Maddog
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Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:36 pm

What are the best settings for flight deck shots, early morning or night time, whilst trying to capture exterior lighting (early sunrise or night lights) - whilst also getting sharp focus inside, with good instrumentation lighting.


So far shooting without a flash requires an exceptionally steady hand, - obviously causing blur, and a lack of sharpness.

Using a flash (in Auto TTL balanced fill), causes the flight deck to be washed out, but seems to capture the exterior sky lighting well.

Slow sync flash - not necessarily sharp photo, but view through windows is washed out

Rear sync flash, similar, washed out exterior, better interior, but also requires steady hand, otherwise very blurry.

Using the flash on the SB800 with nikon diffusion dome, seems to cause a whiteness to the image, similar to viewing on an LCD computer screen tilted at the wrong angle (then again, maybe I am doing exactly that!)

Using Nikon SLR with SB800, and 12-24mm.
(Flight deck lighting obvioulsy set to max on all instruments)
 
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JeffM
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:22 pm

Check the outside's exposure, Dial that in in Manual staying within your max flash sync, then bounce fill on the interior using first curtain, bracket two below and two above.
 
martin21
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:33 pm

I think it would be nicest without flash, flash has a big chance of ruining your shots with reflections. Try to shoot when there is not much exterior lighting. Maybe the best way is to measure the instrumentation lighting @ (for example) 800 iso. Than note the apature and shutterspeed. Do the same with the exterior lighting and wait till this has (about) the same value's. Than you'll make your photo's. About the blur, I think the 800 iso will reduce a lot of the blur, but the best way is to avoit it is to use a tripod  Smile, if you use a tripod you maybe able to bring down the iso to 400 or even 200.

Martin21
At 30.000 feet, the sun always shines !
 
Maddog
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:32 pm

Thanks - what about general settings for no flash shots - recommended shutter speed etc ?
 
ChrisZRH
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time F

Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:52 am

hey maddog,
try the lowest shutter possible without making it blurry if possible try to use a tripod.

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Photo © Christian Galliker

for example this one: i had a 1/3 shutter at ISO-1600, what is quite high, probably even too high for the 10D
i'd go no higher then stage 800.
but well you always need a bit of luck and it takes you looooads of shots until a single one turn out well

regards,
chris

[Edited 2006-03-04 17:52:49]
Christian Galliker - AirTeamImages
 
paulinbna
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:49 pm

What I do is set the camera to manuel at F-8 and 1/200th set the flash to high sync and shoot. You will get pictures like this:


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Photo © Paul Robbins
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Photo © Paul Robbins

Canon 50D user; 100-400 MM L IS 10-22 MM, 60MM Macro
 
Staffan
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:28 pm

Quoting Paulinbna (Reply 5):
What I do is set the camera to manuel at F-8 and 1/200th set the flash to high sync and shoot. You will get pictures like this:

Why high speed sync when using 1/200?

Staffan
 
Maddog
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:07 am

Thanks everyone - keep the tips coming, I need all the help I can get!

(Regarding the high ISOs - using a nikon, the highest I can go to is 800, which I think is a tad more limiting than the canons)

As an aside, has anyone had troubles getting tripods through to the sterile area?
 
Maddog
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:37 pm

Tried again today, still without great success. The main problem is over exposure through the flight deck windows. Still havent tried the bracketing though.

Also using the flash seems to make the Flight deck LCDs almost invisible.


Using manual 1/200, F8 helped a little (more so with outside exposure).

Looks like the Flash can only handle 1/128
 
Maddog
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:57 pm

Here are some samples:


http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b254/Hairyspleen/DSC_0164.jpg

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b254/Hairyspleen/DSC_0097.jpg

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b254/Hairyspleen/DSC_0082.jpg

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b254/Hairyspleen/DSC_0079.jpg

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b254/Hairyspleen/DSC_0049.jpg

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b254/Hairyspleen/DSC_0044.jpg

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b254/Hairyspleen/DSC_0028.jpg
 
ChrisH
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:19 pm

Tilt the dome backwards and at an angle? should diffuse light enough... they look very unsharp and underexposed now tho.
what seems to be the officer, problem?
 
