Thanks again for all the great advice, everyone. Here's what I've come up with so far:
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Photo © Jason McDowell
I took my small (rather crappy) tripod, and bought a remote before I left on my trip. They both worked pretty well. The challenges at the Hill Aerospace Museum, were, as predicted, lighting and obstructions.
The lighting was very difficult. It was snowing like crazy on the day I visited. Big huge puffy flakes of snow. The nice thing about this was that it kept people in their houses. I pretty much had the museum all to myself for the first few hours of the day. The downside was that the snow reflected the light in through the windows, and made it difficult to avoid backlit shots.
The place is absolutely crammed with aircraft and displays. Lots of easels, posters, artifacts, and dioramas surround the aircraft, and the aircraft are positioned very close to one another.
As an example, this
shot was rejected for off-center, and it was the absolute best I could do without putting another aircraft in front of the subject.
I did learn something, though. I learned that friendliness can get you some special privileges. When I got to the museum, I signed in at the front desk and spent about 10 or 15 minutes chatting with the lady who was volunteering that day. She was very friendly, and gave me the low-down on all the latest exhibits and displays. I then played my A.net card and mentioned that I was there to shoot photos for the most popular aviation interest site on the web. She seemed interested, and wrote our URL down.
I then described the site's "no obstructions" requirement, and asked if I could occasionally move some barriers and displays around to get better shots. After some thought, she agreed to let me, so long as I watched out for kids and made sure nobody walked past the boundaries. I reassured her that I'm a pilot, and that the safety of the aircraft was my very first priority.
You can see how I removed the top section of webbing in the F-101 shot. If I hadn't done that, it would have blocked the nose gear and probably resulted in a rejection.
Here's what I had to do to get the T-33 shot:
So when it comes to shooting in museums, the big lesson learned was that sometimes, all you have to do is be friendly and courteous, and ask permission. With luck, you'll be rewarded with permission to move ropes, barriers, and obstacles around to nail your shots.
Thanks again for the advice, everyone.