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Montana photographer spends free time capturing photos of vintage planes



Billings, Montana – At the Billings-Logan International Airport earlier last week, Keely Zimmermann joined the crowd gazing upward as planes touched down, but she is staring through her camera lens.

Despite having spent many years around aircraft, Zimmermann, a self-taught professional photographer, fell in love with photographing them in Missoula in 2019.

“I served 12 years in the Air Force, so I’ve been around aircraft for quite a while and I love airplanes,” she said. “When I first started I just started taking pictures of the aircraft on the ground and that was it.”

When Zimmermann volunteered at the Museum of Mountain Flying in Missoula, her first love was the Miss Montana plane. Her enthusiasm only increased after that.

“Fell in love with war birds, vintage planes, with aerial firefighting planes,” Zimmermann said. “I love the shapes. The different designs of the aircraft.”

To determine when and where to go in order to get the finest pictures of the planes she is interested in photographing, Zimmermann follows flights and listens to live air traffic communication.

During this weekend’s Yellowstone International Air Show, Zimmermann will be fully aware of his surroundings.

“I’m thrilled, I’m so excited. This is such a dream come true to be able to see the Blue Angels and the other aircraft that will be coming in. There’s going to be some great war birds, awesome static displays. But just to be able to see the elite of the elite planes is just such a treat,” she said.

During the air show, Zimmermann will assist by shooting pictures for the Billings Gazette, but he has already taken advantage of the few occasions the Blue Angel jets have flown over Billings this week.

“I’m actually excited about a chance for everybody to see and fall in love with planes like I did,” she said.


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