This shot was taken with a 300mm lens, at either 1/60th or 1/90th sec exposure, panning to keep the plane centered and resulting in the plane being (almost) frozen, and everything else nicely blurred. Pity the sun wasn't shining. But I'm going to try to get the same effect in the sunshine by putting a speed priority of 1/60th or so and letting the aperture run up to 11 or 16.
TomH From United States of America, joined May 1999, 960 posts, RR: 3 Reply 1, posted (12 years 5 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 651 times:
Great shot, Charles. Panning has worked well for me on many occasions, especially when using slower film inside terminals. The light transmission of the glass often gives me little choice but to pan in this case-or use faster film. I personally like the blurred foreground and background. You can sometime successfully shoot right through a fence or light shrubbery at times using this technique, as long as these distractions are quite close to the camera.
Panned shots tend to work best when you are directly opposite the subject, such as your shot. I believe there are two reasons for this. In the first, you are theoretically focused on the center of the fuselage, and your depth of field enables the nose and tail, which are farther away from the lens, (but equally far) to remain in focus.
In another scenario, good results have been more difficult to obtain, but still possible. While photographing cars at race tracks, when I take a photo of a vehicle approaching me it is more or less like the classic "3/4 front" view, which invites depth of field problems. Also, I believe that through a telephoto lens, the part of the vehicle closest to the camera imparts more apparent motion than the back end of the vehicle.
Still, some of my best sports car shots have been made this way.
Railroad photographers who shoot steam locomotives love the panning technique, as it is a means to show the motion/dynamics of the side rods and driving wheels. I feel 1/60th at ISO 64 gives me the best panning results for railroad work, and a slightly higher shutter speed for race cars and aircraft is best, at least for me.
Don't forget the value of a monopod in shots like the one you posted. It will help reduce vertical camera motion, which does not lend itself to a good panned shot of such subjects.
N949WP From Hong Kong, joined Feb 2000, 1437 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (12 years 5 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 616 times:
Errr.....those aren't my shots! They were taken by a friend of mine.
However, on many ocassions, I was shooting the same stuff together with him and others, and ended up with similar pictures.
The film we used most of the times was Fuji Superia 800. As for lenses, most of the time it was 85mm f/1.8, f/1.4, and even f/1.2. Shutter speed varied from 1/8 to 1/15 second. Sometimes, lower speed film may be experimented with (eg. 400, 200, even 100), and needless to say, shutter speeds got slower and slower, and success rate dropped lower and lower!!
No, I don't recall seeing anyone using monopods for these shots. Frankly, vertical camera movement seemed less of a problem compared with horizontal movement. Given the very slow shutter speeds, our panning movement has to perfectly match the fly-by speed of the aircraft. I'd consider myself lucky if I got 10 sharp images from a roll of 36.
EDIpic From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 5, posted (12 years 5 months 6 days ago) and read 611 times:
I dont' have any examples to show you, but here
is a method I occasionally use for panning aircraft
at airshows (Military).
You need a monopod, a bum-bag and blu-tack.
It is a bit ridiculous to look at but works for me.
I pre-focus on a part of the airfield the same distance
that aircraft I anticipate are flying by and hold that
position on the focus ring with blu-tack. This prevents
the focusing ring free-rotating when set on manual or
excessivley "hunting" when set to auto-focus.
Fit the mono-pod, extend it couple of feet and fit the
base of the pod into the bum-bag around your waiste.
Adjust the monopod so that the viewfinder is at the
right position and comfortable.
You are able to wander with freedom, yet have a
rock-steady mount under the camera
with the addition of the mono-pod
held firmly down whilst panning the aircraft.
(Not for the fashion conscious)
Also, I hope that the words bum-bag & blu-tack
are understood outside the UK.
They may be different elsewhere!
EDIpic From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 7, posted (12 years 5 months 6 days ago) and read 605 times:
I prefer aperture priority in that set up.
As high as possible, I'd settle on f16 and
let the camera decide on the speed.
Motordrive useful too, usually just 3 x shots per-pass
if it looks good in the viewfinder.
Not my original idea.
I've seen it done at motorsport venues
where the photographers wait at vantage
points for the vehicles approaching at speed.
TomH From United States of America, joined May 1999, 960 posts, RR: 3 Reply 8, posted (12 years 5 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 597 times:
Almost every telephoto shot I have taken was by prefocusing on a spot where I thought the subject would be at shutter release time. The longer the lens, the more important this is. I have manual focus lenses.
