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 Post subject: Airshow photography tips
PostPosted: 03 May 2014, 05:03 
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Joined: 23 Dec 2006, 06:12
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Location: Gauteng, South Africa
Kremlin wrote:
Pictchas please ... us slaapstad folks need plenty pictchas :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

[-o<


We'll try! :smt023 \:D/

On that topic, let's discuss cameras.

What, in your experience, what
1. is the best glass to use at an airshow?
1.b. is your experience with tele-converters (seeing that we are generally relegated to converters instead of big-ticket glass due to budget constraints :evil: )
2. are the best camera settings: shutter priority or aperture priority?
3. is the best ISO setting
4. is the best shutter speed
5. is the best focus mode: single point or multi-point
6. is the best focus mode: dynamic focus or static focus?
7. is the best light sampling mode: spot, or spot-and-near vicinity, or general multi-point sampling?
8. any other advice?

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PostPosted: 03 May 2014, 08:52 
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Take a look at these for starters:
Basic camera working
Aviation photography primer
Shoot an Airshow: Part One <-South African!
Shoot An Airshow: Part Two <-South African!
Darkroom Basics - Photo Edit 101

:smt023

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PostPosted: 03 May 2014, 22:23 
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Location: Centurion, Pretoria, SA
koffiepit wrote:
Kremlin wrote:
Pictchas please ... us slaapstad folks need plenty pictchas :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

[-o<


We'll try! :smt023 \:D/

On that topic, let's discuss cameras.

What, in your experience, what
1. is the best glass to use at an airshow?
1.b. is your experience with tele-converters (seeing that we are generally relegated to converters instead of big-ticket glass due to budget constraints :evil: )
2. are the best camera settings: shutter priority or aperture priority?
3. is the best ISO setting
4. is the best shutter speed
5. is the best focus mode: single point or multi-point
6. is the best focus mode: dynamic focus or static focus?
7. is the best light sampling mode: spot, or spot-and-near vicinity, or general multi-point sampling?
8. any other advice?


Best glass ? Depends if you're professional or just doing it for the fun. Most local Canon aviation photogs are using the Canon 100 - 400 lens. Gives a great range.
Teleconverters ? No, not on the 100 - 400. If you're shooting beyond 400mm your subject is anyway too far away and will be caught in the heat haze. Laughed at the 600mm boys at RIAT last year. The heat haze was so bad, they put their long lenses away.
Camera settings ? For prop jobs shoot on shutter priority at around 320th second. General rule is that shutter speed shouldn't be lower than focal length to prevent blur. 250th to 320th will give sufficient prop blur while giving you a good chance of a sharp image. Going lower on speed will compromise your ability to take sharp images. For jet jobs go to aperture priority and set aperture between F8 and F11 for the lens sweet spot. Set ISO to keep speed around 800 to 1000th second. Obviously if you take a pic of fast moving aircraft against background, go back to shutter priority for background blur.
Best ISO setting ? As low as possible to reduce grain. However, pushing ISO to 800 nowadays is not too much of an issue as software can remove the grain.
Best shutter speed? See above
Best focus single or multiple ? Single point. Makes you concentrate on good panning technique by keeping the subject centered
Best focus dynamic or static ? Dynamic for moving objects, static for static objects
Best light sampling ? Use auto white balance and evaluative if your subject is in good light. If not (backlit) use centre weighted or evaluative with overexposure between 1 and 2 stops.
Other advice ? Play around with over / under exposure. Generally, underexpose by 1/3 to 2/3 in direct/harsh light, overexpose for backlit subjects. No over/under exposure when you have rich lighting conditions. Also, only shoot in RAW. You can correct any exposure problems (not all) with RAW software. Last, when resizing images for web use, don't over-sharpen or add too much saturation when editing otherwise images will look odd.

