Eric Dumigan has megapixels in his DNA. His blood type is f5.6 at 1/1000. His family tree is a tripod. He comes from a long line of aviation photographers. His grandfather photographed dirigibles, his father the great airliners of the golden age and he has taken the artform to new digital heights.
Though he comes by his talent naturally, he will be the first to tell you that hard work, organization, briefing, a raincoat and a whole lot of cash are important ingredients in getting the perfect photo. Eric plans every shoot in advance - from the initial idea, the best available photoship, the time of day, the angle of the sun and the pilots who will participate. The result is a vast collection of high quality and sometimes stunning aviation images. A visit to his website (www.airic.ca) will reveal a wide sweeping selection of air-to-air images, historic photographs from his father and grandfather and photographs of his other love - the natural world.
One of Eric's Grandfather's photgraphs of the R-100 dirigible at St. Hubert near Montreal.
Eric's father Richard shot this rare image of a US Navy Lockheed C-121 Super Connie in Blue Angels livery in the mid-1960s.
In the air show world, pilots are used to being surrounded by wannabe photographers, aero-stalkers and ride-cadgers of all stripes. They soon learn to brush them aside like flies. But mention Eric Dumigan in a room full of Vintage Wings pilots and the heads nod, the respect oozes. If Dumigan is in the photoship, they know there will be perfect results every time.
Eric, above all, is a respectful photographer. He never hangs around pilots like a seagull waiting for a french fry. He is unobtrusive... but somehow omnipresent. He is respectful and complimentary of other shooters. He is a friend of Vintage Wings of Canada and you can find his work throughout this website.
But photographs speak louder than words. Here is a small sample of the thousands he has on line. We highly recommend you visit his site for a full understanding of his remarkable oeuvre.
A good aviation photograph should have drama. Geneseo 2009. My long time friend, Glenn Goldman, flying Dave and Larry Tinker's Grumman TBM Avenger. The photo was taken late Friday evening leading up to the airshow. Edward Soye flew me in a Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association Harvard for the shoot. I will often get the pilots to do a 360-degree turn for some backlight shots and was able to capture Glenn against a wonderful evening sun over Upstate New York that reminded me of the South Pacific where many TBMs flew during WWII.
A great aviation photograph should have a unique take on the same old story. Two weeks before Geneseo 2009, Glenn Goldman invited me to fly with him in the TBM from Ed Russell's Niagara South facility to Geneseo, New York to deliver the Avenger for the airshow. I captured our shadows on the TBM wing as we circle for landing at Geneseo.
A great aviation photo should have dramatic colour. Niagara Falls 2008. Fred Cabanas, a well known warbird and aerobatic pilot, is seen flying a Stearman Junior Speed Mail over Niagara Falls during the 90th anniversary of the first regularly scheduled air mail flight. Photoplane was a Boeing N-75 Stearman owned and flown by Quenton Marty.
A great aviation photograph can be had when all others go home. Geneseo 2008. Although I always hope for sunshine with fair weather clouds I'm not one to pack the gear away and head for home when it rains. During a torrential downpour I ventured out of the aircrew tent with an umbrella and sandals to capture prized warbirds in less than favourable conditions. My game is always on and despite the weather there is always a shot to be had.
A great aviation photograph is one that lets you know where it was taken. Remembrance Day 2007 fly-past over Toronto. Photographed from Hannu Halminen's Harvard the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association's Harvards are seen in the hold over Lamport Stadium just west of downtown Toronto. The Harvards orbit one minute away from City Hall and await the call in to perform a missing man formation. This flight was very moving for me, as I had just lost my good friend, Maj. Stan J. Miller Retired, who flew Halifax and Lancaster bombers during WWII. During the 1990s I flew with Stan on many barnstorming weekends where he would let me fly the Harvard, Tiger Moth and Waco YMF-5. I learned a lot from him and we had many great times together at the events we attended.
A great aviation photograph allows you to time travel - this shot could have been taken over France in the Second World War. Friendly Foes Above the Falls Airshow 2004. Walter Eichorn is captured diving away from the photoplane in Ed Russell's rare Messerschmitt Bf-109 "Emil". The photo was taken from Kent Beckham's Harvard with Kent at the controls.
A great aviation photograph has emotion. Thunder Over Michigan 2005. A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is captured on the ramp at Willow Run, Michigan shortly after sunset. Although a symposium was going on in the Yankee Air Force Museum's hangar I could not help but sneak outside to capture the assembled warbirds during the beautiful late evening light.
Sometimes a great aviation photograph can be deliberately composed. CHAA Formation Weekend 2006. After an impressive nine plane Harvard formation to end the 2006 Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association's formation refresher weekend the planes were lined up on the Tillsonburg Airport ramp for a group shot.
A great aviation photo gives you a different vantage point. Brampton Open House 2006. The Great War Flying Museum's replica Fokker Dr.1 Triplane is seen landing on Brampton's runway 06. For this shot I had to leave the event and walk to McLaughlin Rd. where I had an excellent view down runway 06 which enabled me to capture images like this one.
A great aviation photo celebrates colour. Edenvale 2007. After a busy airshow season I scheduled a late September air-to-air shoot with the Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation`s Fleet Canuck and DH-82A Tiger Moth. Photographed from the Association`s Tiger Moth I captured this shot of Dave Hadfield flying the group`s Fleet Canuck over Georgian Bay.
A great aviation photograph sometimes does not have an airplane in the shot. Gatineau 2007. With the help of Michel Cote I was able to photograph the Canadian Armed Forces Skyhawks Parachute Demonstration Team jumping at the Vintage Wings of Canada`s 2007 fall open house. For this shot I wore a harness and was standing on the ramp of a CC-115 Buffalo as the Skyhawks departed the aircraft.
