baldursveins
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Air To Air With Prop Discs

Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:52 pm

I have just about been blown away with some of the work that I have seen recently in a number of places. I myself have been doing air to air work now since 1979 when my first mission surprisingly was in an F-4E Phantom. The thing is that this late in my hobby/career I have taken to photographing propeller planes in the air and I am having problems with the props. Mostly with using a slow enough speed to be able to get a good prop blur or even a disk. I am talking about photos like these

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Photo © Javier Guerrero - AirTeamImages


View Large View Medium
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Photo © Javier Guerrero - AirTeamImages


The best I have been able to achieve is to use a speed of 1/100 and get about 80% of a disk on a twin blade prop or 1/200 and get about 40% of a disk on the same mission. I have taken a number of shots at these speeds and at the slower speed, the best I got was a wee bit blurredshot , (too much for ANalthough that in itself is not the main thing), but got a usable A4 print with some careful sharpening. It seems to me that to get a disk of a twin blade prop in the air one would have to get down to at least 1/80 and then my hands are not able to hold the camera steady. Of course I am using an old non stabilizing lens (Canon 70-200 f2.8), and a newer stabilising lens might solve the problem. I would just love to hear the experience of some of you, like Javier Guerrero and others that have been able to master such captures in the air.
Does the camera ship have anything to do with this?
Hope to have some lively discussion on this intriguing subject.

Baldur Sveinsson
 
baldursveins
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:18 pm

just as an add on to my opening, here is a photo taken with the Canon 100-400 4.5:5.6 at 1/60th and a focal length of 120mm. Of course that lens is equipped with a stabilizer. Still I took a number of shots as the aircraft was taxying towards me, and only two were really sharp.

http://www.verslo.is/home/baldur/BIKF080902/5572_F-27_TF-SYN_1200.jpg

Baldur
 
spencer
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:09 pm

Javier's images that you've plugged are outstanding, to say the least. Technically they're masterpieces IMO. I don't know how many attempts it took him to get them right but I would've shot 1,000 frames if I knew I could get something as good as those 2 pictures! Even during the day I'm struggling with props, hand-holding with something static proves quite difficult.

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Photo © Spencer Wilmot


Javier, our saviour, come to our rescue!  Wink
Spencer.
EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
 
timdegroot
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:11 pm

I think volume is the key, at low speeds like that you just shoot a lot of images and hope one comes out sharp.

That doesnt take away the fact that these are awesome though and are obviously more skill than luck!

Correct me if I'm wrong J Wink

Tim
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baldursveins
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:25 pm

Spencer (Reply 2)

That is an outstanding shot. What were your parameters? Speed, lens so on.

Tim (Reply 3)

I would love to hear from Javier if he is around, and anybody else if your hypothesis is true. I suspect it might be, but one can hope that there is a trick or technique (along with skill and a steady hand of course). One photographer I met suggested a monopod for ground based shots at least. Any comments on that, I have never tried it.

Baldur
 
chris78cpr
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:52 pm

I know it's not the same but when i shoot motorsports i find to get a pleasing effect from the wheels turning on the cars i have to drop my shutter speeds to very low, lower than i generally would like.

Tim has hit the nail on the head, for me at least i shoot on high speed drive and shoot small bursts often in the hope that the second/third/fourth frame is sharp which is usually the case.

I also do use a monopod as i find that this helps stop the up and down blur that can be had from holding the lens.

I am by no means a master but using those two things i've found the rate of usable shots i get increases by a good amount.

Chris
5D2/7D/1D2(soon to be a 1Dx) 17-40L/24-105L/70-200F2.8L/100-400L/24F1.4LII/50F1.2L/85F1.2LII
 
timdegroot
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:53 pm

Hi baldur

Cannot comment on the a2a but I can shoot up to 1/10th with a IS lens hand held (moving objects). The volume rule hold true though at those speeds, I maybe have a succes rate of 1 in 30 or more.

Tim
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INNflight
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:02 am

It also largely depends on your photo ship. It's a whole different thing shooting from a Cessna 172 leaning out into the propwash than from a B-25's tailgunner position, where you have no wind to deal with at all.

I'm sure J must be around somewhere? Those pilots never work anyways, do they?  Wink
Jet Visuals
 
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Kereru
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:41 am

Maybe he is lucky to have one of these?

http://www.ken-lab.com/stabilizers.html
Good things take Time.
 
jderden777
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:19 am

The shutter speed needed to get a full disc on the prop also varies depending on your subject. A turboprop like a Dash 8 (especially the Q400) will have slow turning props which will mean that you'd need a slower shutter speed to get a full arc, compared to a fast turning prop. For example I think the Saab 340s use a higher prop rpm than the Dash 8. Anyway basically if you have a high prop rpm on the subject, it's easier to get a full arc on the prop without having an impossibly low shutter speed.
"my soul is in the sky" - shakespeare
 
damien846
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:32 am

A good topic,
I would love to know how J did it?
My limited a2a has got some good results, but the best prop blur I have so far got is.

