Military Aviation Museum & Darkhorse Design photo

Military Aviation Museum and Darkhorse Design Soar with Gold Thanks to High and Mighty Photo

The Military Aviation Museum, in a stellar collaboration with Darkhorse Design and High and Mighty Photo, soared to new heights by clinching the Gold in Graphis Advertising 2023 for their captivating image of the Messerschmitt ME109F-4 aircraft from the Fighter Factory. The blog takes a deep dive into the challenges faced during the pre-production phase and the final image capture, showcasing the teams’ aviation prowess. The article celebrates the expertise of Darkhorse Design and High and Mighty Photo, accentuating their contribution to the team’s triumph. This milestone is a testament to the teams’ precision, hard work, and the Military Aviation Museum’s legacy in preserving aeronautic history.

By: Robert Talarczyk

The Team

“Partnering with MAM was a perfect match: the Military Aviation Museum, aviation photography, and world-class graphic design. DHD has extensive experience working with museums and aviation clients, including the Southwest Soaring Museum, Andersen-Abbruzzo International Balloon Museum, the National Museum of the United States Air Force, commercial FBOs, air shows, and Garmin. Being a USAF military veteran and pilot also helps. Now located in Lancaster, PA, we ventured south to Virginia Beach, VA, for the real action.”

The Location

“Like many airports, MAM can be a difficult area to shoot because of trees and altitude minimums; however, you find your shooting window and, in this case, have a ground-to-air shoot. Air-to-air shooting can relieve some problems and cause new ones.”

The Pre-Production

“Usually, in an air-to-air shoot, the pilots involved and the camera person (the maestro) map out the plan of altitudes, etc., with safety as the priority. You can choose your aircraft, but you can’t choose your cloud cover on any particular day. Another option is to select your aircraft, choose your cloud cover, and combine the magic in digital post-production. Howard Hughes found this out the hard and expensive way by looking at the dailies while shooting the famous WW1 movie, “Hell’s Angels” when shooting a cloudless, clear blue sky day with terrible results. The aircraft combat scenes were spectacular, but the images looked like they were cut out and put on a blue background. Being a perfectionist, Howard Hughes continued paying his camera crews, pilots, and support cast and waited days for the perfect day to arrive to do the reshoot. We all did not have that luxury, as this was a ground-to-air shoot. Thank you to Nikon, my good eye, ear protection gear, and the adrenaline rush for healthy outcomes.” 

The Quotes

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” —Ansel Adams

“To take photographs means to recognize — simultaneously and within a fraction of a second — both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning — it is putting one’s head, one’s eye, one’s heart on the same axis.” —Henri Cartier Bresson

The Star

“The chosen one was the Messerschmitt, ME109F-4, a one-of-a-kind aircraft rebuilt by Meir Motors in Germany. ME109F-4 is maintained by the Military Aviation Museums’ famous Fighter Factory and the museum’s aircraft restoration and maintenance team of over 50 aircraft; keep ’em flying! The pilot of this aircraft is Mike Spaulding.”

The Final Edit

“The final image capture involved: 1. the perfect aircraft, 2. the proper prop-spin, 3. the perfect cloud cover, and 4. the lighting, making an impactful, dramatic, and powerful image for maximum stopping power. The copy promotes the museum, Darkhorse Designs’ global design experience, and our sister group, High and Mighty Photo, specializing in aircraft photography for the self-promotion of this fine trio!

“Thanks to the fine folks at the Military Aviation Museum and now Graphis for making this all happen!” 


Military Aviation Museum

Founder: Jerry Yagen  

Project Manager: Chris Vtipil

Darkhorse Design, LLC.

Executive Creative Director: Robert Talarczyk

Operations Director: Nancy Trezise

High And Mighty Photo.Com

Director of Photography: Robert Talarczyk

See more from Darkhorse Design.

To see other Advertising 2023 winners, click here. To enter our Advertising 2024 competition, click here.

Author: Graphis