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Thread started 15 Jan 2015 (Thursday) 11:30
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Air shows. Post your best shots.

 
Littlefield
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Joined Jan 2006
SC, USA
Post has been edited 4 months ago by Littlefield.
Jul 03, 2017 16:44 as a reply to post 18393481 |  #1336

Chris, practice with a lens that has IS. Dove hunting all these years, swing and follow through, has helped me. Lol
Don




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cooltouch
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Post has been edited 4 months ago by cooltouch.
Jul 03, 2017 17:27 |  #1337

Chris L F wrote in post #18393358 (external link)
First time shooting aircraft, so please go easy on me!

Bit of advice please. I see some of you guys use quite lower shutter speeds to get nice prop blur. Are you using mono-pods or tripods at those speeds as the rest of the aircraft are lovely and sharp? Thanks, Chris

I agree with Moose. I've been doing airshows since the mid-1980s and I've picked up a few things. First off, for decent prop blur, you want to be shooting at speeds of 1/250 or slower. This means, in practice, typically no slower than 1/60 second. Sometimes 1/250 is not quite good enough. You'll get prop blur but sometimes not enough. It depends on the prop speed, really. Now, typically at airshows, I'm shooting at 300mm, sometimes longer, so trying to get sharp images at slow speeds can be a challenge. A tripod usually doesn't work very well, unless the planes are flying a predictable path across show center. When using a tripod this way, you want the head's controls to be loose, so that you're just using the tripod as a vertical support. A monopod, being somewhat more flexible, provides somewhat more flexibility -- but not much. So, like Moose, I prefer to shoot freehand.

My favorite lens for airshows is a manual focus Tamron 60B 300mm f/2.8 LD-IF. This is a big, heavy lens. It won't usually work at slow speeds when shooting a stationary subject, but when panning, often a slow speed can be used successfully. The key to this is to pan smoothly and to maintain a smooth follow-through even after tripping the shutter. Reason for this is to ensure the pan is still smooth when the shutter is tripped. With a heavy lens like this, its mass can actually work to your advantage because it will smooth out any jitters you might otherwise transmit to the camera.

Here's an image where the shutter speed was somewhere around 1/500. The camera was set to Aperture priority, so I'm not sure of the exact shutter speed. EXIF data was lost during processing. As you can see, there's some prop blur, but just barely.

IMAGE: http://michaelmcbroom.com/images/aircraft/woh2011/f7f_tigercat_1.jpg

Here's a pic of the same aircraft at a different show, and shot at somewhere between 1/125 and 1/250. As you can see, the prop blur is much more convincing. An unfortunate side effect, with this particular image, is it isn't as sharp as the above one.
IMAGE: http://michaelmcbroom.com/images/aircraft/woh2015/DSC00351_f7f_3b.jpg

I like shooting with the big Tamron because, with its low-dispersion glass, it does a great job of eliminating chromatic aberrations. But smaller lenses with ED glass, such as the Nikkor 70-300 AF D ED, can do just as good of a job, but also software like Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro do a good job of cleaning up the CA artifacts. The main thing is to have a telephoto of sufficient length and good sharpness that you're used to using. And I've found that usually 300mm is what's most often required. Sometimes 300mm is too much, in which case a zoom is handy. Sometimes it isn't enough, in which case one of the long reaching zooms, like Canons 100-400 EF and others, may work better for you. The long Sigmas do a good job. I've seen some brilliant airshow photos taken with Sigma's "Bigma" aka its giant 50-500mm zoom.

Michael
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cicopo
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Jul 03, 2017 17:58 |  #1338

I went back to my first full scale air show that I worked on getting some blur & picked a similar photo to compare results. This is hand held (which is how I shoot) and at 1/250. There's enough blur to know they are running but 1/200 or slower would look better. You need to pay attention to the situation too. Take off is at high RPM's, but show passes & landings are generally at lower RPM's.

IMAGE: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3778/10429989316_19c1f64545_b.jpg

A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought.

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cooltouch
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Post has been edited 4 months ago by cooltouch.
Jul 03, 2017 18:26 |  #1339

Hey Cicopo, I think your shot looks just fine at 1/250. That's plenty good enough prop blur in my book. You want to avoid doing this:

Shutter speed probably about 1/1000 second.

IMAGE: http://michaelmcbroom.com/images/aircraft/woh2015/DSC00298_spitfire_2b.jpg

I was shooting with my camera set to Aperture Priority and wasn't paying attention to the shutter speed.