View Large View Medium
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Photo © Damien Dyer


Does help having the sun in th right place...ie low for this shot. But more luck than skill, for this shot.
Tim's, volume rule is very true. I have shot 200 shots on one a2a shot with a glider! Not bad for a 10 min flight!!!!!
Cheers
Damien.
 
MUC_Spotter
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:03 am

The Ken Lab stabilizers linked above are the tool of choice for this kind of work, but imo only affordable if you do a lot of these assignments. Stabilized lenses are fine as well, but not that effective.

I usually start with higher shutterspeeds (~1/320 or 1/250) and then work myself down to get nicer results, resulting also in a lot more scrap.

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Photo © Andreas Zeitler - Flying-Wings
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Andreas Zeitler - Flying-Wings


Fortunately digital enables us to check for the prop disc at once and being on a specific photo mission makes it also possible to ask the pilot to fly the highest possible rpm setting, which boosts the chances to get some nice results.
But in any case: take as many shots as you can.. I think that's what Javier did as well to get his photos.
 
dendrobatid
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:53 am

Not air to air but I was trying for a good prop blur and managed this at 1/90 sec.

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Photo © Mick Bajcar


I have only recently got IS lenses and previously used a Bigma that was difficult to hand-hold that slow.
Even with the IS some shots were not sharp due to subject movement and at lower speeds the aircraft had moved forward just enough in the time the shutter was open for the prop disc to be broken, a sort of very flat open-ended spiral.
Have some air to air scheduled so intrigued by this topic.
I have heard that IS is not a lot of use as it is overwhelmed by the aircraft vibrations. Anyone any thoughts on that ?
Mick Bajcar
 
javibi
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:18 pm

Hi guys! Thanks for the kind words, I am glad somebody like my photos (actually I had been tempted of posting the second one as a surprising low hitter in the other thread)  
I have almost no a2a experience compared to some of you (only five missions so far), so I do not really think I can give much advice; I will try to answer some of your questions, nevertheless.

Quoting BaldurSveins (Thread starter):
newer stabilising lens might solve the problem

It'll definitely help; lenses I have used a2a are the Canon 24-105 IS, 70-200 f4 IS and 100-400 IS, all stabilized. I am particularly impressed by the image quality and quality/price ratio of the 70-200 f4 IS.

Quoting BaldurSveins (Thread starter):
Does the camera ship have anything to do with this?

Yes. Many factors intervene in this kind of photo, as you know, particularly when you try low shutter speeds: vibration of the camera plane itself, possible turbulence weather related, airspeed of the camera plane (choose a fast camera ship and the chasing plane will need to fly faster, probably resulting a higher prop rpm, thus you can use higher shutter speeds to get a full disc).

Quoting BaldurSveins (Thread starter):
to get down to at least 1/80

During that session, that lasted 18 minutes, I shot in the range of 1/100-1/50 th (at the Fundación Infante de Orleáns we have a slow camera ship, but fortunately the Su-26 prop's rpm are relatively high); I have kept 180 files with reasonable quality; of those I am satisfied (quality, composition, etc.) with around 40; I probably shot over 400 frames.

Quoting TimdeGroot (Reply 3):
I think volume is the key

Yes and no; shoot quite a number of frames, assuming you are only going to get 10 % usable shots at the maximum, yes. Shoot machine gun style without care to technique and precision, no; that doesn't work at all, that I know from my own experience

Quoting BaldurSveins (Reply 4):
One photographer I met suggested a monopod for ground based shots at least. Any comments on that, I have never tried it.

Never used a monopod, but since I bought my 500, I have had to learn to shoot panning with a tripod as opposite to handheld as I did with the 100-400. IMHO, though necessary with the 500, it is more difficult than handheld panning. So, a monopod should help, but expect a hard learning process for moving subjects.


Quoting INNflight (Reply 7):
It's a whole different thing shooting from a Cessna 172 leaning out into the propwash than from a B-25's tailgunner position, where you have no wind to deal with at all.

Absolutely. If you have to have your camera in the propwash, forget about low shutters.

Quoting Kereru (Reply 8):
Maybe he is lucky to have one of these?

Didn't even know those existed  

Quoting Jderden777 (Reply 9):
The shutter speed needed to get a full disc on the prop also varies depending on your subject.



Quoting Jderden777 (Reply 9):
Anyway basically if you have a high prop rpm on the subject, it's easier to get a full arc on the prop

Right, see above.

Quoting Damien846 (Reply 10):
Does help having the sun in th right place...ie low for this shot.

I guess; unfortunately, for reasons out of my control, I only get to shoot a2a at noon. I'd kill for a dusk/dawn session like those the pros fly.

Quoting MUC_Spotter (Reply 11):
Fortunately digital enables us to check for the prop disc at once and being on a specific photo mission makes it also possible to ask the pilot to fly the highest possible rpm setting, which boosts the chances to get some nice results.

