Monday, March 14, 2016

Lighting the historic Enola Gay Hangar

A night photo of the Enola Gay Hangar at the historic Wendover Airfield, Utah. This hangar is 200 x 200 feet, plus offices on the left and right sides. Exposure: f/4.0 • 10 seconds • ISO 1600 • White Balance = 4000º K. (Click image to enlarge)
Last week's NightScapeWalk was supposed to include two free photo walks shooting the Milky Way. We tried, but cloudy conditions prevailed. Light painting the historic Enola Gay Hangar was our backup plan in case of cloudy weather, and on this shoot we were in total control.

During WWII this airfield had over 600 buildings with barracks that housed almost 20,000 servicemen and civilian workers. This 200 x 200 feet hangar was built in 1943 to house and maintain two B-29 Superfortress bombers at a time, one of which (the Enola Gay) went on to drop the first atomic bomb. Although the hangar has deteriorated over time, restoration work has refurbish the west side of the hanger and the side offices.

A cropped enlargement of the top photo shows our airport security man, Ed Nelson, standing at the partially open hangar door with a Grumman HU-16 Albatross in the background. The HU-16 is currently in temporary storage in the hangar. It is an amphibious flying boat, introduced in 1947: 63 ft length. 97 ft wingspan, with two 1,425 hp Wright engines.

Lighting set up for the Enola Gay Hangar - click image to enlarge
Lighting set up for the Enola Gay Hangar is shown above. The L1 key light was an AlienBees B1600 flash unit, using a special Long-Throw (28º) reflector. That flash unit was fired once (at 1/2 power) during the 10-seconds time exposure. The telephoto reflector is not only to increase the efficiency of the flash, but it enabled us to NOT hit the Albatross plane with any stray light. L2 was a Snap-on brand LED Worklight. This lit the Albatross and the inside of the hangar. It's 46 LED's produce 2,000 lumens of light, using only 25 watts! Both the AlienBees flash unit and the Snap-on Worklight were powered by a Vagabond Mini Lithium portable power source. L3, L4 and L5 are Z96 LED Panel Lights that I have demonstrated here many times in the past.

Daytime view inside the hangar: The Grumman HU-16 Albatross looks pretty small inside this huge hangar that was built to house and service two B-29's at the same time.  (The Grumman has a wingspan of 97 ft vs. the 141 ft of the B-29. The amphibious is powered by two 1,425 hp Wright radial engines vs. the B-29's four 2,200 hp Wright radial engines.) You can see the restoration work that has been done to the back one-fifth (west side) of the hangar along with the north and south offices (the north offices are behind the Albatross). Click image to enlarge.



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