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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Transportation Talk
Thread started 08 Mar 2007 (Thursday) 20:09
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Airshow Gear Advice

 
gooble
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I plan on going to Luke Days here in Glendale, AZ in a couple of weeks. I went for the first time several years ago and only had a Fuji S602z. While I was pleased with the shots I got from it at the time, they now look pretty bad overall.

This time, however, I plan on using a Rebel XT (I'd rather have a 30D or better but oh well), an EF 70-200 2.8 with 1.4x TCON which will give me approx 155-450mm, or 112-320 without the TCON. I also plan on using an EF-S 10-22 to get wide angle shots of static displays and will bring a monopod.

Is the reach of the 70-200 plus TCON, or 450mm, typically enough to fill the frame with planes in flight if I'm at the fence line? Can I get by without the TCON with a max reach of 320mm? Is the use of a monopod constricting? Do you find it necessary to attach/remove a monopod frequently? Can you use a monopod and easily pan as planes fly past? How do you feel about using circular polarizers? Do you find that it helps the sky (if clear) or would you rather have an extra stop or two of light? How do you shoot, full manual or shutter priority?

I know that is a lot of questions but any help would be appreciated. I will add that the above-mentioned Fuji had a 210mm 35mm equiv focal length and was really too short where the planes only sat in about a quarter frame or less so I feel 450mm would be a great improvment but really have no way to judge.

Mar 08, 2007 20:09



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LBaldwin
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gooble wrote in post #2839786external link
I plan on going to Luke Days here in Glendale, AZ in a couple of weeks. I went for the first time several years ago and only had a Fuji S602z. While I was pleased with the shots I got from it at the time, they now look pretty bad overall.

This time, however, I plan on using a Rebel XT (I'd rather have a 30D or better but oh well), an EF 70-200 2.8 with 1.4x TCON which will give me approx 155-450mm, or 112-320 without the TCON. I also plan on using an EF-S 10-22 to get wide angle shots of static displays and will bring a monopod.

Is the reach of the 70-200 plus TCON, or 450mm, typically enough to fill the frame with planes in flight if I'm at the fence line? Can I get by without the TCON with a max reach of 320mm? Is the use of a monopod constricting? Do you find it necessary to attach/remove a monopod frequently? Can you use a monopod and easily pan as planes fly past? How do you feel about using circular polarizers? Do you find that it helps the sky (if clear) or would you rather have an extra stop or two of light? How do you shoot, full manual or shutter priority?

I know that is a lot of questions but any help would be appreciated. I will add that the above-mentioned Fuji had a 210mm 35mm equiv focal length and was really too short where the planes only sat in about a quarter frame or less so I feel 450mm would be a great improvment but really have no way to judge.

Forget the monopod for inflight stuff, it just gets in the way. Learn how to properly hold your camera and pan with your subject to get good images. For carpet suckers use as much shutter speed as you can and you will get good images. For the windmills use a slower shutter speed (125-250 sec) so that you can get good prop blur. Aim for the wing root with your AF sensor.

If you position yourself correctly then the 200 should bre pretty good as they pass, but for cross leg or good turn stuff you will want the longer focal length.

Sorry to the mods here but visit www.fencecheck.comexternal link to see if anyone from that site is going to be there and get site specific info.

Try to keep the sun to your back if you can and shoot the A/C with the sun on your side if possible, it will improve your keep count.

Get to the fence at gate open time and secure your spot and stay there. Bring someone with you to help hold your place if you need to. Take a hat, jacket and lots of sunscreen. Regardless of the weather wear long pants, airfields make great reflectors and you can fry the gibbles if you are not careful:o

Take care, if you need more help hollar,

Les

Mar 08, 2007 20:50

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rhys
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I shot an airshow once. I used a 600mm mirror lens for the entire show and got a ton of fantastic shots. That was in my 35mm days. Go for the equivalent of 600mm and you won't be far wrong for close-ups of planes flying etc.

Trust me - you don't want pinhead sized aeroplanes trailing smoke. You want a close-up of the plane with smoke behind it!

You also want to use a constant shutter and aperture. Don't allow the camera to think. You'll lose a lot of photos that way. As for focus - set it on infinity and leave well alone - switch that wretched AF off.