That is right  

Cheers,

j

P.S:

Quoting INNflight (Reply 7):
I'm sure J must be around somewhere? Those pilots never work anyways, do they?

How about MAD-VCE-MAD-VLC(LAYOVER)VLC-MAD-ORY-MAD-SVQ(LAYOVER)SVQ-MAD-DUS-MAD these last three days?  

[Edited 2009-02-09 04:21:37]
 
viv
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:21 pm

I have never shot air-to-air, but am pleased with this one, shot at 1/80th sec, 400mm hand-held.


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Photo © Vivion Mulcahy

Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
 
baldursveins
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:46 pm

Javibi

Thank you very much for replying faithfully to all the questions asked. Do not degrade yourself or be too modest. You are an exceptionally talented photographer and even if you have only a few a/a missions under your belt, you have approached the prop problem carefully and methodically and got this phenomenal success . Hits is another matter entirely. I have not been able to relate quality to hits in nearly all cases.
I will just include two more examples from the only mission where I made a dedicated try for prop disk, that was on the mission with TF-EJG. I apologize for the size, I did not try to upload but one photos from that mission to AN so they are from my own site. The difference is the speed, 1/200.
http://www.verslo.is/home/baldur/BIRK080929/TF-EJG_6899G_1200.jpg
and the other at 1/100.
http://www.verslo.is/home/baldur/BIRK080929/TF-EJG_6902_prop_1200.jpg
The difference is obvious. About 35%-40% disk and about 80%.The second one however was not quite sharp, that is the front end of the aircraft was not as sharp as the rear end, but it came out rather well printed as an A4 print.
With my two main pilots we are going on a research mission soon for us to try to figure out some more parameters to take into account. We do not have access to any high performance photoships so the trusty Cessna 170 will have to suffice. As I will not be able to post a number of photos from the same mission on ANet, I will just try to point you in the direction of the page when we have the opportunity (hopefully tomorrow).

Baldur

[Edited 2009-02-09 09:53:04]
 
soon7x7
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:33 pm



Quoting Kereru (Reply 8):

I sold off my gyro Ken-Lab stabilizer and went for Stabilized lenses instead. The Ken lab unit worked too well actually. I found it to be counter productive for hand SLR's as it has some heft to it, (your hand would start to shake from the strain) especially attached to a 300, 2.8. The you have to wear a sizable battery pack which I found bulky while crammed into aircraft. The trade off to stabilized lenses was a good one. While used on the ground, the Ken-Lab has panning issues as you cannot move quickly at all...damage will result to the gimbals...very$$$!...ouch factor. You have to move in a lethargic manor. I haven't done a lot of air to air for hire but the one thing I found is to cut down on the relative motion between the shooting platform aircraft and the subject...When the speed of both aircraft are well matched...you stand the best opportunity of playing with shutter speeds...early morning and late day shoots are better as the atmosphere is more stable and the lighting more dramatic. My first a2a was a MU-2 Marquis at 400 ft agl under JFK appraoch under the class Bravo umbrella...it was a very tense shoot for both planes. The client wanted his beachfront house in the photo. We had heavies hundreds of feet above us inbound for JFK 31's. After progressing east...subject plane came within ten feet of a mid air...I got the shot...since then, I've not been a big fan of a2a as you really need to have highly experienced pilots in both ships flying. This day, it was not the case.
 
JRadier
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:07 pm



Quoting Jderden777 (Reply 9):
For example I think the Saab 340s use a higher prop rpm than the Dash 8.

On the other hand, the 340 has 4 prop blades where the Q400 has 6, which makes it easier to shoot the Q400 with a full disc.
For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
 
spencer
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:36 pm



Quoting MUC_Spotter (Reply 11):
Fortunately digital enables us to check for the prop disc at once



Quoting TimdeGroot (Reply 3):
I think volume is the key

Both very true but sometimes you just don't have the time to do both!

Quoting BaldurSveins (Reply 4):
That is an outstanding shot. What were your parameters? Speed, lens so on

Thanks Baldur. I don't have the EXIF available on my laptop but I believe I used the 24-105IS. F/8 was probably dialled in, or there abouts. Shutter speed...can't remember.
I know it was handheld however, but I have found using a monopod gives me greater stability which results in more keepers. If it had got any darker I would definitely had got the tripod out.
Spencer.
EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
 
aviopic
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:54 pm



Quoting BaldurSveins (Thread starter):
Of course I am using an old non stabilizing lens (Canon 70-200 f2.8)

That's the good part albeit to long.

Quoting Baldursveins (Reply 1):
Still I took a number of shots as the aircraft was taxying towards me, and only two were really sharp.

One of the slow speed problems is the Aperture and with the 100-400 smaller then F16 you are not likely to make many sharp frames even with 2 feet anchored in Icelandic lava

Quoting TimdeGroot (Reply 3):
at low speeds like that you just shoot a lot of images and hope one comes out sharp.

