by Tom Pawlesh
Pete Lerro is a Philadelphia-based commercial photographer who specializes in themed photoshoots. These shoots include such subjects as World War II, railroads, lighthouses, the Wild West, and more. If Pete is not already scheduled for one of his own photoshoots, he is usually contracted to handle the lighting for night photoshoots at various events, such as the Yankee Air Museum’s Thunder Over Michigan air show, the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s WWII Weekend in Reading, Pennsylvania, the Strasburg Railroad events, and D-Day Ohio to name a few.
On July 16th and 17th, I attended Pete’s photoshoot at the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio. This was a ground-based photoshoot using re-enactors along with the museum’s aircraft and cars. While we experienced scattered rain showers on Friday evening and Saturday morning, we were at least able to shoot inside the hangar until the weather cleared. On Friday, we photographed two set-ups. First, were the re-enactors dressed in 1930’s clothes in and around a Ford Trimotor. The second set-up involved a 1950’s diner shoot. The Liberty Aviation Museum’s Tin Goose Diner and a group of enthusiastic re-enactors turned back the clock to those idealized 1950s diner days – with burgers, milkshakes, and songs from the jukebox. It was a marvelous evening for both re-enactors and photographers.
Saturday morning we continued to shoot re-enactors in and around the Ford Trimotor and the Yankee Air Museum’s C-47 Hairless Joe. We spent the afternoon in the Liberty Aviation Museum’s recreated control tower, as re-enactors turned the airport into a WWII training field. In the evening, as the light turned to gold, we photographed the TBM Avenger with US Navy crewmen, the C-47, B-25, and Trimotor.
After dark, Pete and his crew set up the floodlights for that night’s engine runs. With help from the Port Clinton Fire Department, the ramp was wet down providing a mirror finish for our night shoot. The photoshoot included the Ford Trimotor, B-25J Georgie’s Gal, a TBM Avenger, C-47 Hairless Joe, along with Ken and Jim Kreutzfeld’s two spectacular Howard DGA-15Ps, one of which won a Grand Champion Award at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019.
It was a wonderful experience all-round, and one I would highly recommend for future such events. I would like to thank Pete Lerro and his crew who worked tirelessly to deliver a fun and rewarding photo workshop. Thanks also go to Bob Fujita, Connie Nieves, Edward Patrick, Scott Boyer, and all the Liberty Aviation Museum volunteers. They worked hard moving aircraft and cars and making all of the photographers feel welcome. Please visit www.lerrophotography.com for more information.