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ZSOFN
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Posts: 1380
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:20 pm

Grey Days...

Fri Oct 07, 2005 9:05 pm

Hi all

Now I'm not (yet) anywhere near being an a.net standard photographer, but I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on shooting in grey foggy conditions with low light levels. I went to LHR yesterday and the results were less than successful (see below).

I've got a Fuji Finepix S5500 which I know is more of an amateur camera, but I want to get the best out of it until I can justify getting a camera of a more "professional" standard.

Here are 3 of the best (?!) of yesterday:

http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/9673/dscf2078resize3xc.jpg
http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/8471/dscf2112croppedresize3wh.jpg
http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/3699/dscf1974aresize2eh.jpg

Horrible innit! (The first is the original image as I've not had much success with photoshop on it yet). Should I just give up??
 
mhodgson
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 8:47 pm

RE: Grey Days...

Fri Oct 07, 2005 9:14 pm

No. I got similar results on a grey day with an S602 camera. the weather is the problem, not the camera. Even SLRs struggle in low light conditions. Static and slow-moving aircraft can be shot, but it is very difficult to get high quality action shots.

You can increase ISO levels, but the light causes problems with aperture and shutter, so you cannot incease these too much.
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highguy76
Posts: 174
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RE: Grey Days...

Fri Oct 07, 2005 11:27 pm

Here in SEA we get a lot of grey days during the winter and fall. I've heard many photogs say "If it looks like that outside, I just don't even bother shooting" but If I didn't soot in light like that, I would just have to put my camera away for several months. So shoot I do.
Up the ISO a little and open up the aperture (with my 75-300 I go to 6.3 or 7.1) Photoshop does wonders with the sky if its still too dark or grey.
Highguy76
 
fergulmcc
Posts: 1878
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:36 pm

RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 12:08 am

Now they would be some great shots if the weather was a bit better, some good motives there. I like the mist forming on top of the wings just on rotation,..... but I have to agree with the comments above. Even a SLR would stuggle, but then you would get those effects. Just keep shooting, its practice what you want even if the quality is low, its still a buzz standing along the runway and when that good weather comes along you'll know what to do.

take care

Fergul  sun 

On a side note, if it is dull I tend not to go out, big mistake! As I have often learnt that DUB is sunny while the rest of Dublin is overcast!  banghead 
Zambian Airways, Where the Eagles fly free!!
 
donder10
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RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 12:46 am

I admire your determination-yesterday was awful all day and only began to show a few signs of improvements after sunset.

Nice to see an unusual angle from LHR-taken from the perimeter fence by the car park near Hatton Cross?
 
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linco22
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RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 2:05 am

Dont worry mate, I went to MAN in August and it was horrible allllll day! But it didnt stop me taking around 400 shots. Like the other guys said, just get out there and shoot! I do

Colin
 
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Scooter
Posts: 878
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 1999 12:18 pm

RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 2:35 am

I'm curious...for all of you above who say that you'll shoot no matter what the conditions, how long have you been shooting? When I first started out, I was like that. But I look back on some of my old poor-weather shots now and I die laughing!

Having been doing this going on 6 years now, I won't even venture out to the airport unless the forecast is "sunny" or "mostly sunny". I admit that's pretty often here in so cal, but when I was shooting at ORD for a couple years, I still held true to that. Sure, I didn't get out to the airport much because of it, but my portfolio is much better for it. I'd rather have a small collection of stunning well-lit images rather than a collection of thousands upon thousands of mediocre shots.

Just my opinion...
My name is Scott, and I am addicted to writing obnoxiously-detailed trip reports.
 
fergulmcc
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Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:36 pm

RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 2:52 am

Sometimes you can get the best shots in wet weather, Big grin

Fergul  sun 
Zambian Airways, Where the Eagles fly free!!
 
Psych
Posts: 3008
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:17 am

RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:05 am

I too have a built-in tendency to think that fair weather is the time to get out. However, there have been occasions when potential downpours have really helped the shot - here is an example of mine where I think the photo would have not been nearly as interesting without the angry-looking rainclouds:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Paul Markman


A few of us got together last weekend at MAN and the weather in the morning was wretched. But I managed to get a few photos, one of which (currently in screening) was really much better because of the very wet runway and the enormous spray created by the engines' thrust on take off. So, often poor weather = more drama to the shot, so long as you can get the quality.

Paul
 
GPHOTO
Posts: 799
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2004 11:44 pm

RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:59 am

Dull weather can be a pain, but if you work, you don't have much option about free time for going to the airport. I wouldn't go if it was raining, but otherwise, why not? Some of my favourite shots have been in dull weather and if the sun pops out you are in a great position to have good light with some interesting sky behind.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jim Groom



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jim Groom



Both shot with a Fuji S602 (3 megapixel).