Tell that to the one who pays the fuel bill and you have flown your last mission.
A2A is like any form of photography based on knowledge and expirience(lots of it), hope is best left inside the church but surely no part in any kind of aviation.

Quoting INNflight (Reply 7):
It also largely depends on your photo ship. It's a whole different thing shooting from a Cessna 172 leaning out into the propwash than from a B-25's tailgunner position, where you have no wind to deal with at all.

That makes indeed a huge difference although even a big and stable platform can be very shaky.

Quoting MUC_Spotter (Reply 11):
Stabilized lenses are fine as well, but not that effective.

I would say not effective at all, in fact it makes the problem only bigger.
Which is logical, in lens IS is designed to counter human shake which is measured in mm.
Turbulence shake is measured in cm ..............on a good day.
Even on the perfect day you still move the camera by cm at the time just to keep focus lock and the IS is simply not designed to cope with that.
For sure the ones without a mode switch like the 24-105/4 are a pain the the a.......
Another thing is that I found out(after almost screwing up a complete session) the especially the 24-105 IS can't take any form of G-loading(which btw includes turbulence).


Baldur in general.
- Use the shortest lens possible, the shorter the lens the easier you can get slow shutter speeds.
From all glass used over the years my personal favorite is still the Sigma 24-70/2.8, sturdy as a tank and pretty good stopped down.

- Try to get some technical data before the session which will enable you to calculate the required exposure.
Ask the crew during the brief to use the finest pitch possible in order to increase prop rpm(if the a/c in question can of course.....DC3, F.27 etc).
Small a/c useally can't but they have a high prop speed anyway which makes the matter easier.
You can also ask the crew of the object a/c to use a bit flap which enables them to increase power a bit.

- I personally like to shoot short burst of 3 rather then machine gunning the object.
If the conditions aren't good enough to make a good shot in 1 out of 3 you are not gonna make it with 1 out of 10 either.

- Go high if possible, at 6000ft things are a lot quieter then at 1000 to 1500ft.
I imagine that the skies above Iceland are like the Dutch turbulent most of the time albeit due to different reasons in which case one has to accept the way things are.
In 8 year A2A I got 2 opportunities to go really slow and those opportunities didn't last for more then 20 seconds  Big grin

I'll write you an email about the Neptune.

Take care and good luck,
Willem
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
timdegroot
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:25 pm



Quoting Aviopic (Reply 19):
Tell that to the one who pays the fuel bill and you have flown your last mission.
A2A is like any form of photography based on knowledge and expirience(lots of it), hope is best left inside the church but surely no part in any kind of aviation.

Hope and luck play a big part in photography IMO, it often (together with skill and experience) determines if you get that one unique shot or not. That has been my experience at least, you cant plan for everything.


Tim
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baldursveins
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:37 pm

Dear all

How stupid can one be? I taught mathematics in a college for 40 years, and still did not see the logic. This is a simple matter of timing calculation.

Lets take an example. Say the RPM of a single engine small plane is 2400 (of course almost everyone knows that rpm stands for revolutions per minute). Divide by 60 and you get 40 revs per second. If you have a two blade prop, it only has to go for half a revolution for the prop to make a circle. This means that if you use 1/80 you get the whole disk. With a three blade prop and the same rpms you use 1/120 to get the whole disc. A very simple problem to calculate what speed you need. Not so simple a problem to actually be able to do it as everyone has attested to. Look at my EJG photos above (Reply 15) and see this calculation substantiated.

Willem

You mentioned some very interesting cookie material regarding the god of the sea (P2V Neptune. Those who know me know that I am trying to get a photo of every single Lockheed Neptune built, all 1100+). I am looking forward to that. Of course you also gave very good and relevant advice.

I hope this subject has been of interest to a lot of people. It has been read at least 450 times and hopefully learned something. I know I have. I ask everybody that has something to share to pitch in and give us te benefit of experience and knowledge.

It was interesting to learn of the Giro experience form Jerry. I seriously thought about getting something like that, but now I am not so sure without having a chance to test without buying.

The mission tomorrow is almost certainly on, The only uncertainty is the subject airplane, but Sigurjón Valsson who is my chief pilot will find something befor noon tomorrow, so we can try put put the theory into practice.

Baldur
 
aviopic
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:45 pm



Quoting TimdeGroot (Reply 20):
Hope and luck play a big part in photography IMO, it often (together with skill and experience) determines if you get that one unique shot or not.

With both feet on sturdy soil yes but when burning 10 euro's a minute luck has to be excluded from the occasion.
You simply come back with usable material or you don't go without "hope" and/or "luck".

The words "hope" and "luck" makes people nervous in aviation.
If I tell the Captain "Well I hope to have done a proper repair job" he is going to leave the a/c on the tarmac without going anywhere.
If I tell the ceo "well I hope to come back with proper photo material" he will answer "well in that case I better send someone else up".

