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Asuspine
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The Use Of Flash For Night-Time Images - Is It Safe?

Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:52 pm

Hi,

I was about to vote for this otherwise stunning photo but wait...

Photos of aircraft on final approach at night are interesting. In most cases flash is programmed to lit up aircraft either towards end of a long exposure or at the beginning. However, some may be resorting to powerful flash lights that too at a point when usually auto-pilot is disengaged by pilot and he is concentrating on landing the aircraft. A powerful flash down under can cause distraction / temporary blindness during this critical phase. Due to safety reasons, I think photos of aircraft on final approach with powerful flash should be discouraged / banned. Ironically this one is on front page as photographers' choice.

(No offence to photographer, its the methodology I want to discuss)


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Photo © Marvin Steglich



Your views please.

Cheers

[Edited 2013-02-13 11:23:06]
HFK
 
vikkyvik
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The Use Of Flash For Night-Time Images - Is It Safe?

Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:37 pm

Quoting Asuspine (Thread starter):
Your views please.

How could the pilot and copilot possibly see that flash?

I've thought the same thing as you at times. But I can't imagine that the flash in that photo would be distracting at all, if they even saw it.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
CaptainKramer
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The Use Of Flash For Night-Time Images - Is It Safe?

Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:05 pm

There have been numerous shots taken with flash on the flightdeck during final approach, where you can clearly see the runway through the flightdeck window. I would have thought if there was an issue with a camera flash, it would be here and not from a bright flash firing off underneath a plane at night.

Pilots also have too contend with lightning flashes from storms which flash intermittentantly. The biggest worry for Pilots on approach nowadays however, would come from lazer pointers, more so than a single big flash from a camera.

I imagine it would only become a issue if photogrpahers push the envelope and try getting front on shots of planes at night, with even more powerful flashes that give a bigger throw of light to cover the greater distance to the subject.
 
mjgbtv
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The Use Of Flash For Night-Time Images - Is It Safe?

Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:25 pm

Quoting CaptainKramer (Reply 2):
There have been numerous shots taken with flash on the flightdeck during final approach

I trust that is with the pilots' foreknowledge, whereas with the photo above the flash (if seen) would presumably be a surprise at a time when you probably least want surprises.

I have to wonder what the local police/security/citizenry would have thought if they saw this? Try explaining to them the finer points of lasers vs. flashes or exactly where the flash was relative to the pilot's POV...

Unless this is sanctioned by the appropriate authorities I'd say it is unwise and the type of thing that tends to give airport photography a bad name.
 
Silver1SWA
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The Use Of Flash For Night-Time Images - Is It Safe?

Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:07 pm

Quoting mjgbtv (Reply 3):
Quoting CaptainKramer (Reply 2):
There have been numerous shots taken with flash on the flightdeck during final approach

I trust that is with the pilots' foreknowledge, whereas with the photo above the flash (if seen) would presumably be a surprise at a time when you probably least want surprises.

I have to wonder what the local police/security/citizenry would have thought if they saw this? Try explaining to them the finer points of lasers vs. flashes or exactly where the flash was relative to the pilot's POV...

Unless this is sanctioned by the appropriate authorities I'd say it is unwise and the type of thing that tends to give airport photography a bad name.

Well said. I have access to a perfect spot for this type of shot, but I wouldn't dare attempt it. Not here in the US. Authorities would not be pleased, to say the least.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
JakTrax
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The Use Of Flash For Night-Time Images - Is It Safe?

Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:38 am

'Nimby' syndrome.....

I don't know the photographer personally but I'm 99.9% sure he's not British. I'm not saying he did anything wrong (he may have had permission?) but perhaps it's not something he'd so readily try in his own 'back yard'.

Karl
 
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derekf
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The Use Of Flash For Night-Time Images - Is It Safe?

Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:38 am

Flight decks at night are designed so that pilots retain some semblance of night-vision. Setting off flashguns underneath them is not going to help. In the image shown, the flash may not have been visible but I wonder how many shots the photographer took to get that one?
Whatever.......
 
soon7x7
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RE: The Use Of Flash For Night-Time Images - Is It Safe?

Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:25 pm

While the flash burst underneath the aircraft may look powerful from the ground to the camera,....from the cockpit a flash burst appears nothing more than a minute star burst. I'd be curious to know what the ISO setting was. Other than incorporating a transportable light generator, I know of no on camera flash with enough power to so brightly illuminate the underside of a flying aircraft at lets say, ISO 100. A portable power pack and strobe heads could do it @ 2000Watt Seconds but setting up such a system at the approach end of a runway is a hassle. not to say it can't be done. Other portable power packs that you can wear will get you 400 Watt Seconds of burst but still not enough to achieve the results seen here @ ISO 100. I refer to ISO 100 as it is my standard for night work. So an on camera flash @ ISO 1400-2000??? could result in such a shot I suppose. I don't go there so if anybody knows what was used, I'd be interested.The wing tip strobes are considerably more powerful than any on a camera. In this image, the aircraft is apparently on short final anyway and the pilots eyes would already be locked on his touch down point on the runway. At the airport I am working at today, the approach lights to R-06 are far more blinding than any flash system to the point I'd prefer they were shut off. As a pilot though, a ground fired flash would not pose a problem at all to the crew. Local security may have issues with it though.   
 
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Asuspine
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RE: The Use Of Flash For Night-Time Images - Is It Safe?

Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:27 pm

Two points to determine the intensity of flash used in this case.

a. Compare relative intensity of light from flash Vs aircraft's landing lights and Nav Lights at wingtips. Area inside wheel wells is brighter than landing lights with some portions of the belly almost overexposed.

b. Is it a panning shot? If not then it is certainly at hi shutter speed as there is no motion blur. How much ISO / aperture would give such a shutter speed with an ordinary flash?

There are all kinds of bright lights on approach to runway in major cities and runway appears to be the darkest strip in area. But then pilots expect and see these lights from distance and they refrain from starring at these. An ordinary flash from the front may not be noticed as pilots are more busy looking at PAPIs and aligning aircraft with runway. The same can't be said for a flash producing light of high intensity.

Cheers
HFK

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