Best regards,

Jim
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mikephotos
Posts: 2888
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2000 12:52 am

RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:05 am

Shoot film/slides for a year and you'll quickly learn the to go out shooting only when conditions are perfect.

Just because you can tweak a digital shot in poor weather to somewhat acceptable quality doesn't mean you should. Of course, there are times when you want to capture special weather shots or a rare visitor but if we're talking about standard shots it's best to stay home when it's anything but perfect.

However, with that said, a day at the airport in poor weather watching planes certainly beats a sunny day at the office...

Mike
 
highguy76
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2003 10:38 pm

RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:29 am

Quoting Mikephotos (Reply 10):
However, with that said, a day at the airport in poor weather watching planes certainly beats a sunny day at the office...

Even with my office being the cabin of a (usually) 757, I'd still rather be shooting than working.
If I shot with film or slides I would probably think twice about shooting in poor light, but with digi, I fire away. I can use the practice.
Highguy76
 
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ZSOFN
Topic Author
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Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:20 pm

RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 5:11 am

Quoting Donder10 (Reply 4):
Nice to see an unusual angle from LHR-taken from the perimeter fence by the car park near Hatton Cross?

Indeed  Smile The landing shots were taken after a long hike along the north perimeter road. Couldn't find a hole in the fence though  Sad

Aah well I'll get some practise in... I'm not usually near LHR but I had some spare hours in west London this week. I'm usually near BRS so maybe I'll take a trip down there soon.

Thanks all for the encouragement! Psych, I had the misguided notion that I might scoop a shot like yours but fat chance. Really nice shot by the way!
 
Psych
Posts: 3008
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RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:38 pm

Thanks for that kind comment Tom.

This is the photograph that I was referring in my earlier post, then in screening:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Paul Markman


I think this is a good example of a photo that is, in fact, improved by the fact that the weather was poor. I like the shot because of the airliner itself, but the spray kicked up from the water on the runway gives a more objective, visible, impression of the sheer power of this machine taking to the air. In beautiful lighting that aspect of the scene is left rather more to the imagination.

All the best.

Paul
 
LGW
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RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:32 pm

Scooter,

No offence but being from San Diego I doubt the number of dull days you experience quite rival that of us here in UK & Ireland!

It's funny, when I used to shoot film I shot in all conditions, I did it because I enjoyed being at the airport, I enjoyed the company I had at the airport and photography was something I did whilst there quite often as opposed to going just to shoot.

Now I use digital and am more critical of my work I tend to only venture out in good or excellent weather (unless I am away on a trip and the weather doesn't matter) and I find it is a rut I want to get out of as has been said you can get great shots in inclement weather conditions

I also believe it is down to the type of shot, if it is a dull day it is one thing shooting rotations with condensation, spray etc and quite another shooting side on approach shots all day!

"Dull weather can be a pain, but if you work, you don't have much option about free time for going to the airport"

You hit the nail on the head there Jim!

I get a little annoyed when I see many people saying things like don't go out if its cloudy, don't shoot if its not full sun, don't shoot if the sun is high etc.

Most people would never pick up a camera if they did all this, the key is to enjoy your photography and shoot when you want, far from looking back and laughing at my old prints of bad weather days I look back with fond memories of that day I spent at the airport.

Remember for most this is a hobby to enjoy, not one to agonize over the weather

Cheers

Ben Pritchard
 
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ZSOFN
Topic Author
Posts: 1380
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:20 pm

RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 6:32 pm

Quoting Psych (Reply 13):

That's a lovely shot - I'm jealous!  Smile How did you get so much colour on the a/c? There seems to be a bit more light than at LHR but not much. What sort of settings did you use and also adjustments in Photoshop? Sorry for all the questions.

As to the merits of going out on a grey day - I had a great time and saw some fantastic action, and as it was my first ever time spotting (first aviation shots other than window views etc inflight) I learnt a lot - seeing beautiful crisp photos here makes you forget just how fast these birds are going - so much to learn about timing, so when that sunny day arrives I've got much better chances.
 
thowman
Posts: 342
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 6:51 am

RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 7:02 pm

Well, I am off the the RAF Museum as it is so grey outside today. There's always some interesting new angle to find inside when the skies are grey.

And it's free and photography is encouraged.

[Edited 2005-10-08 12:04:20]
 
Psych
Posts: 3008
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:17 am

RE: Grey Days...

Sat Oct 08, 2005 8:01 pm

Tom,

Just sent you an email with the details of that shot. Hope you get it.

If you need anything more feel free to get in touch.

Paul

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