Mar 08, 2007 20:57

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tnicol
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I'm no expert, but here's a gallery from Oshkosh a couple years ago:
http://tnicol.smugmug.​com/gallery/704575#307​28705external link
I used a 20D with a 70-300 4.5-5.6 DO IS with a polarizer. It worked great from the seating area along the flightline. I agree about the monopod. You can carry it around, but I doubt you'll want it - especially for the in-flight stuff.

Mar 08, 2007 21:05

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LBaldwin
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rhys wrote in post #2840010external link
I shot an airshow once. I used a 600mm mirror lens for the entire show and got a ton of fantastic shots. That was in my 35mm days. Go for the equivalent of 600mm and you won't be far wrong for close-ups of planes flying etc.

Trust me - you don't want pinhead sized aeroplanes trailing smoke. You want a close-up of the plane with smoke behind it!

You also want to use a constant shutter and aperture. Don't allow the camera to think. You'll lose a lot of photos that way. As for focus - set it on infinity and leave well alone - switch that wretched AF off.

OK Rhys, with the AF off how in the hades do you expect the camera to focus past Infinity correctly? All canon long stuff focuses past infinity so that you can still get sharp shots in hot weather and also in (some) high humidity situations where refraction is a factor in focus. I have nearly a 1000 airshows under my belt and would never shut off the AF, that is what it is for!!

I have BA shots of highspeed passes where the plane was near the Speed of sound, just setting infinity and blasting away won't work. You have to learn HOW your gear works correctly.

Les

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Mar 08, 2007 22:30

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gooble
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LBaldwin,

That is an awesome pic.

BTW, what is BA?

So I guess you're saying it's best if you use AI Servo and just hold down the focus button at all times. That's what I plan on doing. That leads me to another question I had, does that really eat through batteries? I have Rebel XT w/grip and so I will have 2 stock batteries in grip and will bring 6 cell AA tray and a bunch of AA's for backup.

Also will have approx 8GB of memory or capacity for about 1000 RAW images. How many pictures do people typically take at an air show? On each pass of an a/c I can imagine taking 5-10 frames. Is this realistic?

Mar 08, 2007 22:41 as a reply to LBaldwin's post 11 minutes earlier.



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gooble
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I just figured it out. BA is Blue Angels right? A little slow there.

Mar 08, 2007 22:46 as a reply to gooble's post 4 minutes earlier.



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JWright
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I regularly shoot the annual show here at MCAS Miramar and usually handhold my 100-400 IS L. A monopod is just going to be a hindrance. I think you are going to have plenty of reach with or without the TC. Last year I was right at the fence, and there were times when even the short end of the 100-400 was too close.

Gooble, I've sent you a private message...

Mar 08, 2007 23:07 as a reply to gooble's post 20 minutes earlier.

John

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birdstrike
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LBaldwin wrote in post #2840490external link
OK Rhys, with the AF off how in the hades do you expect the camera to focus past Infinity correctly? All canon long stuff focuses past infinity so that you can still get sharp shots in hot weather and also in (some) high humidity situations where refraction is a factor in focus. I have nearly a 1000 airshows under my belt and would never shut off the AF, that is what it is for!!

What it focusing past infinity? If you focus at the hyperfocal distance for your lens, everything from that point to infinity will be in focus. You can safely put your lens in MF for an airshow and shoot from there.

http://www.batnet.com/​bogart/Fleet_Week_Star​red/external link

The last thing you want is to have your camera go hunting for focus as aircraft aproach show center.

Mar 08, 2007 23:24



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etaV8R
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LBaldwin wrote in post #2840490external link
...I have BA shots of highspeed passes where the plane was near the Speed of sound...

