Jay Smith: How did you become involved with model aviation?
Jon Barnes: While working at my first job out of high school,
several of my workmates and I decided to get into RC cars and
trucks. After receiving a Tower Hobbies catalog in the mail, we
decided to try flying RC airplanes. My first model, a Sureflite
J- 3 Cub, lasted all of two flights, but I was smitten.
I was self-taught and went through dozens of models
trying to learn. I eventually cracked the barrier using a grossly
underpowered Enya .09-equipped Sig Kolt.
JS: How has model aviation impacted your life and/or career?
JB: Although I have often fantasized about getting a full-time
job within the industry, my various secular occupations have
never really had any connection to the hobby.
I have been able to use some of my aerial vehicles for work-related endeavors. I have often used my DJI Inspire One or
Phantom 3 Pro for capturing aerial media and was even able
to work closely with the local fire department as it did a
controlled-burn training exercise.
JS: In what disciplines of modeling do you currently participate?
JB: My current favorites are electric ducted fan-powered jets
and scale airplanes, although I enjoy flying nearly any type of
electric-powered aircraft. I have not owned or flown a gas or
nitro-powered model for almost a decade.
JS: What are your other hobbies?
JB: Another hobby that I am quite passionate about is
photography and videography. My grandfather worked at
Goodyear Aerospace as a staff photographer during the era
when the company was big into airships.
He bought me a Pentax K1000 camera when I was about 14
and that kicked off a lifelong enjoyment of photography. I love
my newest camera, a Pentax K1 Full Frame, and am still blown
away by the continuing advances in digital camera technology.
I also love shooting videos of my aircraft and enjoy trying to
edit short, enjoyable videos. I wish my grandfather could have
lived to see and enjoy the video editing capabilities that are
available using nothing more than an average PC and software.
I also enjoy riding horses and currently have two mares.
One is a Quarter/Paint and the other is an Appaloosa. My
wife and daughter and I often trailer our horses to the beach
or one of the many trails here in Northern California. We
ride almost every day during the summer and I am amazed at
how intelligent and trusting horses can be. The relationship is
rewarding and keeps us close as a family.
JS: Who (or what) has influenced you most?
JB: My father was probably my greatest influence. Although
he never shared, or for that matter understood, my love of
model aviation, he shaped my goals and gave me a good work
ethic. He and I shared a love for running, bicycling, and golf.
As far as the hobby goes, my greatest influence was probably
the industry’s print magazines. Each month, I would go into
my local hobby shop or bookstore and walk out with the latest
issues of Radio Control Modeler, Model Airplane News, FlyRC,
and any other magazine related to the hobby that I could
find. I loved reading about all of the new models and eagerly
devoured every article.
I had no idea that this, and my enjoyment of photography
and writing, would one day converge in the form of my getting
to write for several magazines. I enjoy shooting studio and in-flight media of the latest and greatest
models, especially when my efforts
capture the models in their native
element and make them appear as if
they are the real deal!
JS: What advice would you give
someone looking to take photos/videos of
aircraft in flight?
JB: A decent DSLR can be had for
almost nothing these days. Although
some of the cameras embedded in
cell phones have pretty amazing
capabilities, potential photographers
who want more and are on tight
budgets should check out the used-gear section at B&H Photo and Video. I
have bought a bunch of used gear from
that site and have never been let down.
The digital era is a great time to be in
photography. You can shoot hundreds
of photos in an outing and delete the
blurry or less-than-great shots and use
the ones that are in focus and pop!
152 Model Aviation APRIL 2017 www.ModelAviation.com
Jon Barnes Author, photographer, and videographer
by Jay Smith