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Submit a Calender Photo

If you have a great picture that you have taken this year of one of the Bob Barrows designs, we'd like to put it in the next calendar. In return we'll send the photographer of each of our features a free calendar! Send a suitably large picture file to us via email. How large is suitably large? it's hard to say exactly, since it depends on the nature of the picture. As a very rough rule of thumb, image files less than 1 MB are seldom acceptable and will end up showing pixels when we print them to 8.5x11. Most of the files that we handle are more in the 4-5 MB range, but of course file size is not necessarily related to picture quality.

Tips for Great Pictures

Here are a few suggestions to help you capture the best possible picture for calendar use. Apply these tips in addition to the usual photography goals of good focus, composition, and lighting. I've also included a few of my own pictures to illustrate.

First Tip: Include the Whole Airplane, and Nothing but the Airplane (usually).
The formula that we generally look for is a mostly whole airplane with no people or other distractions unless especially relevant. For example, back in 2012 we featured a picture of the Bearhawk LSA and included Bob Barrows in the picture. Since he's the designer, we were glad to have him in the picture! But usually, we don't include people, in part because we don't want to have to deal with the paperwork, and in part because we want to produce an airplane calendar rather than a people calendar. Here are some examples. In this first picture, we have a nice shot of a nice Bearhawk, but only a piece of it.

Here's another example, where we don't have the whole airplane (though we do have more of it) and we don't have just the airplane, since someone (I think it's Eric) is standing at the window:

Here's a better picture, since it shows the entire airplane without foreground distractions. This picture would be even better still if it didn't have the line of hangars behind the left wing, and if the sun had been shining from in front of the airplane instead of slightly behind it.

Second Tip: Stand Far Away and Zoom In
To minimize distortion, stand far away from the airplane and zoom in with a long lens instead of standing close with a wide angle (zoomed out) lens. For example, look at the next picture. I'm standing very close to Dave's airplane, so the wing tip looks like it is as long as a third of the fuselage.

In the next picture, I was standing a hundred feet or so from the airplane and zoomed in. As you can see, the wingtips are much more proportional to their actual size.

In most cases, the latter example is more preferable.

Third Tip: Look For Good Lighting in the Airplane and the Background
Let's look back at my picture of Dave's airplane again, this time next to Tabitha's picture of Hatcher and Don's Patrol:

Anyone who has seen both airplanes knows that they both have very brightly colored, beautiful finishes, but the first picture doesn't really do Dave's justice. The day was hazy and overcast, and the colors are just washed out. The second picture is much brighter because of the bright light, which was also from a low sun late in the day.

Fourth Tip: Don't Crop
We are limited to the size and proportions of the calendar page. Most cameras will produce an image that's compatible with these proportions. If we get a great picture that's been cropped to an odd shape or size, we have to cut more of it to get back to the original proportions. This usually leaves a picture that is too small to be any good.

All of these guidelines are just that, guidelines. Sometimes flagrant violators make very calendar-worthy shots. Further, the minimum acceptable quality of the picture is related to the ubiquity of the subject. If the airplane in the picture is one that we haven't seen before, then we're less particular about the quality of the picture. Likewise, if we are to include a picture of one that we see frequently, then the picture should be especially magnificent.
2012 and later calendars are available exclusively from BearhawkStore.com. 2010-2011 calendars were available from Eric Newton at mybearhawk.com, where you can also find Eric's fantastic builder's manuals.