - try and plan ahead what you're most interested in shooting.

This is the only shot I've uploaded so far from the bus tour:

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Steve Brimley


But lots from Pima:

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Steve Brimley
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Steve Brimley


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Steve Brimley
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Steve Brimley




Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlineaug From Canada, joined Apr 2009, 2 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4426 times:

Thanks for the responses  

Has anyone been able to do an aerial tour of Davis Monthan? Is it even possible nowadays?


User currently offlineNPeterman From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 178 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 4413 times:

That has to be completely restricted airspace, as its adjacent to Davis Monthan AFB. It may be doable, but I'm not sure I'd try...

User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12508 posts, RR: 46
Reply 5, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4397 times:
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Quoting aug (Reply 3):
Has anyone been able to do an aerial tour of Davis Monthan? Is it even possible nowadays?

Yes, it is.   

Quoting NPeterman (Reply 4):
It may be doable, but I'm not sure I'd try...

Not an issue at all.   

There are any number of places where you can hire a plane and instructor for overflights of DMA and/or other places. I used Apple Valley Aviation at AVW and was very disappointed to be unable to open the window on the C172. Most of my shots from MZJ and DMA were useless. But, I've since heard good things about Double Eagle based at TUS.

If you do this, make sure they know exactly what you're looking for and where you want to go.



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlineBottie From Belgium, joined May 2004, 281 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4374 times:

I always fly with Tucson Aeroservice at Avra Valley/Marana Regional. Just ask in advance te remove the window-support so you can open your windows complete, never had any trouble there. They are located between Davis Monthan and Pinal Airpark, overflying both and do some circuits for your pictures will take 1 hour, including a touch & go at Pinal.

User currently offlineJohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1657 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 4362 times:

Quoting scbriml (Reply 2):
The buses used have very heavily tinted windows.

No problem here either with having my DSLR and I think I even brought the camera bag. And yes, the windows are tinted, so make sure you shoot RAW, which makes correcting the color much easier.

One disappointing aspect of the bus tour for me is that they have a set route through the boneyard they take with aircraft specifically brought to the front row for the tour - this means many of the planes you'll see are already well-represented on the various photo sites. I'd prefer just to be driven down the rows of stored aircraft; note that you can still see a lot of the "real" boneyard planes but you might not get right up next to them.


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