Maybe it sounds a bit dramatic but that is not my intention.
First It's Attitude that determines whether someone is ending up doing A2A after which you have to proof your point of course.
Probably this is the best tip I can give to all who would like to have a go at A2A.
"Yes I can" is the right attitude and never mention Hope and/or Luck no matter how much doubts you might have.

Quoting BaldurSveins (Reply 21):
How stupid can one be? I taught mathematics in a college for 40 years, and still did not see the logic. This is a simple matter of timing calculation.

I tried to tell you without using the word "stupid"  Big grin

Quoting BaldurSveins (Reply 21):
Say the RPM of a single engine small plane is 2400

Almost correct haha
Engine RPM often differs from prop RPM.
You have to take the reduction box(or gear box) in account as well.

Quoting BaldurSveins (Reply 21):
If you have a two blade prop, it only has to go for half a revolution for the prop to make a circle. This means that if you use 1/80 you get the whole disk. With a three blade prop and the same rpms you use 1/120 to get the whole disc.

No, you have to calculate the time one blade needs to make a full circle.
You can cheat a little with more blades but there is only a limited margin.


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Photo © Willem Honders


Engine RPM about 900, Gear ratio 0.4375:1 Let's say 1/3 to make things easy.
Makes Prop RPM about 1200/60 = 1/20s
1/30s might just work as well but anything faster doesn't.

Quoting BaldurSveins (Reply 21):
Those who know me know that I am trying to get a photo of every single Lockheed Neptune built

You are welcome to make the photos your self.  Big grin
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
timdegroot
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:51 pm



Quoting Aviopic (Reply 22):
Maybe it sounds a bit dramatic but that is not my intention.
First It's Attitude that determines whether someone is ending up doing A2A after which you have to proof your point of course.
Probably this is the best tip I can give to all who would like to have a go at A2A.
"Yes I can" is the right attitude and never mention Hope and/or Luck no matter how much doubts you might have.

Yes but that is just marketing Willem, and I agree you need to sell yourself. But you do have that hope inside that this time you may just get a fantastic image that no planning could have done. Photography is art and luck does play a part, maybe not always if you are "playing safe" but if you are pushing bounderies like Javier does than I do think you can hit or miss. That may not be a problem if you are shooting just for yourself, but if you shoot for a client then you have to play it safe, and only if you got enough good images can you take it to the next level.

Tim
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aviopic
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:23 pm

I hear you Tim but I don't market myself.
The fact that you, Javier make more stunners than others has in my opinion nothing to do with luck but with skills and lots of practice so if the moment comes your are able to perform.
Let me explain with an example.

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Photo © Willem Honders


We were in serious bad weather and I was(of course not buckled in but sitting on my knees in front of a window) smacked from the ceiling to the floor and back.
Took a couple of I don't know 1/1000s or so shots and packed my gear as I didn't see the point to continue.
Then all of a sudden it became very quite(apparently we were in the eye of a system), got my gear back out and took 3 shots.
It didn't last for more then 10 seconds or so.
Now the fact that you get a break might be luck but the fact that you can pull off 3 1/60s shots is not.
That's about being prepaired, knowing what you want and practice.
If that split second opportunity comes there is no time for hope and luck, let alone checking your lcd.
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
viv
Posts: 2953
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 5:17 pm

RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:07 am



Quoting Aviopic (Reply 24):
The fact that you, Javier make more stunners than others has in my opinion nothing to do with luck but with skills and lots of practice

YES!

As a famous golfer once said when told he was lucky: "I am lucky. And the more I practice the luckier I get"!
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walter2222
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:38 am

I have never done A2A, but this is my best result so far in the digital age:


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Photo © Walter Van Bel



shot at 1/40s at 160mm with my 100-400IS (handheld), any slower speed came out blurry...


Going back in time (slides), I managed to get this one (light conditions were not perfect, but I was glad with the prop blur):


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Photo © Walter Van Bel



Best regards,

Walter
Canon 347d mkII ;-) - EFS10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - EFS18-55mm - EF28-105mm f3.5/4.5 - EF100-400mm f4.5-5.6l IS USM - ...
 
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acontador
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:53 pm

Hi Baldur,

I have had a few opportunities to shoot some Air-to-Air props, but have to admit that I have not produced anything worth showing. There is definitely a learning curve, and everything that has been said I can only endorse. I have also had a space problem, as in small aircraft it will be always very difficult to handle a 100-400, so something smaller like a 24-105 looks like a better alternative.

In my case, I have to 'blame' Ander and Javier for 'infecting' me with the blurred-prop virus   !
I had the real pleasure of sharing some time shooting with these two gentlemen, and it was a very interesting experience, with both being very helpful and good teachers.

I have become almost addicted of shooting blurred props from the ground. The result will not only depend on the shutter speed, but also on light angle. These ones were shot with a nice reflection.

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Photo © Andrés Contador - AirTeamImages
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Photo © Andrés Contador - AirTeamImages



But the following, while showing a full circle circle, do not look very spectacular at all due to the unfavorable light angle.