Great photo,
there is a misunderstanding many people have that the water vapor showing up means the a/c is close to or exceeding the speed of sound. This is not the case unfortunately. It is a great effect however to capture in a photograph. ;)

Mar 09, 2007 11:11

5D & G15
EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS, EF 24-70 f/2.8L, EF 35-135 USM f/4 & EF 50 f/1.8, Sigma 150-500
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Retired: G9, SD800IS, S45, Elan, AE1-Program

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JWright
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etaV8R wrote in post #2842883external link
Great photo,
there is a misunderstanding many people have that the water vapor showing up means the a/c is close to or exceeding the speed of sound. This is not the case unfortunately. It is a great effect however to capture in a photograph. ;)

Agreed... Most of these airshows take place over populated areas and the FAA takes a dim view of sonic booms over cities. Years ago, an F-14 pilot exceeded Mach 1 during a demo at Miramar. He was called on the carpet after numerous reports of broken windows and other damage from residents of the areas surrounding the airstation.

Mar 09, 2007 11:22

John

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superdiver
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LOL...I was using "BA" as Bad A%$" and trying to make that work with the above sentance....just didnt make any sense to me....LOL

Mar 09, 2007 13:43

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LBaldwin
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birdstrike wrote in post #2840779external link
What it focusing past infinity? If you focus at the hyperfocal distance for your lens, everything from that point to infinity will be in focus. You can safely put your lens in MF for an airshow and shoot from there.

http://www.batnet.com/​bogart/Fleet_Week_Star​red/external link

The last thing you want is to have your camera go hunting for focus as aircraft aproach show center.

If you pick up a 70-200, 300 f4 or 2.8 or any other CANON long lens you will find that many focus past infinity. This is because atmospheric conditions effect the actual focus of long lenses. I am not sure how to explain it except that during high humdity and or high temp situations the focus at infinity will be in front of or behind your subject. That is another reason why Canon long lenses are white. Heat defraction effects the placement of infinity on the lens. So Canon lenses allow for that by focusing past infinity.

MF for airshows is of course possible, but AF is geneally faster, more accurate and consistant for most applications at airshows. The real buggaboo is the smoke from the generators on the A/C. That can really foul up any AF system. In that case I just bump the focus manually to adjust on the fly. I routinley switch from MF to AF during a show. I sometimes like to pick where the focus falls and AF does not do it ALL the time. But 90% is pretty darn good.

Lens hunting is not really a large issue for me because I have invested in the fastest glass I can get my hands on, same with the bodies. I did this because I was tired of halfa$$ issues with low end bodies (10d) and slow glass.

Thanks,

Les

ps good job on the high speed pass!! I have the same series going back about 20 years now except when weather fouled something up!!

Mar 09, 2007 13:58

Les Baldwin
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LBaldwin
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etaV8R wrote in post #2842883external link
Great photo,
there is a misunderstanding many people have that the water vapor showing up means the a/c is close to or exceeding the speed of sound. This is not the case unfortunately. It is a great effect however to capture in a photograph. ;)

No misunderstanding at all. the current speed of that A/C is approx 700 mph. SoS is at sea level (humidity and temp varible) approx 761 that day.

As an a/c increases speed the various surfaces cause a vacuum that sucks the vapor into a cloud, and as the a/c increases speed that vapor gets further and further from the point where the break takes place first, the nose of the a/c.

As speed increases the point where the breaks take place moves further and further towards the rear of the a/c. Temp and humidity and altitude effect the Sos and so do the individual aspects of the a/v surfaces. A wing may break the speed of sound or stall depending on the characteristiscs of the situation. Propellers do this all the time. The ends break the speed of sound but the rest of the 'wing' do not

You will not see the cloud bubble behind the cockpit around the rear engine cowls or between the vertical stabs unless the a/c is going fast enough.

Les

Mar 09, 2007 14:13

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LBaldwin
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JWright wrote in post #2842937external link
Agreed... Most of these airshows take place over populated areas and the FAA takes a dim view of sonic booms over cities. Years ago, an F-14 pilot exceeded Mach 1 during a demo at Miramar. He was called on the carpet after numerous reports of broken windows and other damage from residents of the areas surrounding the airstation.

BA number 5 did it here in 2000 and also (I think) in 1997. The a/c does not have to pass all the way through the barrier to create that boom though. if just the nose pass through you will get a local boom. In 2000 BA #5 did and shattered several boat windows on a Coast Guard ship as well as a few police boats.

Les

Mar 09, 2007 14:16

Les Baldwin
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