PZ
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Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:43 am

I will be going to St. Maarten in about two weeks, and for this reason I bought my first interchangeable lens camera. I'm not an expert with cameras, and I know a lot of you are looking at the magnificient pictures I see on Airliners.net everyday. So my question is, are there any techniques you usually use to get airplanes well framed, not blurry and well focus? What aperture and shutter speed do you usually use? Your tips will be highly appreciated!
 
redcoat78
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:50 am

It depends by a lot of different conditions (weather, light condition, position, velocity of the plane etc).

Which camera and lens do you own for example, and what kind of shots you are looking for to get? Planes on a landing path?

let us know
Simone

[Edited 2010-08-06 22:52:44]
 
Numero4
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:50 am

Hi!
Lucky you!
Please tell us what your camera / lens is.  
CYQB
 
PZ
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:49 pm

Thanks for the replies! I'm actually getting married and going to St. Maarten on my honeymoon. I had to show my fiance lots of pictures of how beautiful the beach is over there to hide my real intention of spending some time on spotting paradise, SXM.  
The camera is a Sony Alpha NEX-5, with a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and a 16mm f/2.8 lens. Even though 55mm is not much zoom, I don't think you really need zoom in SXM. Most of the shots are going to be airplanes on final approach over the beach.
 
viv
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:01 pm

The electronic viewfinder on the NEX-5 may be a slight problem, due to image lag.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
 
PZ
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Sat Aug 07, 2010 4:02 pm

Quoting viv (Reply 4):
The electronic viewfinder on the NEX-5 may be a slight problem, due to image lag.

The Sony NEX-5 doesn't have an electronic viewfinder, just a LCD monitor on the back. The LCD is pretty good, with a sunny weather mode that lets you see really good in sunny weather.
 
viv
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:20 pm

Yes, but there will be some image lag, which may make framing a moving aircraft difficult.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
 
PZ
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:50 pm

Quoting viv (Reply 6):
Yes, but there will be some image lag, which may make framing a moving aircraft difficult.

I haven't experienced this when shooting in different situations, but I haven't tried it yet on moving aircraft, so you might be right.

Moving into the topic, how do you usually do when shooting aircraft, you follow the aircraft with the camera? you wait for the aircraft to be framed? you half press the shutter when following the aircraft?? your comments will be highly appreciated!
 
teopilot
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:37 pm

sorry PZ, I'd like to add something else to your questions...
what about the diaphgagm... is it better to use a closed one, or you'd rather choose a "wider" one?
 
PZ
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:05 am

Quoting teopilot (Reply 8):
sorry PZ, I'd like to add something else to your questions...
what about the diaphgagm... is it better to use a closed one, or you'd rather choose a "wider" one?

Sorry teopilot, I'm kind of new to the world of photography, what do you mean by a close or wide diaphragm? Is it f/stops?? Thanks!!  
 
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cpd
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:22 am

Quoting PZ (Reply 7):
you half press the shutter when following the aircraft?? your comments will be highly appreciated!

I can't speak for the others, but I'd usually follow the plane smoothly - keeping the shutter button pressed half-way (for focus), and then pressing all the way down on the button to take a photo. If you do it right, the shutter speed won't matter greatly - and you'll get a nice panning effect on the image.

But keep in mind, this is for a camera with a proper viewfinder.

[Edited 2010-08-08 21:23:03]
 
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Moose135
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:53 am

Quoting PZ (Reply 3):
I'm actually getting married and going to St. Maarten on my honeymoon

And you plan to go out spotting??? That poor girl...
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
teopilot
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:09 pm

Quoting PZ (Reply 9):
Sorry teopilot, I'm kind of new to the world of photography, what do you mean by a close or wide diaphragm? Is it f/stops?? Thanks!!

of course... I meant right the F/ stops...  
really sorry for having write down things a bit unclearly.

[Edited 2010-08-09 05:11:20]
 
PZ
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:31 pm

Quoting cpd (Reply 10):
I can't speak for the others, but I'd usually follow the plane smoothly - keeping the shutter button pressed half-way (for focus), and then pressing all the way down on the button to take a photo. If you do it right, the shutter speed won't matter greatly - and you'll get a nice panning effect on the image.

But keep in mind, this is for a camera with a proper viewfinder.

Thanks for the tip cpd! I will play with the camera and this technique and will let you know how the pictures come out!

Quoting moose135 (Reply 11):
And you plan to go out spotting??? That poor girl...

haha I actually showed her the pictures of how low the airplanes past over the beach and she got excited! We are also going to Aruba for a week so she will have plenty of beach time over there  
Quoting teopilot (Reply 12):
of course... I meant right the F/ stops...  
really sorry for having write down things a bit unclearly.

