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Taking Photo At Flying Fighters  
User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 546 posts, RR: 1
Posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4235 times:

Hello Mates!

Here I am Today to ask you advices to take good photos at fighters flying at Airshows, because Tomorrow I will be in Rivolto for the celebrative Air show for Italian Aerobatic team "Frecce Tricolori"...

There will be also fighters... and I want to take a shot like this: http://www.airliners.net/photo/USA--...d=e8bd83190bca65356bab132513e767a5

My equipment is: Canon EOS 450 D, 18/55 and a 70/300 ( which gives me the best from 135mm to 200mm at f/8)
I suppose that to get a shot like that, I have to use a focal higher than 200, but is still a 300 enough? (remember that I have a crop ratio of 1.6x, and just in case I could crop later in PP)

then, about camera settings: For liners, I use a shutter speed of 1/500 or 1/640 and a F/ number which ranges form 7.1 to 9...
but I think I will have to get a faster shutter... is it correct? and is f/8 ok?
now, could you please tell me which settings would you use to shoot a fighter while doing some aerobatics?

and, just in case, would it be a problem if I increase ISO in order to get the shutter even more fast?

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRedcoat78 From Italy, joined May 2006, 65 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4217 times:

Hi Teo,

to my advice, in a brighty day you can set up your ISO up to 200.Why do not set your camera to AV mode and let the shutter to be arranged automatically?
I guess is the best way to get pictures like the one you posted. Remember only when shooting at prop planes to shot in shutter priority not higher than 1/200.
Le t us know and enjoy the big show!
Simone


User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3926 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 4172 times:

Hi Teo,

300 mm will be barely enough at most airshows. I hope for you Rivolto is different.

First, I guess I am not very good at shooting fast jets. But what I think I need is rather faster shutter speeds, 1/1000th or faster. To achieve this you need good weather, and perhaps cranking up ISO to 250 or 320, or even underexposing your shots a little. But most important I think is a good lens that can be used succesfully at lower f numbers, such as my (Nikon) 300mm f/4 which can be used wide open (f/4).

Peter 



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 38
Reply 3, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 4101 times:

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 2):
1/1000th or faster.

I would suggest for very high speed planes to use 1/2000sec at least. You want to make sure the image is crisp, and you might not get another chance.

You'll almost certainly need a longer range lens than 70-300mm at most airshows - hence why you see some 'spotters' turning up with huge 500mm or larger Canon/Sigma/Nikon lenses for their cameras, and are perched on ladders to see above the crowds.


User currently offlineLOCsta From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 306 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4086 times:
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Teo,

I would recommend to shoot as fast as possible on fighters, especially if you are not used to photographing them. 1250/1600 or faster if you can get away with it. There are of course benefits to a slower shutter like lower iso, better DOF, nicer looking afterburners, and higher chance of catching beacons, but none of those really matter if the shot is blurry. As you get more comfortable with the speed and pace you can start to slow down to gain back those benefits. Wide aperatures don't usually cause problems with airshow photography because the jets are smaller and usually a bit farther away, so you can open up as your lens allows to gain speed.

As Chris and Peter said above you might need a little longer than 300mm, but you will certainly be able to get some nice formation shots.

Good luck and hope you have fun!

Cheers,

Kevin

p.s. Below are the settings used for that shot, input manually. I'm glad you liked it!

Camera Model Name
Canon EOS-1D Mark III
Tv(Shutter Speed)
1/1000Sec
Av(Aperture Value)
F5.6
Metering Modes
Spot
Exposure Compensation
0
ISO Speed
160
Lens
EF500mm f/4L IS USM
Focal Length
500.0 mm
Image Quality
RAW
Flash
Off
White Balance
Auto
AF mode
AI Servo AF
Picture Style
Standard



Missed 4 chasing 1
User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 546 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3975 times:

Hi my friends...

First of all, I would like to thank you for your help (I was able to read your suggestions, but I wasn't able to answer, while I was away...)

@ Simone: I raised ISO in order to get a faster shutter, but I tried only few shots in Av, because I'm not used to it: I preferred the manual settings just for this reason... I promise I will practice in Av, too.  
then, regarding prop planes, and "helos"... I noticed that I got the blurry effect on propellers at 1/80: at higher speeds the single elements are still visible... But several times the effect is appreciable.
P.s.: oh, I have finally found an Italian mate on the forum! 