Maddog
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:17 pm

sorry about the sharpness - thats probably just the result of some quick size shrinking - the full sized ones are something like 4000 x 2xxxx.

The exposure is my main concern
 
ChrisH
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:43 pm

What camera house are you using? If u set exposure to 1/250 and f8, and flash in TTL mode, usually results are very good.
what seems to be the officer, problem?
 
spencer
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:24 pm

ISO has nothing to with the need for fast sync, does it?
Spencer.
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Staffan
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:29 am

Quoting Spencer (Reply 13):
ISO has nothing to with the need for fast sync, does it?

No only shutter speed. It's the construction of the shutter itself that dictates the fastest sync time. Since the flash is illuminated for a few thousands of a second the camera's shutter has to be completely open when the flash fires if the whole sensor should be able to record the light from the flash. At times faster than the cameras max sync speed the second curtain starts closing before the first curtain has opened completely.
 
Maddog
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:30 pm

Well I could post another 200-300 under exposed to overexposed and an occasional blurry shot...... still no luck, - I had 4 hours each way to fire away. I have tried bracketing with no joy either. THe problem may be, that on most days the outside was very bright, - the sky to the naked eye was a very pale blue, and there was a very light white haze effect which hasnt helped (unfortunately I have not had any evening or sunset flights in the past few weeks - i think the less harsh outside light makes it easier for the correct exposure).

I notice that there are not a great number of flightdeck shots (midflight-cruise/ daylight) which have succesful interior and exterior exposure - but I would love to know the key to the succesful ones!

ChrisH using a d2x, with 12-24mm DX.
 
PUnmuth@VIE
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:45 pm


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Photo © Peter Unmuth-VAP


This was done with ISO 400, 1/2 second exposure on aperture 4.5 plus some fill flash. You need of course a steady hand, calm wind (or even better no wind at all) and a crew not minding the flash. Oh and a big CF card for all those shots you have to bin afterwards because of being blurry etc.
Peter
-
 
ChrisH
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:29 pm

Quoting Maddog (Reply 15):
but I would love to know the key to the succesful ones!

I shot this with D2x and 17-55 @ 17mm, and SB-800 flash.

M-mode
1/250 at f8
Flash to TTL
Softdome on the flash and tilted 45 degrees up. Fired away.


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Photo © SweContrails

what seems to be the officer, problem?
 
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JeffM
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:46 pm

Quoting Maddog (Reply 15):
THe problem may be, that on most days the outside was very bright,

The problem is that your camera is metering for the bright light outside. You have to shoot this in manual with fill flash to get it right. The one part of the exposure equation you can't do anything about is the outside, so you have to set your exposure for that, then fill the cockpit to match.

Quoting JeffM (Reply 1):
Check the outside's exposure, Dial that in in Manual staying within your max flash sync, then bounce fill on the interior using first curtain, bracket two below and two above.
 
Maddog
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:11 pm

Chris thats a great shot, I did try with your settings, but to no avail -

Jeff - I also tried your settings, but also no luck - I can possibly get the interior and exterior almost - but I am losing the LCD displays - the photo may turn out except the screens will appear black.
 
Maddog
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:13 pm

Chris which metering mode did you use for that and are you leaving your flash in full auto TTL or are you adjusting the flash exposure?
 
ChrisH
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:12 pm

Quoting Maddog (Reply 20):
Chris which metering mode did you use for that and are you leaving your flash in full auto TTL or are you adjusting the flash exposure?

Hi, I use matrix metering mode, it seems to work well with flash photography. I knew that the outside would be approx. 1/250 @ f8 (perhaps a little brighter than that even), and since 1/250 is the fastest sync speed for the D2x without using FP-mode, I wanted the fastest shutter possible.

The flash was set to normal TTL and adjusted down to -1/3 stop, otherwise it gets a bit bright sometimes.

