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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Transportation Talk
Thread started 04 Nov 2017 (Saturday) 23:30
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Attending First Air Show - Seeking Advices

 
ldn323
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Nov 04, 2017 23:30 |  #1

It looks like I'd finally have a chance to attend my first airshow. It's the Warbirds Over Monroe which will be held this coming weekend (Nov 11 and 12). See https://warbirdsovermo​nroe.com (external link)

I plan to bring one body (1Dx or 7D2) and one lens (Canon 100-400mm Mark II or Sigma 150-600mm C). The weather forecast calls for "partially cloudy" on Saturday. Which combo would you recommend and why?

This will be my first visit to the Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport. I would appreciate any advices you may have regarding "best spots" for a variety of action shots.

Thanks.


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1Dx, 7D Mark II, XTi, Fuji X100s, Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II, Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS, Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, Canon 1.4X II, Canon 2x III

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PhotosGuy
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Nov 04, 2017 23:58 |  #2

I'd take the 150-600mm + a wider lens because you'll need both. Seen these? Shooting airshows in Manual

Airshow guys - prop freeze?

Good luck!


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ldn323
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Nov 05, 2017 00:15 |  #3

PhotosGuy wrote in post #18488913 (external link)
I'd take the 150-600mm + a wider lens because you'll need both. Seen these? Shooting airshows in Manual

Airshow guys - prop freeze?

Good luck!

Hi,

I am familiar with the techniques. I am just not sure about the environment, e.g. how far/close would the actions be, would there be certain vantage points at the venue, etc.

I forgot about wider lens for aircrafts on display. Thanks for reminding me. I don't have a wide enough lens for the 1Dx so maybe taking the 7D2 would allow me to use my 10-22.

Thanks.


Linh - My Flickr (external link)
1Dx, 7D Mark II, XTi, Fuji X100s, Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II, Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS, Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, Canon 1.4X II, Canon 2x III

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mike_d
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Nov 05, 2017 00:45 |  #4

ldn323 wrote in post #18488922 (external link)
Hi,

I am familiar with the techniques. I am just not sure about the environment, e.g. how far/close would the actions be, would there be certain vantage points at the venue, etc.

I forgot about wider lens for aircrafts on display. Thanks for reminding me. I don't have a wide enough lens for the 1Dx so maybe taking the 7D2 would allow me to use my 10-22.

Thanks.

The wider lens comes in handy for aircraft in flight too. I recently went to an air show at the beach, so no planes on the ground to see. I took my 5D3 + 100-400II + 1.4x while my friend brought his 6D and 24-70. While his lens was way too short for any close-ups, his wider perspective was useful for certain displays and for providing context. Have a look below. Exif data is included.

https://www.smugmug.co​m/gallery/n-JwNwZ3/ (external link)




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BigAl007
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Nov 05, 2017 01:06 |  #5

Short Answer: Personally given what you have I would say 7DII and 150-600, and I would also want to have the 1Dx with the 70-200 on it during the show. I would always suggest trying to find a good vantage point that is close to crowd center.

Since there is no map on the website it's hard to say where the spectators will be. Looking in Google maps it looks like there is a lot of open space on the airfield to the southeast of the runway. If that is where they put the crowd then it will be good, as the lighting will be perfect. If you are NW of the runway then the light will not be so good, but at least it is better than the usual east west runways we usually see in the UK. I'm a believer in the saying you cannot have too much focal length, hence 7DII with the 150-600 as the main camera. I hadn't been to a show in a couple of years, this last duxford show I was at, the Sigma 150-600 C seemed to be even more popular than the 100-400L of either version. Loads of Canon shooters now with big black lenses. The thing is that you will want a wider than 150mm on any of your bodies for shots of big formations. I only have APSC bodies, but I shot at FLs from 28mm all the way to 600mm, and you don't have time to swap lenses. A second body with something wider, say 70-200 on a 35mm sensor is also great if you can be right on the crowd line, and they have the aircraft taxying past you.

For a show like this I would be carrying the 1Dx with the 24-105 and the 7DII with the 10-22 during the morning for the statics. Then swap to the 150-600 on the 7DII with the 70-200 on the 1Dx for the flying. If the aircraft are really close though, you might get away with the 150-600 on the 1Dx and the 24-105 on the 7DII. I would have to be very close to the flight line to do that though. For single seat warbirds I still find that I often need to crop by 1.5× from my 50D, even shooting at 600mm. That would be the same FoV as an uncropped 1440mm lens on a 35mm sensor! It's all very well being able to fill the frame with the aircraft at the closest point of approach to you, but 90 degree side on shots can be pretty boring. Getting shots from the quarters means having to shoot them when they are a lot further away. It can also be quite tempting to pull back on the zoom bit, so that you can hold the aircraft in the frame better. I guess though if you shoot BiF you should be able to manage that.