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Photo © Andrés Contador - AirTeamImages
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Photo © Andrés Contador - AirTeamImages



Also, after many trial-and-error shootings have come to stick to 1/100 when shooting at 400 mm as this speed gives me a good amount of keepers, though no guarantee. Btw, this speed usually works well with helicopters, as well as with landing/departing aircraft..

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Photo © Andrés Contador - AirTeamImages
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Photo © Andrés Contador - AirTeamImages



I guess in the end it comes down to your personal skills/experience in handholding, and the more you get the lower you can go with the shutter speed with good chances of getting at least one usable picture. If have tried a few times to go below 1/50 sec, but have found that that is my current limit with handholding.

[Edited 2009-02-10 05:56:30]
Just sit back, relax and have a glass of Merlot...enjoy your life!
 
jspitfire
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:21 pm

Some great information in this thread. I have not done a2a yet, but I think I've finally figured out how to get a prop circle on the ground. This one was shot with my 70-200 f/4 (no IS) at 1/60 sec. I took about 10 pictures as he went by, and 3 of them turned out good.


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Photo © Jason Pineau



Quoting Viv (Reply 25):
The fact that you, Javier make more stunners than others has in my opinion nothing to do with luck but with skills and lots of practice so if the moment comes your are able to perform.

I think this sums up the debate on skill versus luck. Sometimes you get lucky with weather conditions or a great opportunity presents itself, but you need the skill and experience to get the outstanding photo. my  twocents 
 
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ThierryD
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:23 pm

Hi Baldur, hi all,

one point one has to emphasize again here I think is the importance of the engine resp. propeller rpm.
For instance taxiing planes with a very low rpm will be difficult to get a full disc from even with low shutter speeds.
A good example can be seen here:
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Photo © Thierry Deutsch

even 6 blades didn't help here to get a full disc.
Though I have to admit that I prefer 4/5 discs rather than full discs as I like to be able to count the number of blades. Getting this can be even trickier since for full discs you basically "just" have to screw down the shutter speed enough. Or to get a 4/5 disc you need to find the exact balance between full disc and frozen props.
To do this I normally start at around 1/100s exposure and check the result on the LCD and adjust the setting accordingly.


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Photo © Thierry Deutsch
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Photo © Thierry Deutsch



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Photo © Thierry Deutsch



Another thing I didn't read in the whole thread but which has to be taken care of is the risk of overexposure. It happened to me on several occasions that I was shooting in manual mode, than saw a prop plane taxiing by, screwed down the shutter speed and came out with a wonderfully overexposed and completely useless photo.

Thierry
"Go ahead...make my day"
 
JRadier
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:08 pm



Quoting Aviopic (Reply 22):
With both feet on sturdy soil yes but when burning 10 euro's a minute luck has to be excluded from the occasion.

That's why I think doing Air-2-Air with gliders is a great start for an 'A2A introduction'. Sure, the shooting possibilities are limited and they all 'look the same' (although I don't agree) but the benefits outweigh that for beginners like me. The speeds are relatively low and you can stay in formation for quite some time. The best thing however is that there are virtually no costs. Depending on the way the club works the take-off might cost some (even though with a winch this could be free) but the hourly costs are low to nothing. This way you can practice everything you like without the stress that motored A2A brings. And if you run out of altitude, no problem, just pick up a thermal and you might get some other good shots there.
For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
 
aviopic
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:13 pm



Quoting ThierryD (Reply 29):
It happened to me on several occasions that I was shooting in manual mode, than saw a prop plane taxiing by, screwed down the shutter speed and came out with a wonderfully overexposed and completely useless photo.

Hehe..... get yourself an "el cheapo" lens which stops down to F32 Thierry.
I was the only one to make full discs of an idle running Connie because I was the only one with a Tamron 28-75/2.8  Big grin
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
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ThierryD
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:48 pm



Quoting Aviopic (Reply 31):
get yourself an "el cheapo" lens which stops down to F32 Thierry.

You'd still have to set it there then in manual mode  Wink

Quoting Aviopic (Reply 31):
I was the only one to make full discs of an idle running Connie because I was the only one with a Tamron 28-75/2.8

Bragger!!  Wink

Thierry
"Go ahead...make my day"
 
INNflight
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:00 am

Hmm good thread. Any chance one of you guys could help me with this one?

I tried to go VERY low with the shutter speed, but still didn't manage more than half a circle???

RPM issue maybe?

http://www.floriantrojer.com/gallery/bilder/fullcircle.jpg






























 Wink
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xenon
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:19 am

good one  Big grin

Daniel
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ThierryD
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:10 am



Quoting INNflight (Reply 33):
I tried to go VERY low with the shutter speed, but still didn't manage more than half a circle???

Flo, I really expected more from a photographer like you!! But keep trying; one day you'll get there!!  Big grin

Thierry
"Go ahead...make my day"
 
JRadier
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:55 am



Quoting ThierryD (Reply 35):
But keep trying; one day you'll get there!!

