I'm almost embarrassed to ask this....

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by NEPats37, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. NEPats37

    NEPats37 TPF Noob!

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    I am going to an air show and have been looking online for tips, mostly about exposure when taking pictures of planes in flight against a bright background. I found an article on a web page but was confused by the wording they used and I was hoping you could help me. Here's that part of the article....

    When taking pictures of aircraft in the air against a bright sky the cameras metering system can be fooled into underexposing the actual aircraft so it is best to set the camera to overexpose by 1-2 stops.

    I've been trying to figure out what excatly they mean by "overexpose 1-2 stops". Do they mean open the aperture 1-2 stops or adjust the exposure compensation dial to +1 or +2?

    Any other tips would be helpful as well.
    Thanks
     
  2. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Exposure is a formula which is comprised of 3 parts. Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO (film speed). Changing the exposure by 1 stop results in halving or doubling the amount of light that hits the film/sensor. Exposure is altered when 1 component of the 3 is changed. Changing the aperture will alter the exposure, and also the depth of field. Changing the shutter speed will alter the exposure, and the ability to freeze motion. Changing the ISO will alter the exposure by altering the sensitivity of the medium. This has its own inherant compromises, like increased grain/noise. The choice you make is up to you, and what you need.

    You use the meter in your camera to determine an "acceptable" exposure. The meter can't tell you what to do. It can only measure light. It's up to you to make the correct choice in the situation. Meters are tuned to read middle grey, or 18% grey. When you meter the sky, it will give you settings that will cause the sky to reproduce as 18% grey. This may or may not be what you want. In your case, the sky is going to be much brighter than the aircraft. If the sky is middle grey, the aircraft will be darker than middle grey, and thus have very little to no detail. You need to "overexpose" from the meter reading. You are not overexposing the shot, only the meter's recommendation, because you know you don't want a middle gray sky and a black plane. By overexposing 1 to 2 stops, you cause the sky to be brighter than middle grey, and also the plane to recieve more exposure. How you do this is up to you. In the case of a moving object such as a plane, you'll need a pretty quick shutter speed to freeze the motion of it. I would probably want at least 1/500 or faster. You'll have to set your ISO and aperture appropriately to give you this exposure.
     
  3. lasershot

    lasershot TPF Noob!

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    Well, something that would be kind of neat is to just play with both of them and see which seems better...
     
  4. spazoid1965

    spazoid1965 TPF Noob!

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    If you are shooting in auto mode opening the aperture up 2 stoops will not adjust the exposure by two stops. The camera will compesate by selecting a faster shutter speed. The easiest way to acheive this is to use the exposure compensation dial. This will tell the light meter in the camera that you are using slower film. Thus the camera will have aslower shutter speed.
     
  5. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    All of the posts are correct ... but may be a bit confusing. This may be over simplified but here it goes...

    Now assuming you are using a digital camera:

    Set your Mode to Shutter Speed Priority.

    You will need a fast shutter speed so somewhere around 1/500 to 1/1000 for jets, 1/250 to 1/500 for prop aircraft (you need to adjust your shutter speed to allow for some prop blur otherwise the planes will look as if they're falling out of the sky ... so for props shoot at 1/500 and chimp for blur ... if you need more blur shoot at 1/250 and chimp again.)

    Set your ISO at 200 or 100 depending on brightness (100 for very bright, 200 for just bright.)

    Set you Exposure Compensation to +1, shoot and chimp. Enlarge the plane on your LCD and look for details ... if it looks okay then you're set ... if it looks too dark then reset the Exposure Compensation to +1.5 ... shoot and chimp. If it's still too dark then set at +2.

    Actually,at the very beginning, shoot at all three setting and pick the exposure compensation which looks best.

    Good Luck and Good Shooting,
    Gary
     
  6. NEPats37

    NEPats37 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info but I actually shoot film.... Also I will probally be shooting in manual. I think what I will do is most likely open the aperture 2 stops. If the reading of the plane in the sky is 1/250 F16 Ill shoot 1/250 F8.
    Does this sound correct?
    Thanks for the help.
     
  7. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    Correct!
     
  8. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    Film is easier, as long as you know you are going to use the meter and only take pictures of planes in the sky.

    Use 400 film and set the camera for 100 film. It will overexpose everything, but use the meter to do it on a consistent basis.
     
  9. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    It depends on what speed the subject is travelling at. Why would you only want to shoot at 1/250th?

    If you want to get some propellor blur you need around 1/125th but be very careful as you don't really want to drop your shutter speed this low in case you get camera shake.

    1/1000+ is not unusual (depending on the conditions).
     

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