Pagman wrote in post #17639366
How would ETTR or any of the exposure control come into affect in fast environments like Airshows etc? I have been in situations like this in the past including Heathrow Airport when you could spot planes from a special viewing area inside the complex, when I used to go then when you wanted to get as many photos as possible - you had no time to mess with your camera or meter the scene, our cams where used more like PAS cams just snap snap snap in various lighting conditions, one minute loads of sky in the shot, the next a ground shot including buildings, and the next into the sun.
I would imagine it is like that at some of the very big airshows with lots of fast action going on, and trying not to miss anything, with your cam primed for everything, again In the past I have done loads of shows like that, one minute using the 70mm end of my zoom for a staic plane, then quickly turning round to catch a plane blasting off the runway, so it was a case of quickly turning extending the lens to 300mm and fire off a couple of quick blasts.
This was the sort of picture taking I was used to - relying on the cam just to record the shot onto film under varying conditions all i auto mode.
Set your exposure manually, based ideally on using an incident lightmeter, and away you go. Most summer airshows that i have been to in the UK, I have been able to set my exposure at the start of the show, and unless you have very broken cloud, the exposure at around 2pm will be pretty constant for the next three or so hours, certainly within a half stop. If the conditions to change, generally they are quite slow, and you will notice and re-meter for the changes conditions anyway. I have two main setups for airshows, the first is at 1/160 for propellor driven aircraft, the other for jets is 1/2000 or as close as I can get depending on lighting and maximum unexpanded ISO. Usually if it is sunny the 1/160 shot will need ISO 100 and about f/11 to f/16 which is pretty close to sunny 16 anyway. It would have to be quite exceptional conditions, which would actually affect the running of an airshow in all probability, to make the light change fast enough that one might actually want to use an auto exposure mode. It will take a strong wind to push the clouds along that fast.
Really the only time that this hasn't worked for me is when I have had a very thin layer of cloud that is directly backlit by the sun. This produces so much light, compared the the exposure that the aircraft would actually need that it starts to bleed across saturating the sensor with scattered light. In this situation it is pretty much going to be impossible to get any decent results. If you reduce the exposure to prevent the sky/scattering saturating the sensor you just end up with a silhouette with no detail at all. I have encountered this once at Duxford, when shooting aircraft out to the west of the airfield, as the crowd line runs roughly east north east to west south west with the crowd on the north side. The other occasion was at Seething an old WWII Liberator bomber base. At the show here the line runs a bit more north south and faces west. Here it wasn't so much cloud, but on a day with very little wind the white smoke from several aerobatic displays coalesced into a thin layer, with a little haze added in. In both cases shots in the general direction of the sun were affected, while anything away from the sun was fine. With blue skies you would need to have the sun fully in shot, and very close to the subject to get this sort of effect. With thicker cloud cover, the sun is obscured enough anyway to negate the effect.
I don't know how many times it has to be said to you that for aviation, and other backlit scenarios, auto exposure of any sort is not particularly useful, while full manual control is your friend. Yes you can force auto modes to work for you, but it is much harder work to do so. The biggest problem is that the amount of EC necessary will vary with the weather conditions. Blue sky will need one EC setting, bright white clouds will require another, while dark clouds will require yet a third. In the time it takes to make that decision on how much EC to apply, and then take the shot, you could have your manual settings set, including taking a meter reading, and still get the same shot. Its just a case of storing the camera with the most likely settings already set. If I am just expecting to want to take general photographs, not aviations subjects, in the summer I will leave my camera with my standard range zoom, set to ISO 100 Av mode with the aperture set at f/5.6 and with +1 stop EC as I prefer my images that much brighter than the ISO standards specify . In the winter that might be ISO 200 or even ISO 400, as the conditions are less likely to support ISO 100. This way I can grab the camera and have a good chance that the settings will produce a reasonable result, or only require a couple of clicks adjustment in either direction. In specific situations I will have already set up the camera with settings close to what I might expect to need to use.
Remember the six P's, Prior Planning Prevents Pi** Poor Performance.