A great aviation photograph can convey a mood - like the loneliness of a long distance adventure. The ``Triple Crown`` Vickers Vimy replica is seen during a late evening arrival at the Toronto Aerospace Museum in May 2005. The aircraft would stay at TAM for a week while it was prepared for its trans-Atlantic flight to recreate Alcock and Brown`s first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
A great aviation photo conveys a sense of dimension. In this case the closeness of the trees allows the viewer to see how low the Herc is in its turn. CFB Trenton 2008. Aviation photography is such a passion I often spend any free time I have with my wife at the end of runways. On November 5th, 2008 I captured this shot of a CC-130 Hercules performing a tactical landing at CFB Trenton.
A great aviation photograph is intimate. Rhinebeck 2007. One of aviation's most magical places; Cole Palen`s Rhinebeck, New York. A 1910 Hanriot is seen flying during the last flying display of the year at Rhinebeck 2007.
A great aviation photo takes you where you normally can't go. CFB Trenton 2003. This photograph was taken on the flight deck of Canadian Armed Forces CC-130 Hercules 130343 during a press ride for the CFB Trenton airshow and open house.
A great aviation photo is deliberately set up - so that luck can have a better chance of working for you. Geneseo 2006. I have had the pleasure of shooting the Great War Flying Museum aircraft on several occasions and always had this idea for a dog fight shot and early one morning at the Geneseo airshow I had the chance to fly in the back of the Museum's Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter flown by Richard Sowden. I instructed the pilots to just mix it up behind me and I will see what I can capture. This is by far one of my favorite A2A images where all the elements came together at once.
More than one great aviation photograph can come from the same shoot and the changing lighting conditions. Geneseo 2006. I fire off a shot from the gunner's position on the Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter as the Red Baron in his Fokker Dr.1 Triplane moves in for a shot at Billy Bishop in the Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a. Just in time a second S.E.5a flown by James McCudden positions for a shot at the Red Baron. We all survived the encounter to fly another day. Early morning fun with the Great War Flying Museum.
A great aviation photo conveys the power and purpose of its subjects. Geneseo 2008. Curtiss P-40 Warhawks on patrol over Geneseo. Photographed from Scott Slocum's Beechcraft Bonanza set up as a photoship with a large cargo door removed and rearward facing seats. Mike Burke in the Cavanaugh Flight Museum's P-40N leads Dan Dameo in the American Air Power Museum's P-40N with Andy Mackulak in the Fighter Factory's P-40E.
A great aviation photo puts you in the action. Geneseo 2005. Familiar faces at Vintage Wings of Canada. Pete Spence is seen leading the Canadian Harvard Aerobatic Team as they perform a loop. Dave Hewitt is seen in the #2 position while I shoot from the backseat of Kent Beckham's aircraft in #3 position.
A great aviation photo takes advantage of colour. Geneseo 2004. Making noise over Upstate New York. On this flight we had eight Boeing Stearmans in loose formation and the idea was to make some noise over Darion Lake to generate interest in the nearby airshow. Three of the Stearmans are seen in tight formation. Not an easy shot to get through the bracing and struts on the Stearman photoship.
A great aviation photo takes advantage of no colour. This particular image is the editor's favourite. Brantford 2003. Despite looking right into the setting sun there are always shots to be had such as this silhouette of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's Fairey Firefly and its pilot.
A great aviation photo is a time machine. Geneseo 2006. The Great War Flying Museum's Sopwith 1 1/2Strutter seen from Quentin Marty's Stearman. The Sopwith had another photographer on board shooting the museum's aircraft while we flew around the outside of the group. For this shot we flew in front of the formation and cut across in front at a 90 degree angle.
A great aviation photo shows us the beauty and richness of aircraft details. Rhineback 2007. A detail shot of a LeRhone rotary engine. This is a working rotary engine attached to Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome's Caudron G.III.
A great aviation photo eliminates any reference to modern times - this could be in Burma in 1944 - absolutely nothing in this photo tells us that this was shot in 2005. American Air Power Museum's North American B-25 Mitchell "Miss Hap" is seen over Letchworth State Park in New York State from the rear gun position of another Mitchell flown by Duane Carroll.
A great aviation photo takes advantage of available light. Thunder Over Michigan 2005. The Russell Group's Messerschmitt Bf-109 "Emil" basks in the late evening sun on a hot August night at Willow Run Airport. For this shot I placed the camera right on the ground to get a unique view looking up at the fighter.
A great aviation photograph gives us a sense of scale. Thunder Over Michigan 2008. I used a tight crop on this image to emphasize the tight formation and size difference of the aircraft flown in the US Air Force's Heritage Flight program. A WWII era P-51 Mustang leads a current frontline F-16 fighter during a photo pass.
A great aviation photograph illustrates a moment. Geneseo 2006. The Great War Flying Museum heads out on a Dawn Patrol from Geneseo's grass runway. This photo was captured from Quentin Marty's Stearman as we position for take-off.
A great aviation photo can make you do a double take. Geneseo 2008. Canada's only wingwalker, Carol Pilon, gives a big wave to the camera. Carol owns her own Stearman flown here by Rob Holland. Photographed from Francois Bougie's Globe Swift over Conesis Lake in Upstate New York.
Great aviation photographers stay when others leave. Geneseo 2008. The rain falls on the gun barrels of John Fallis's P-40N Warhawk.
A great aviation photographer leaves you with a memory. Geneseo 2007. Flying over the Finger Lakes I have my first spotting of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's B-25 Mitchell. Andy Dobson just finished his routine at the Geneseo airshow and was on his way to find us for a quick photoflight.