Wishful thinking!  Wink
For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
 
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airkas1
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:44 pm



Quoting Javibi (Reply 13):
How about MAD-VCE-MAD-VLC(LAYOVER)VLC-MAD-ORY-MAD-SVQ(LAYOVER)SVQ-MAD-DUS-MAD these last three days?

I thought you flew long-haul?
Airliners.net Crew - Head Photo Screener
 
aviopic
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:17 pm

Missed your post last night Jurgen.

Quoting JRadier (Reply 30):
That's why I think doing Air-2-Air with gliders is a great start for an 'A2A introduction'.

Well yes and no.
First of all I like gliders for their gracious lines and they are packed with technology(they have for decades what Boeing is trying to do with carbon...... like a F.27 has a bleedless system since 1958........ but we are drifting off)  Wink
Anyway they are fun to shoot but I've found out(the hard way) that they require more planning than motorized a/c instead of less.

In our Country you will have the problem of flight duration which usually don't last more then 20 to 30 minutes, basically they are towed or pulled up just to fall back to earth again.
Plus they are probably flying in designated area's where your spot plane is not welcome, not exactly sure about the regulations though.
Which is why glider A2A shoots are usually done abroad where they can fly all day.

Some years ago I was invited to do a glider shoot in France without any glider experience.
He took off in the morning and we would meet somewhere in the afternoon after our call on a discussed frequency.
So we went up in a Piper super cub leaving the right upper and lower door in the hangar so basically the whole right side was missing(never done a2a in a cub before so I knew little of the consequences).
I thought it would give me room to manoeuvre and some fresh air as it was well over 40 C.
Well all it did was blowing 110 kts wind straight in my face because I was sitting on the rear seat and by the time we reached 7000 ft I was cold to the bone being dressed with shorts and t-shirt only(it was hot remember).
We gave him the call "where are you, we are at 7000", I am at 12.000 he said.
We can't go to 12.000 and are probably out of gass if we try, come down.
Ok............ and little time later he came by with something like 160-170 kts on the clock, those modern gliders go fast.
We can't go that fast you damn.............(beep), slow down.
To make a long story short, it took about 45 minutes to get in position for a 10 minute shoot.
All because of to little knowledge and thus to little planning.

Lessons learnt.
Dress warm even if it is extremely hot.
Gliders are very agile and due to it's nature it's a bit harder to stay in position.
The enormous wingspan makes manoeuvring a bit more tricky.

When you do get it right it is very rewarding, that's for sure.

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Quoting ThierryD (Reply 32):
You'd still have to set it there then in manual mode

With a Canon manual mode is not needed Thierry, just put it in Tv, dial in 1/20s and the little Tamron does the rest.  Big grin

Quoting INNflight (Reply 33):
I tried to go VERY low with the shutter speed, but still didn't manage more than half a circle?

Florian, keep your camera up side down for the other half  Wink
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
baldursveins
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:53 pm

Florian
Seems like your arcraft is below the horizon and rising, but with a humongous propeller and extremely finely painted proptips. Perhaps you did not wait long enough for it to get closer  banghead   banghead 

We did our phototrip yesterday in beautiful but cold weather. I was able to verify that you get almost 80% of a circle at 1/100. Was not able to get sharp shots at 1/80. Did try my old 28-70 2.8 unstabilized. All shots with that lens turned out blurred. This morning I made a test from my balcony and behold it did not focus automatically because somehow in the airplane I had moved the focus switch to manual  ashamed   ashamed .
But mainly we also verified that if you yourself dont see a disc, the camera won't either. The bautiful cold snow background served to hide the white striped proptips, so even the motion of the prop is difficult to verify, so that in some of the shots, the subject looks like a Citabria glider. (like you said Jurgen). However there are no stationary sticks on the front of the aircraft which is good. I shot approx 950 shots, marked 150 as good (salvageable with sharpening) or excellent and put 23 of them on my web this morning. (see my profile or click on the picure for enlargement and them remove the TF-FUN_9251G_1200.jpg
from the end of the url). Maybe someday one (or two) of them might be accepted here.
http://www.verslo.is/home/baldur/20090210_TF-FUN/TF-FUN_9251G_1200.jpg
Baldur
 
damien846
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:18 pm



Quoting Aviopic (Reply 38):

Glider A2A does need a bit of planning but does not have to be that hard......


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Photo © Damien Dyer


One 20 min flight we in a Supercub followed the Ventus up to 4000' the just flew in formation down to 1000' taking 200 shots! Which got 3 good shots. The one above, plus one for the cover of a magazine..and one inside the magazine.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tupperware_pilot/3236623070/

The one thing it does need and this is very important for all A2A is two good pilots that know what they are doing and a good brief before the flight!
Damien
 
aviopic
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:35 pm



Quoting BaldurSveins (Reply 39):
Maybe someday one (or two) of them might be accepted here

Of course they will, Iceland rocks !
Well done Baldur and to bad of the 28-70.
A final tip, I keep a checklist in my pocket which I work through after take off(in fact a before and aft take off) to be sure everything is set correctly and didn't forget anything.