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cicopo
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Jul 03, 2017 18:43 |  #1340

Oh I know how to freeze them just fine. Last summer I shot the Skyhawk's Parachute Team at 1/1600-1/2000 which worked out great BUT suddenly the Herc they had been jumping from did a high speed show pass & I immediately started shooting but as my brain kicked in the pass was over. All 4 props are frozen perfectly. That should have been a nice set but I didn't even look at them once I got home.


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Pagman
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Jul 03, 2017 18:59 |  #1341

cooltouch wrote in post #18393520 (external link)
I agree with Moose. I've been doing airshows since the mid-1980s and I've picked up a few things. First off, for decent prop blur, you want to be shooting at speeds of 1/250 or slower. This means, in practice, typically no slower than 1/60 second. Sometimes 1/250 is not quite good enough. You'll get prop blur but sometimes not enough. It depends on the prop speed, really. Now, typically at airshows, I'm shooting at 300mm, sometimes longer, so trying to get sharp images at slow speeds can be a challenge. A tripod usually doesn't work very well, unless the planes are flying a predictable path across show center. When using a tripod this way, you want the head's controls to be loose, so that you're just using the tripod as a vertical support. A monopod, being somewhat more flexible, provides somewhat more flexibility -- but not much. So, like Moose, I prefer to shoot freehand.

My favorite lens for airshows is a manual focus Tamron 60B 300mm f/2.8 LD-IF. This is a big, heavy lens. It won't usually work at slow speeds when shooting a stationary subject, but when panning, often a slow speed can be used successfully. The key to this is to pan smoothly and to maintain a smooth follow-through even after tripping the shutter. Reason for this is to ensure the pan is still smooth when the shutter is tripped. With a heavy lens like this, its mass can actually work to your advantage because it will smooth out any jitters you might otherwise transmit to the camera.

Here's an image where the shutter speed was somewhere around 1/500. The camera was set to Aperture priority, so I'm not sure of the exact shutter speed. EXIF data was lost during processing. As you can see, there's some prop blur, but just barely.
QUOTED IMAGE

Here's a pic of the same aircraft at a different show, and shot at somewhere between 1/125 and 1/250. As you can see, the prop blur is much more convincing. An unfortunate side effect, with this particular image, is it isn't as sharp as the above one.
QUOTED IMAGE

I like shooting with the big Tamron because, with its low-dispersion glass, it does a great job of eliminating chromatic aberrations. But smaller lenses with ED glass, such as the Nikkor 70-300 AF D ED, can do just as good of a job, but also software like Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro do a good job of cleaning up the CA artifacts. The main thing is to have a telephoto of sufficient length and good sharpness that you're used to using. And I've found that usually 300mm is what's most often required. Sometimes 300mm is too much, in which case a zoom is handy. Sometimes it isn't enough, in which case one of the long reaching zooms, like Canons 100-400 EF and others, may work better for you. The long Sigmas do a good job. I've seen some brilliant airshow photos taken with Sigma's "Bigma" aka its giant 50-500mm zoom.

I think lack of IS or VR can make a difference - I have the None VR non AF-S nikkor 300 f4, and pared with my D7100, I have found the slowest sh speed I can go down to hand holding is 1/500sec, I have tried 1/400sec but so far all shots at the later have had a bit to much motion blur.

P.


Nikon D7100, Nikkor 300 f4 IF ED :-)

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joeseph
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Jul 04, 2017 03:07 |  #1342

cooltouch wrote in post #18393554 (external link)
Hey Cicopo, I think your shot looks just fine at 1/250. That's plenty good enough prop blur in my book. You want to avoid doing this:

Shutter speed probably about 1/1000 second.
QUOTED IMAGE

I was shooting with my camera set to Aperture Priority and wasn't paying attention to the shutter speed.

fine shot of a beautiful bird - you can't complain!


some fairly old canon camera stuff, canon lenses, Manfrotto "thingy", 1D MK II converted for IR, and now an M5
TF posting: here :-)

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Chris ­ L ­ F
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Warwick, England
Post has been edited 4 months ago by Chris L F.
Jul 04, 2017 08:07 |  #1343

Thanks again for the continuing advice and comments.

I processed a few more shots after posting and have to say I'm quite pleased with my first attempt. Most shots do have some blur, which is good, but more would be even better. Of course it's the trade off between getting the plane sharp and the prop blur.

My 70-300 on a crop does have IS and for most shots was long enough. Though wandering through the other guys I did feel a little inadequate! I did think however that as we were quite close to the flight line that many of them would have too much reach with what they were using if primes.