My bad, I'm kinnda new in the hobby of photography!

The problem I see is this: I would like to use a fast shutter since the object is moving and to avoid a blurry image and have a sharp one, but I also would like to use a small aperture that will give me a greater depth of field and to make sure everything is in focus, but usually when you use a small aperture you use a slow shutter. I could also raise the ISO but I don't want the pictures to be grainy. So is there a "neutral" setting you usually use in these cases?? You usually give priority to Aperture or Shutter speed? I think most of the pictures will be in sunny weather, with good light.
 
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Moose135
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:16 pm

If you are shooting in good, sunny conditions, you shouldn't have too much of a problem balancing shutter and aperture. I shoot with a Canon DSLR, and I'm not familiar with your Sony, but here's what I would do...keep your ISO as low as practicable, usually ISO 100. For airliners, I shoot in Aperture Priority, set somewhere around f/7.1 or f/8. That will give you plenty of DOF, but allow your shutter speed to fall somewhere in the 1/400 - 1/640 range, which will be more than enough, especially if you can track along with the subject before shooting.

Quoting PZ (Reply 13):
haha I actually showed her the pictures of how low the airplanes past over the beach and she got excited!

Sounds like you might be off to a good start after all!
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
PZ
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:54 pm

Quoting moose135 (Reply 14):
If you are shooting in good, sunny conditions, you shouldn't have too much of a problem balancing shutter and aperture. I shoot with a Canon DSLR, and I'm not familiar with your Sony, but here's what I would do...keep your ISO as low as practicable, usually ISO 100. For airliners, I shoot in Aperture Priority, set somewhere around f/7.1 or f/8. That will give you plenty of DOF, but allow your shutter speed to fall somewhere in the 1/400 - 1/640 range, which will be more than enough, especially if you can track along with the subject before shooting.

Thanks for the tips moose135! I just went outside my office and played with the camera a little bit taking shots of moving cars. The weather is sunny and used f/8 wich gave me a shutter speed of 1/500 in Aperture Priority with ISO 200 (thats the lowest the camera gives, the range is from ISO 200 to ISO 12800). The pictures came out pretty good!!
 
teopilot
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:57 pm

Dear PZ

I'm a total newbie, just like you...
What you have to do, in my point of view, is just to shoot as much as possible, but also to "study" and read a lot. You have to gain feeling with you camera, and I'd say also with your lens...

I'd report my experience, so you could understand better what I mean with the sentence above...
Foreword: I have a Canon 450D with 18/55 and a 75/300; both of them don't have stabilization.
As I "unpacked" my camera and lens, I went immediately out to try it...
( I read a lot about photography, so I would test practically what I had learnt only theoretically)
my first results were not so good as I expected, but I held on, and I've been keeping shooting...
then I tried aperture and shutter priorities modes, and then also the manual mode...
I have definitely more feeling with the latter... I can decide what to do and how my shot sould be...

now, after this long personal experience report, let's talk about spotting...
Shooting planes is not the first thing I did with my camera, because in my opinion it is not as easy as it may looks...
however, after some practice I was for the first time at Milan Linate airport to do some spotting...
well, I tried both lenses, and I made about 200 shots in few hours...
many of them were experiments, in fact I'd have tried several configurations of shutter and aperture to shoot...

once at home, I critically examined my shots, and I checked them in order not to make the same mistakes next time...
well... the results are just what moose135 told you just before me...
but I noticed that also at an ISO of 200 my Canon is OK,without any evident proof of noise...
but about Sony, I really don't know how do they work...
you just have to try, and try... then, good shots will come ( I'm not only talking about planes, but also the rest)

but for me, having a photo accepted here is still a challenge, because I'm not so good at editing photos... they lost all in quality...

Remind, NEVER BACK DOWN!!!

hope this would be useful for you...
and here is the correct place where to ask for help  

p.s.: also I found out the limits of my lenses... for instance, my 75/300 at a focal of 250 or more, lose a bit in quality especially with heat haze and light reflecions...  
 
PZ
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:20 pm

Thanks for all the advice teopilot! Too bad the traffic in ASU is really low, so it's hard to practice shooting airplanes. But spotting in St. Maarten will be a lot of fun and I will have time to practice over there  
 
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Moose135
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RE: Photography Tips, Techniques And Spotting

Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:52 am

Quoting PZ (Reply 15):
I just went outside my office and played with the camera a little bit taking shots of moving cars.

That's one of the important things you can do (other than RTFM...) Practice, practice, practice. Get a feel for what the different setting do, and what kind of results you get from them.
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!

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