Quoting Damien846 (Reply 40):
Glider A2A does need a bit of planning but does not have to be that hard......

No it isn't real hard but I just lacked some knowledge which made it a bit harder then needed.
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
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walter2222
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:38 pm



Quoting BaldurSveins (Reply 39):
and put 23 of them on my web this morning

Really very nice shots, Baldur! Good photography, amazing backgrounds!

Quoting BaldurSveins (Reply 39):
behold it did not focus automatically because somehow in the airplane I had moved the focus switch to manual.

This happened to me also some time ago, and i only found out after 4 F-15C Eagles had taken off just in front of me...  Sad

Quoting BaldurSveins (Reply 39):
Maybe someday one (or two) of them might be accepted here.

Looking forward to it!!

Best regards,

Walter
Canon 347d mkII ;-) - EFS10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - EFS18-55mm - EF28-105mm f3.5/4.5 - EF100-400mm f4.5-5.6l IS USM - ...
 
JRadier
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:46 am



Quoting Aviopic (Reply 38):
In our Country you will have the problem of flight duration which usually don't last more then 20 to 30 minutes, basically they are towed or pulled up just to fall back to earth again.

Not as black and white as you make it out to be. I 'grew up' around EHDL (Deelen AB) which is right next to EHTL (Terlet, national glider center) on the Veluwe. If it's a good day there making the 2 hours full (club max) isn't a problem. The airspace is relatively uncluttered as well (apart from the EHDL airspace) and has a a ceiling of 10.000ft if memory serves me. I do agree on the abroad part though, that's where I shot my first and till date only A2A shots.

What I was talking about however was glider to glider A2A. That way there are hardly any costs, and if it doesn't work out you still had a nice flight.

Quoting Aviopic (Reply 38):
I was cold to the bone being dressed with shorts and t-shirt only(it was hot remember).

I feel your pain! I once went up in an open cockpit glider in the same attire. It was 28C on the ground and with the flightcaracteristics of the plane (falling like a brick) the flights didn't take more than 10 minutes, so what's the problem? Well... conditions were a bit better and we got up to 1000 meters and flew for an hour! I spent the rest of the day in 2 very warm sweaters, I don't think I've ever been that cold!

Quoting Aviopic (Reply 41):
No it isn't real hard but I just lacked some knowledge which made it a bit harder then needed.

That's the tricky part I think, gliders work quite a bit different than other aircraft and have their own ' rules'. If you're unaware of them, they are quite a handful to work with.
For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
 
javibi
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:24 am



Quoting AirKas1 (Reply 37):
I thought you flew long-haul?

I did. Not anymore  Smile

j
 
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ThierryD
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:52 am



Quoting Aviopic (Reply 38):
With a Canon manual mode is not needed Thierry, just put it in Tv, dial in 1/20s and the little Tamron does the rest.  

Always knew Canons were cameras for Dummies...  tongue 

Thierry
"Go ahead...make my day"
 
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Scooter01
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:07 am



Quoting Aviopic (Reply 38):
keep your camera up side down for the other half

I'm not an expert like some of you guys, but think the trick is to get a bit higher off the ground.....

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Scooter01
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Chukcha
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:56 pm

If threads could be rated, I'd rate this one five stars. And I'd vote it for "Photographers Choice"  Smile .
 
chris78cpr
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:00 pm



Quoting BaldurSveins (Reply 39):
I shot approx 950 shots, marked 150 as good (salvageable with sharpening) or excellent and put 23 of them on my web this morning. (see my profile or click on the picure for enlargement and them remove the TF-FUN_9251G_1200.jpg

Baldur,

I just had a look at your shots on your webpage, they are really good, great stuff. I'm sure you can get one or two on here.

Did you use the 5d2 for them? They look really clean and well processed.

Chris
5D2/7D/1D2(soon to be a 1Dx) 17-40L/24-105L/70-200F2.8L/100-400L/24F1.4LII/50F1.2L/85F1.2LII
 
baldursveins
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RE: Air To Air With Prop Discs

Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:07 pm

Thank you Chris.

I have two in the pipeline now (9251G and 9355G) and wait patiently for the screeners decision. Of course I hope that one of them will not be made into a double rejection if they make it in otherwise.

I used the 5D2 yes and all the AA shots of the right side I used my sons 70-200 2.8 IS lens and for the rest the 100-400 4.5-5.6 IS at 100-150 mm only. The bright sunlight and the low shutter speed made for small apertures. You can see the details (exif) if you save them and check.

I had a very useful e-mail from Javibi regarding using neutral density filters in bright light like I had there. I will give that a try when next appropriate. We have a lot of airplanes to shoot this year.

Baldur

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