My plan is to get a 100-400 EF in the near future (for bird photography as well) and that will do me nicely.

One of the guys using a tripod had what seems like the perfect solution. For vertical movement the camera was set in a large U-shaped frame and what with the horizontal movement available from the tripod head gave him quick and unhindered movement. And with the aircraft going on fairly predictable paths he didn't have any trouble. Bit OTT for me though as an occasional aircraft photographer.

Hadn't been to an air show for donkeys years (this was the Shuttleworth Military Pageant on Sunday) but can see how they can become addictive for photographers!

Chris


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BigAl007
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Joined Dec 2010
Repps cum Bastwick, Gt Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK.
Jul 04, 2017 16:31 |  #1344

Chris L F wrote in post #18393358 (external link)
First time shooting aircraft, so please go easy on me!

Bit of advice please. I see some of you guys use quite lower shutter speeds to get nice prop blur. Are you using mono-pods or tripods at those speeds as the rest of the aircraft are lovely and sharp? Thanks, Chris

QUOTED IMAGE
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/V7gq​8o] (external link)IMG_0751-2 (external link) by Hinkleigh (external link), on Flickr

QUOTED IMAGE
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/V7go​AA] (external link)IMG_1436-3 (external link) by Hinkleigh (external link), on Flickr


I have never been able to manage a tri or monopod for aviation, all the way back to when I started shooting airshows back in the 70's. What I did settle upon was the shoulder stock, and they were far more commonly commercially available back then. The one I used back then was sold under the Prinze brand (Dixons). These days I'm using a homebrew system built from one of those 15mm rod systems sold for building DSLR video rigs. A combination of practice, and Mode 2 optical image stabilization means that I can shoot comfortably at 1/160 or slower
using a 600mm lens on my 50D, and often even use a 1.5× crop. This is my current rig, I just tape my remote release to the front handle when actually shooting.

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I usually shoot fixed wing prop aircraft at 1/160, this usually gives a reasnable balance between prop blur, and getting a useable shot. Sometimes however it is possible to set 1/60 by accident, and this was the result of one of those times. This was shot at 1/60s at 600mm with an added 1.5× crop, for an effective focal length of 900mm on a 50D.

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4099/34880797784_e43ef31db5_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/V9ic​Xf] (external link)Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (external link) by Alan Evans (external link), on Flickr

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Chris ­ L ­ F
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Jul 05, 2017 15:37 |  #1345

Interesting set-up Alan.

Lovely prop blur (even if unintended!) and sharpness given the focal length! :)


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Littlefield
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Joined Jan 2006
SC, USA
Jul 05, 2017 18:37 |  #1346

The Blues put on a fantastic show at Beaufort SC.

IMAGE: http://image.ibb.co/iQBfea/IMG_2211_Edit.jpg



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Perfectly ­ Frank
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Joined Oct 2010
Jul 06, 2017 02:08 |  #1347

Pagman wrote in post #18393571 (external link)
I think lack of IS or VR can make a difference - I have the None VR non AF-S nikkor 300 f4, and pared with my D7100, I have found the slowest speed I can go down to hand holding is 1/500sec
P.


I agree...my Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS II and 300 f2.8 IS II both have mode 2 panning IS. It offers 4 stops of IS, and does help when panning
aircraft at slow shutter speeds. I tested these lenses at my local airport, panning landing aircraft. I experimented with mode 2 on/off.
Mode 2 does provide a noticeable benefit.


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Perfectly ­ Frank
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Jul 06, 2017 02:11 |  #1348

Vicky Benzing in her 1940 Boeing Stearman...

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4144/35682154016_9f0b01f484_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Wn7n​f1] (external link)Vicky Benzing Going Up! (external link) by bigbend700 (external link), on Flickr

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tonyniev
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Jul 06, 2017 02:25 |  #1349

Phantom, F4

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/Photography/Aviation-Nation-2016/i-qMcJm5n/0/1b9e2ade/XL/IMG_1267-XL.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://photos.smugmug​.com .../IMG_1267-XL.jpg&lb=1&s=A] (external link) on Smugmug

Cheers,
Tony
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tonyniev
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Jul 06, 2017 02:38 |  #1350

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/Photography/Aviation-Nation-2016/i-9zZh27N/0/7133e827/X2/IMG_1015-X2.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://photos.smugmug​.com .../IMG_1015-X2.jpg&lb=1&s=A] (external link) on Smugmug

Cheers,
Tony
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