I'm A Beginner With A Digital Camera- Help!

Wed Mar 27, 2002 1:19 am


Today is a fairly important day for me. I live in Townsville. Queensland, Australia and today the final Qantas intl flight will land- services to BNE and SIN are being withdrawn after a 6 month stint. Before then, the last QF intl was in 1991, and those flights lasted 10 years.

Anyway, the plane {a 763} lands at around 9.30 tonight {fully dark here then-but full moon tonight prob.} and this is my first real attempt at serious aviation photography.

I am going to hire a video camera probably to tape the landing on video, but I would like some assistance as to how you operate a digital camera. The equipment is available for hire from the university I attend.

Could you give me some how-to advice on how I should photograph with a digital camera at night? Would it work clearly, or would it just be a blur of taillights and the rest black?

Thanks again,

SixStarAnsett  Big thumbs up

Posts: 284
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2001 12:21 pm

RE: I'm A Beginner With A Digital Camera- Help!

Wed Mar 27, 2002 1:45 am

I'll take a crack at this for what it's worth:

If you've never used the digital camera before, get a hold of it as soon as possible and learn how to use it. In a way all digital camera operate much the same way, but they are all slightly different. Not knowing what equipment you'd be using this post may be entirely irrelevant to your case.

Basically, set the camera to "P" or program mode unless you have reason to do otherwise. If you are shooting at night, getting a good shot is bound to be extremely difficult, even for a an experienced user. If you are trying to catch the landing, you will most likely get the blur of lights you mentioned. If you can set the ISO up to 1600 or 3200 you increase your chances of getting a more "frozen" shot, but even then, it is tough. Plus you will get a lot more grain/noise.
For a static shot, bring a tripod along and experiment with diffenent exposure lengths (different shutter speeds). Try 2 seconds at ISO 100, for example, then try 4 seconds or 1 second. At least with digital you can review your results and adjust accordingly.

At this point I would keep my expectations very low with the action type of shot at night. You'll likely have much more success with a static shot. Use the experience you gain for future reference, and above all, enjoy it!


RE: I'm A Beginner With A Digital Camera- Help!

Wed Mar 27, 2002 2:10 am

 Big thumbs up

Thanks, I thought I had better get a video camera as well...the only time I have really ever taken pics of planes is when I was on them, or at an airport on holidays etc...the plane leaves on thursday thr 28th at ten in the morning so I might try to get some shots then, out of a cover of darkness...

I'll keep you all posted,


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