Airshow tips anyone?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Ryan L, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. Ryan L

    Ryan L TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    89
    Location:
    Shelbyville, MI
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    So tomorrow there is a Hot Air baloon Festival and Air Show. It's a annual even and is usually pretty good. All the hot air balloons illuminated at night and there are dozens of them. Its pretty neat to see.

    Now the air show is what I want tips on. There are military jets, biplanes, jet cars, all kinds of quick buggers. I have my wonderful 70-200 F/2.8 so I should be fine speed wise. I imagine I will have to stop it down a bit since I will be shooting toward the sky most of the time, but it's not like I am shooting a car trying to stop motion at 40 mph. Will I need to be panning to try to get these shots? (Haven't really tried panning much). I think I will be bringing my monopod just because the lens is a beast and holding it up in the air all day might get a little tiring.

    I would appreciate any tips from anyone who might have shot some air shows before.
     
  2. Juice

    Juice TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Messages:
    419
    Likes Received:
    51
    Location:
    Varies
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I've only shot one air show and I didn't even know what the hell panning was when I did it. I tracked the planes and started clicking.

    I shot at higher shutter speeds to stop all motion because I think it's cool to see the prop on a plane at a perfect stand still while it's in the air.

    That lens should be fine. I did mine with a 55-250.

    A couple shots from that day:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    37,405
    Likes Received:
    10,666
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Shoot in shutter priority, use a polarizing filter, and arrive EARLY (Shooting a Blue Angels show in San Francisco several years ago, I staked out my turf three hours before the show started). You probably won't need to do a lot of panning with a 200mm lens as your field of view will be wide enough (unless the aircraft are especially close). Some of mine from a recent Snowbirds/Skyhawks show can be seen here (with EXIF data).
     
  4. edouble

    edouble TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NEPA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I recommend to set your auto focus to continuous as well as continuous shooting. You are going to have to take hundreds of exposes to get a few good ones. So make sure you have enough memory available on your card.

    Panning is recommended, especially at aircraft's high speed.
     
  5. Ryan L

    Ryan L TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    89
    Location:
    Shelbyville, MI
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I wish I had a CP for this lens...I may pick up a "cheap" one before I go if I have time. But even the cheapest 77mm CP around the area is 64 bucks (promaster)!

    So you say I should pan huh? Usually with panning you want a slower shutter speed isn't it? Like 1/40-1/60th?, I am not sure how slow I can accomplish without washing out the entire image looking into the sky. I can stop it down alot, but even so I know its supposed to be pretty bright out, with clear skies. I'll try a few different ways and see how they turn out.
     
  6. crimbfighter

    crimbfighter No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,166
    Likes Received:
    439
    Location:
    Wisconsin, United States
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I'm still a bit of a beginner, myself, but I've found a few things that worked for me. I used spot metering to make sure my exposure was set by the plane, especially since they were almost all back lit, used shutter priority (1/500-1/1000 worked best for me), set the shutter to burst mode and used continuous focusing. I also did not pan, so to speak. I tracked the planes in the view finder so I could capture the best moments, i.e. planes crossing paths, apex of a maneuver, ect. Another thing that made a huge difference for me, was forcing myself to keep both eyes open so I could keep the view finder on one object and track another, such as another plane, as it entered the frame.

    I actually posed a few of my last airshow pics asking for C&C on composition. Everyone agreed it's hard to compose such fast movers, but one great tip that was given to me was to give them space in front, as to induce the idea of movement by giving them some where to go.

    Here's a couple shots I got. I already know they're not very good, as they were my first attempts, but they are something to see how I got these results. I also noticed, when it was too late, I had my ISO cranked waaaay up... These are also completely un-PP'd. No cropping, adjusting ect., well maybe with the exception of one photo...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I have a ton more, but wont bore you with all of them...
    Hope my two cents helps!
     
  7. altitude604

    altitude604 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Messages:
    720
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NFLD, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    for prop aircraft if you shoot at around 1/200 or 1/250 you will get a bit of prop blur which looks a lot better and more natural than the props frozen in time.

    for jets i usually shoot at 1/800 or 1/1000 depending on their phase of flight. on take-off you can get away with a bit slower as they'll only generally be getting airborne at 190 knots.
     
  8. edouble

    edouble TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Messages:
    715
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NEPA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Either a CP or a neutral density filter will allow you to shot a slower shutter speeds, especially a +2 to +4 neutral density filter.
     
  9. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    478
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I don't know if you can rent lenses, but if you can, try to get at least a 300mm.

    200mm is a little short, even on DX for the airshows generally. These were shot at 200mm on my D70 and the've been cropped significantly.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    For jets you can use whatever shutter speed you want, for prop planes and helicopters, you'll want to shoot more around 1/200th-1/250th because you want to be fast enough to blur the motion, but not too fast where they look like they're falling out of the sky.

    always shoot at base ISO and you might want to try overexposing a little and recovering the sky, that way you're not doing alot of shadow recovery and your subjects stay clean.
     
  10. Morpheuss

    Morpheuss TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    Messages:
    596
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    So far the only airshow that I have taken pictures of is when I had a Nikon coolpix something. It worked pretty well I would have loved to have the DSLR that I have now but tracking the planes were the most important thing I found true anyway. Just taking a picture the plane was always at the edge or cut our completely missing from the picture if I didn't follow the plane as I took the picture.
     
  11. lostprophet

    lostprophet No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Messages:
    11,770
    Likes Received:
    109
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

airshow photography tips

,
blue angels plane
,
camera settings hot air balloon
,
hot air balloons photography canon tips
,

how to photograph hot air balloons

,

how to photograph hot air balloons at night

,

how to take a picture of a hot air balloon at night with canon rebel

,

night airshow photography

,

nikon d5000 setting for airshows

,
settings for nikon d5000 for shooting flying planes