You might have problems with the PFDs just becoming black, that's tricky. I don't have jumpseat access so never shot a glass cockpit, but I know from a friend that setting the screens to full "power" and tilting the flash 45 degrees backwards usually helps a bit with that. Also a longer shuttertime like 1/60 might be good. Stop down accordingly depending on outside light.


edit: Here's a nice shot taken by a mate of mine


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Photo © Arlanda Aviation Photographer



In this case, exposure was set for the outside light, flash was bounced off the roof (straight up or tilted slightly backward even) with a softdome on, and finally PFDs were at full blast. They do come out nice then, but I reckon this was taken at 1/60 or thereabouts. I can ask him for full details later.

[Edited 2006-03-14 15:19:09]
what seems to be the officer, problem?
 
Staffan
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:25 am

Quoting Maddog (Reply 19):
I can possibly get the interior and exterior almost - but I am losing the LCD displays - the photo may turn out except the screens will appear black.

In bright sunlight the outside is so much brighter than the glass displays that
it's impossible to get them both well exposed. That's why dawn/dusk is better because they will be more evenly lit. Flash doesn't affect these at all, only lights up the interior panels.
 
Maddog
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:57 am

Thanks everyone, I will try and post a few more when I get something decent!
 
Dehowie
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:16 am

Maddog
Day shots of CRT's are about the hardest of the hard to get.
I tend to focus on shooting in the deck at dusk and dawn(ouch!!).
I see your a QF NG driver,welcome.

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Photo © Darren Howie


Normally instrumented aircraft are pretty easy to shoot but crt/lcd by day is a different kettle of fish.
One way is the blendng of 2 pics in PS.
One exposed off a tripod for the screens and one for the outside world.
The major issue is there is a major difference in the light required to get the panel and the screens.
Not easy to resolve in full daylight at all with any sun visible on the flightdeck.
Some careful editing of the slightly underexposed shot could get you a winner but it will take a bit of work.
LCD/CRT by day is totally different to normal analogue aircraft when shooting by day as can be seen above at some nice shots of analogue aircraft.But the screens have suck low light output that its from where i sit impossible to get all three.
The outside,the inside and the screens all at once.
You may want to try a diffuser on your flash like omnibounce or another of the cheaper ones to help cut the harshness down of your flash.
Best of luck

Darren
2EOS1DX,EF14.2.8LII,17TS,85/1.2,16-35L,24-70LII,24L,70-200F2.8LII,100-400,300/400/500/800L
 
Maddog
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:01 pm

Thanks Darren, yes I was just having a chat to someone about using 2 pics - one for the outside shot and 1 for the inside - i am not sure if that wont come under digital manipulation though.

Most of the shots - not all have had the diffusion dome with a 45 degree tilt up - another suggestion was to use minus7 degrees and aim the flash below the glareshield..... that wasnt successful either.


I will have to stick to the morning/evening shots too
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Flight Deck Shots...early Morning/night Time Flash

Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:07 pm

I have taken a few shots which I consider to be very nice in that period where the sky is almost completely dark except for a bright red horizon line. Using the flash is a waste of time in my opinion.

I use a Canon 10D with a 12-24mm lens and I have had nice pics doing it two different ways. The best ones were with a 2-3 second exposure. I balanced the camera somewhere then put it on timer function. Obviously this requires completely smooth air...which is harder said than done. What I consider to be smooth air when just sitting there is fairly rough for the camera! As for resting the camera, I have done it two ways. Once was standing behind my seat, and resting it on the top of headrest. Our newer 777s have a fairly big solid headrest. The older ones have a hole in the middle and I have also tried this with the camera lens sticking through the middle of the headrest with success. I use ISO 200 with 2-3 second exposure. panel backlighting turned up, and the flood lighting turned down. On another occasion I stood my suitcase on the jumpseat and put a few manuals on top of it to give it a steady platform and then did a 4 second exposure with a firey red sunrise, which came out very well too.

The other way was sitting in the jump seat with my feet up on the middle console, and my elbows giving me as steady a grip as possible, and taking 1 second exposures. I have only tried this once, when the captain had the storm lighting turned on at sunrise and the photos came out very well. I had 400ISO for this.

Give it a go if you don't think it is too much trouble!

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