Above terminology for Canon cameras. Advice above is based on my own personal choice and experience. Other photogs may have different advice. :smt023


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PostPosted: 04 May 2014, 07:52 
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Nice topic and some very good advice already posted.

An airshow can be an overwhelming experience for anyone new to aviation photography. It can easily result in the photographer going home with mainly poor shots of the 100's taken and have nothing worthy to show after several hours in the sun and weather. The sense of loss and failure will be more so if you spent tens of thousands of Rand on your camera with nothing to show!

- Don't hesitate to use the Auto functions of any good DSLR Canon or Nikon camera. This will ensure that you do not return home empty handed.

- By all means use the creative and advanced functions of your camera, it is the only way you will learn and improve, but if new to the game shoot on Auto as well - even the Pro's do it - especially when things happen faster than what your brain can think trying to figure out settings / apertures / ISO's / metering and all the rest of it. The plane will be long gone and you will be left with the smell of Avgas and noise and nothing else.

- Read the instruction manual of your camera and make sure you understand the many and various functions. You need to walk before you can run and you need to crawl before you can even walk ....

- Practice practice and practice, spend time at the fence of your nearest airport before the razzle dazzle of the airshow.

- Aviation photography is a thinking man's hobby, 'distractions' will ruin your day when you are out there playing with this wonderfully expensive piece of equipment.

Remember to have fun and enjoy yourself, you live this life but once. :smt023

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PostPosted: 04 May 2014, 08:43 
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Great advice coming through. =D>

Never be afraid to ask the photog next to you what settings they are using. I've picked up some good advice this way.

When at an airshow, don't let the fact that you don't have access to the 'prime' spots the media guys have. Walk around to the edges of the crowd line (may be a long walk at large shows) or stap back behind the crowds to get the bigger picture. This way, you'll get some interesting perspectives and angles that the gaggle of photogs who stand in a group will not have, plus they all end up getting the exact same shot. :wink:

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PostPosted: 09 Jul 2014, 16:16 
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See the effect of heat haze on pictures, it will destroy what could otherwise be a good picture. At the recent pre-show days at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, we had a shimmering haze from about 09:00 and it got worse as the day went. No matter what ££$$,000 camera / lens you have, you cannot escape it. Neither will P'shop fix it. I took upwards of 250 photos on the day of which twenty or so were acceptable. The other two days were better with less of a problem.

Also note the dust spot half way between the tail and the edge of the picture; some photographers do not make the effort to remove this and other aberrations when posting on the www. Not good.

Tripod! Don't buy cheap with wobbly legs when you have a R30,000+ camera and lens perched on top. I've seen guys damage their goodies by going cheap on tripods - they topple over.

Remember to have fun, you're at an airshow.

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RAF Tornado GR4A taking off

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PostPosted: 15 Mar 2015, 18:40 
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Shooting into the sun

An ever present problem for the photographer is having to shoot into the sun when no other option is available. Nothing stops you but the end result will not be good. The picture below is unedited and shows the 'digital noise' (washed out look) in the top left section and most of the sky, which sun or overexposure can cause. This can be mitigated by shooting in 'black and white' which after editing will produce a better picture.

Mistral, Airfire any thoughts?

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Fairey Gannet AEW.3

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PostPosted: 30 Apr 2015, 19:10 
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Location: Centurion, Pretoria, SA
Tally-ho wrote:
Shooting into the sun

An ever present problem for the photographer is having to shoot into the sun when no other option is available. Nothing stops you but the end result will not be good. The picture below is unedited and shows the 'digital noise' (washed out look) in the top left section and most of the sky, which sun or overexposure can cause. This can be mitigated by shooting in 'black and white' which after editing will produce a better picture.

Mistral, Airfire any thoughts?


Expose for the subject which means your sky will be almost white, but at least the subject details will be OK, like your photo above :smt023 . Also, try add a bit of contrast in photoshop or whichever photo ed software you're using. Some of us will be practicing at the Swartkop airshow in the morning session.... :wink:


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