@ Peter: I definitely agree with you... A good lens does the trick.
200/300mm were ok most of the time, but better results should be obtained with a good lens.
Unfortunately, my tele lens is not good at its highest focals, because I lose some quality...
When I will have some money, I'll buy a better lens  

@ Kevin: you welome, it' just a beautiful shot!
I love pictures where condensation is visible! But indeed you need a focal like the yours to get very good shots!  

Now, I will write down my experience:
I used ISO 200 most of the time, with a wide aperture, and shutter set from 1/1000 to 1/2500.

Some shots are good looking... This was the first time I experienced this with my camera, but I am quite satisfied of some shots I took. There haven't been any troubles with solo Aircraft.
as a matter of fact, I experienced some probles with the aerobatics teams, for example a blurry effect on "crossing each other" in the sky... I fixed this with a faster shutter speed.

Then, I have a question:
if I have to take a photo to a flying formation... Do I have to close the aperture, in order to get more focal depth?

I experi


User currently offlineRedcoat78 From Italy, joined May 2006, 65 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3898 times:

Dear Teo,

I have not such a big experience on shooting on AV Mode but I started to use it after hearing some tips from a big experienced spotter of military jets. I guess it worth the cause to get a try!
Anyway, I really hope your show has passed greatly, I managed to watch it almost entirely on tv and it looked so great especially the IAF Eurofighter solo display  

ciao
Simone


User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 546 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3852 times:

Simone, you have been suggested by an old hand at spotting fighters: to shoot them in Aperture priority.
But do you use this trick also to take pictures at liners?

Now, about the airshow...
It's a pity you couldn't get there: live, was definitely more exciting, also because you could hear better the music of the airplanes' engines (EFA and Tornado in particular), And the good-tasting smell of Jet fuel as well!  
I liked the whole show, they all had been spectacular!
It is not to be patriottic, but the most breathtaking display was the Italian acro team Frecce Tricolori: it was not the first time for me to see them flying; they are always great, above all everyone's expectations!  
then, indeed, the Thyphoon solo display was beautiful as well, especially the nice and loud sound of its engines (you could sometimes feel the wake airflow also on ground).
I had been able to take some good photos, but unfortunately I haven't seen them on my PC, because I am waiting to have it repaired... I am really looking forward to have a look at them!  


User currently offlineRedcoat78 From Italy, joined May 2006, 65 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3845 times:

Quoting teopilot (Reply 7):
Simone, you have been suggested by an old hand at spotting fighters: to shoot them in Aperture priority.
But do you use this trick also to take pictures at liners?

Hi Matteo,

Definitely no, I shoot on TV Mode. If you mean typical shots of landing or take offs of airliners I set my TV Mode on 1/800, ISO 200 and a few tips more.

The result is quite good to me
S.


User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 546 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 3797 times:

Quoting Redcoat78 (Reply 8):
Quoting teopilot (Reply 7):
Simone, you have been suggested by an old hand at spotting fighters: to shoot them in Aperture priority.
But do you use this trick also to take pictures at liners?

Hi Matteo,

Definitely no, I shoot on TV Mode. If you mean typical shots of landing or take offs of airliners I set my TV Mode on 1/800, ISO 200 and a few tips more.

The result is quite good to me
S.


ok, right... I should try also Tv mode... ( I'm used to shot setting all parameters manually: in a sunny day, where light is good, I set a shutter of about 1/500, and an aperture of about f/8, at an ISO speed of 100. I usually increase ISO to 200 in a cloudy day or at sunset time. All the above is for liners. For helos, I shot in time value, with a shutter of 1/200 or even slower)
but what do you mean with " other few tips more"?

I know, I am off topic, but here we are... Why not ask to learn something more?!


User currently offlinecpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 38
Reply 10, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3770 times:

Quoting teopilot (Reply 9):
ok, right... I should try also Tv mode...

Don't think TV mode is the be-all and end-all. AV can work as well. I once did an entire airshow photographing planes using the Nikon equivalent of AV. I would manually set F/6.3 or whatever I wanted, and then adjust ISO to get the shutter speed that I want.

I'm not suggesting that this is the right way - but it works for me.


User currently offlineteopilot From Italy, joined Jul 2010, 546 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3636 times:

If it works for you, why don't give it a try?!?  
I will, of course!

And now, what about The aperture and formations?
Do I have to use a wide or a close diaphragm?


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