Is it my imagination or do many photographers choose not to use the autofocus feature? If I am correct, can someone enlighten me as to why?
Also, how do you shoot through a terminal's windows using auto-focus? Doesn't the glass present a distance/feedback problem on some of these auto-focus lenses? Must one use manual mode to do this successfully?
EDIpic From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 9, posted (12 years 5 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 595 times:
Strange but true.
I have 2 x Pentax AF SLR's and various lenses
and normally use autofocus on static shots
within 100 metres, (classic airport shots).
I find it infuriating with autofocus hunting for a contrast
on a moving object. Maybe some products are
better than others at autofocus. I have no
problem reverting back to pre-focusing as TomH noted
If taking photo's through windows, it's a must to revert
to manual focus.
I'm sure I'm not the first to experience getting as close
as possible to the window to avoid reflections, and if
the autofocus doesn't find a contrast to settle on, you'll
get a sore eye when the telephoto shoots out and strikes the
window. It won't do the lens any good either!
Mikephotos From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 2923 posts, RR: 56 Reply 10, posted (12 years 5 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 594 times:
I use AF 100% of the time when shooting. The AF speed on my Nikon F5 is quick and accurate. I never get any "hunting" and slides come out perfectly sharp. You just can't get quantity & quality with manual focus. What I'm trying to say is that when you're chasing a hot new plane and only have seconds before it pulls into the gate, you don't have time to compose (making sure it's full-frame), manual focus and shoot quantity. For me, as a trader/collector, I need as many slides as I can get and with AF on 100% of the time, I can concentrate on composing and getting the full roll shot in just a few seconds. It's just one less thing I have to worry about.
Cfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (12 years 5 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 593 times:
One problem with zoom lenses, where the focal distance is changed with a turning motion rather than push/pull, is that there is no way to indicate visually what the depth of field is. Since I only use a pair of such zooms, I have that problem all the time, so I always have the AF on, at least for aircraft photography. For other kinds of photos, I occasionally switch it off, but generally it works so well I keep it on.
My main aircraft photography rig is a Canon EOS II (50 in Europe) with a Canon USM 100-300mm lens. It has never failed to focus properly and quite fast on the subject, except on a few instances when I forgot to switch the AF back on when I was in a hurry . As a bonus, the Elan II has 3 AF modes, one of which is 'AF Servo', which, as long as you have the shutter button halfway down, continually adjusts the focus if the subject is moving towards or away from you. A bit hard on battery life I suppose, but it works very well. My other camera, an EOS 500N, does not have this feature, and the focus is essentially locked unless you release the shutter button and push it halfway again.
With these USM lenses, I have never had any problems focusing through glass, including double or triple-pane, tinted and non. Don't ask me why, but it works.
EDIpic From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 12, posted (12 years 5 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 599 times:
Maybe I'm being too hard on myself and the kit I'm using,
but I was a using a Canon AE-1 and manual lenses for years
before upgrading to Pentax MZ-50 and MZ-10
bodies (ZX-50 and ZX-10) for the autofocus facility.
98% of the time, the autofocus does it's
job okay. It's the few good shots that get away but you never
forget and the opportunity to retake that shot is not there.
When I'm static in one spot and pick off the 'planes as
they pass by, I'll revert to manual with a fixed focus using
as high an f-stop as possible. A lot depends on the light
too of course. It's not always bright and sunny here!
Also, with reference to USAirs_757 request on info
regarding "Pentax ZX-50 W post" I find the MZ-10 autofocus
better that the MZ-50. The area sampled by the autofocus
on the MZ-10 is larger than the MZ-50. About 400% larger.
Put the autofocus centre-point on the body of an airliner
with the MZ-50 that is primarily white or any plain color,
the lens is more likely to hunt.
Sunilgupta From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 770 posts, RR: 15 Reply 13, posted (12 years 5 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 583 times:
I use AF all the time as well. I don't shoot large quantities but my eyes are just not that good
The things that help are a later generation AF system (like the N90s I have) combined with a lens that has an AF limiter that can be set anywhere. My 300 f4 stays set between infinity and "infinity minus a little". That way even if it starts to hunt it only has a tiny degree of movement.
On my 70-300 (the old version, not the ED one) I made my own limiter with a few tiny screws and a flap of metal... looks like crap but it works great!