I will re-emphasize the shutter speed limitations, with a prop I would always shoot at under 1/200, and if the number of display runs allows I would try some at 1/100 or even 1/60. For helicopters you really need to get down around 1/100 for good rotor blur. At least digital allows you to shoot lots of frames. I try to shoot three shot bursts, hoping that I get the middle shot OK, and losing the first and last to induced vertical camera movements, pressing and releasing the button. I mostly shoot at 1/160s as it usually gives acceptable prop blur even on a landing run at minimum revs.

My show gear for the flying is my 50D with my 150-600 and my 20D with my old Sigma 28-300 for the wide stuff. For the ground displays it's the 50D with my Sigma 20-40 f/2.8, and at times the 28-300, sometimes the static displays can be quite far away, even on things like a flightline walk. It's really only at a museum, or other indoor display that an ultra wide angle lens will be necessary. I don't have one, but do find that I could really use one at times in the museum halls at places like Duxford.

You can of course get good shots with just one camera and lens, but for propper coverage you really need two bodies for an airshow.

Alan


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ldn323
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Nov 05, 2017 06:27 |  #6

Lots of good info and experience to learn from. Thanks. Please keep them coming.

I normally carry multiple bodies and multiple lenses for birding trips. I was (or my back was) hoping for a single combo this time but it does not look that way. It is heading down the "full load" path now.

Should I also bring my tripod? I shoot hand held most of the times but tripod comes in handy when shooting with 2 bodies.

One technical question: for BIF I normally shoot AF with center point plus 4 surrounds. What would you suggest for PIF (plane in flight :-) )?

Thanks.


Linh - My Flickr (external link)
1Dx, 7D Mark II, XTi, Fuji X100s, Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II, Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS, Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, Canon 1.4X II, Canon 2x III

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PhotosGuy
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Nov 05, 2017 06:37 |  #7

ldn323 wrote in post #18489018 (external link)
Should I also bring my tripod? I shoot hand held most of the times but tripod comes in handy when shooting with 2 bodies.

I've seen a lot of guys with big lenses that seem to like a tripod, just to hold the camera, or to hold their spot if not anything else. I don't carry mine & like the freedom to move.

One technical question: for BIF I normally shoot AF with center point plus 4 surrounds. What would you suggest for PIF (plane in flight :-) )?

Generally, I like to see a little more room in front of the aircraft to give it some room to "move into" as a more dynamic crop, so I use the joystick to select the AF point. It only takes a second.


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gjl711
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Nov 05, 2017 07:19 |  #8

Last month I shot Wings over Dallas at a smaller venue which looks similar to the one in Monroe. I had two cameras and several lenses. The setup that worked for me was 7d-Siggy 150-600 and 5DII-24/70. Swapping lenses is not optimal as generally by the time you realize you need a different lens, getting it together and ready to shoot, the action is over. Grabbing another camera is faster.

For the 7D-Siggy150-600, almost none of my keepers are over 450mm. Actually few are over 300mm. I had a tripod but using it was almost impossible. I put it away after a few attempts. It was much easier to handhold. This made getting good prop blur difficult as the slower shutter speeds especially at long ranges resulted in good plane blur as well.
https://www.flickr.com .../albums/72157685959​056852 (external link)


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ldn323
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Nov 05, 2017 07:55 |  #9

gjl711 wrote in post #18489037 (external link)
For the 7D-Siggy150-600, almost none of my keepers are over 450mm.

Your experience appears to be consistent with mine (albeit BIF). I typically try to keep the Sigma at 500mm or less for my BIF. I find that at longer focal length the Sigma does not acquire focus fast enough and does not track reliably, especially with smaller, fast birds. I am curious to see how it would do with larger targets.

Having said that, I did see Alan's Flickr pages show a lot of sharp plane pictures taken with the same lens at 600mm. So, there is that.


Linh - My Flickr (external link)
1Dx, 7D Mark II, XTi, Fuji X100s, Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II, Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS, Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, Canon 1.4X II, Canon 2x III

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gjl711
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Nov 05, 2017 08:59 |  #10

I had no trouble tracking even at +500mm but at those extreme zooms, camera shake becomes a huge problem which means that you have to shorten the shutter speed which means you loose prop blur.


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davesrose
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Post has been last edited 11 days ago by davesrose. 3 edits done in total.
Nov 05, 2017 20:31 |  #11

I thought I'd try googling and seeing if there's a photography group for the airshow. Sometimes they're able to get early access: a chance for you to get close access to the planes while the sun is just coming up, and talk with the aviators/sponsors. Doesn't look like they have that, but there is a group meeting. There probably will be planes on display, and even some Cessna planes offering discount plane flights. When I was a kid, I attended a local airshow at the regional airport, and was fortunate to have a lesson. Though this looks like a fairly small venue, and there will be opportunities for close ups for displays that they are calling re-enactments (looks more like all branches of the military).

Warbirds Over Monroe Photography Meetup (external link)

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Canon 5D mk III , 7D mk II
EF 135mm 2.0L, EF 70-200mm 2.8L IS II, EF 24-70 2.8L II, EF 50mm 1.4, EF 100mm 2.8L Macro, EF 16-35mm 4L IS, Sigma 150-600mm C, 580EX, 600EX-RT, MeFoto Globetrotter tripod, grips, Black Rapid RS-7, CAMS plate and strap system, Lowepro Flipside 500 AW, and a few other things...
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BigAl007
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Nov 06, 2017 05:58 |  #12

When it comes to tripods for airshows I gave up on them in about 1980 or so, I was 16 or so at the time. I had been struggling with them for a number of years at that point. The problem with PiF is that you are going to need to pan through pretty close to 180 degrees. Even as a mildly fit 14 year old I had come to realise that moving that far round a tripod in 30 seconds or so was not the way to go. Back then of course we had no image stabilisation, and shooting at 400mm was usually a case of 1/500 and prop blur be buggered. I solved the problem when I got a shoulder stock mount for the camera. Being able to swing the camera about like a shotgun makes for really smooth panning, at least when the subject is predictable. The one I had back then was custom made, for those that know it was sold under the Dixons (then still big in photography, now part of Currys PC World) Prinz brand. Now I have one that I built from one of those cheap Amazon 16mm tube kits for video rigs.

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I have now modified this with a wired remote that has had the single double press switch separated into two, a thumb button for AF and a front button for shutter. It kind of works, at least I don't accidentally fire the shutter rather than initiate AF, but it seems that the 50D is unwilling to fire without doing the AF stage. The switch box is mounted to the forward of the two handles.

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4486/38211448401_72e7d67d3c_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/21dB​EkT] (external link)0002 (external link) by Alan Evans (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4549/38211446081_3d9bae93ca_o.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/21dB​DDT] (external link)0001 (external link) by Alan Evans (external link), on Flickr

This is now pretty close to ideal for me, about the only thing that might make it better is adding a power zoom function. That is mostly because of my health issues, I find having both hands on the handles all the time helpful, so could use some means of aiding zooming.

When it comes to the actual AF PiF, is pretty easy. Compared to BiF even the most erratic PiF are flying in pretty much a predictable direction as far as the AF system is concerned. The AI Servo AF of the 50D is pretty basic, so I just have it set to all points. The 50D all points starts on the center point, but will then track across all of the points if necessary. I also have it set so that Disabled if unable to focus is set. This stops the AF cycling if I drop the points off the aircraft, or some much closer ground feature passes in between. Nothing worse than the AF cycling to MFD in the middle of the pass.

Alan

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ldn323
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Nov 06, 2017 15:43 |  #13

That's a serious looking contraption there, Alan :-)

I never used all points with my BIF. The small sizes of the birds, in relation to the sky and/or busy foliage background, seem to confuse the all points easily. However, I am tempted to try it this time with PIF when the planes occupy a larger part of the frame.

Thanks.


Linh - My Flickr (external link)
1Dx, 7D Mark II, XTi, Fuji X100s, Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary, Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II, Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS, Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, Canon 1.4X II, Canon 2x III

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BigAl007
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Nov 06, 2017 18:03 |  #14

ldn323 wrote in post #18490208 (external link)
That's a serious looking contraption there, Alan :-)

I never used all points with my BIF. The small sizes of the birds, in relation to the sky and/or busy foliage background, seem to confuse the all points easily. However, I am tempted to try it this time with PIF when the planes occupy a larger part of the frame.

Thanks.


Apart from the camera it all came in at under £20! Well I guess you could add another £7.50 for the old Eley ammo box, but I got full value from that already :). the remote release was one where the cable had failed going through the moulded strain relief, and it was only a couple of quid anyway. The push buttons were £1 each and the complete video rig was about £15 off Amazon, via China. Actually I cocked up the locations of the buttons in the box, and should really re-do it. I'll probably find one of my old Tennex (AKA Eley red top) boxes from when I was shooting competitively, just for the lols.

When it comes to the planes I find having a selection of AF points to use helpful, but I'm nowhere near as steady as I used to be with the tracking, so just a single point could be difficult to keep on the subject. The aircraft can end up quite small in the VF too, but generally you don't have much in the way of a background. Usually unless on a takeoff or landing run, for them to have much of a ground based background, well unless you are in the mountains, they will also be quite close, so pretty big. Mind you around here a 25 foot high hill is something you can see from a good number of miles away! But much of my local area is at LESS than 0 ft altitude.

Alan


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ShadowHillsPhoto
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Nov 07, 2017 15:45 |  #15

This past year my setup at airshows was a 1DXII with 600mm f4 IS II, and a 7DII with the 100-400mm IS II. The year before I had the 1DX, so I'm pretty familiar with your setup other than the Sigma. With your gear I think I would take the 1DX and the 100-400mm II. If you have a 1.4x III, or can get your hands on one for the weekend, that would be ideal. Without the teleconverter I might bring along the 7DII just in case I felt like 400mm on the 1DX wasn't cutting it once I was there. Generally though, I would rather just crop a bit on the 1DX due to the better IQ, especially if it's overcast at all and you need to bump the ISO up a bit.




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Attending First Air Show - Seeking Advices
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