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tylersmithsjc
Topic Author
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:52 am

Cropping Photos Of Helicopters

Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:32 am

Hi everyone I'm used to cropping photos of helicopters sitting on ramps but I'm having trouble on how I should crop photos of them while they fly overhead. They come in at almost directly above where I stand and it is hard to get some good photos of them if you can't point close to directly up. Here are some examples of the photos that I have taken and slightly edited.

Here is an example of where I have cropped it so that you can see all of the rotors.

It looks really awkward with the body of the helicopter being all the way at the bottom and so much room in front and back of the body.

I've also tried to do more of an airliner crop version where the body is centered.

Altohugh it looks a bit off because the top rotor has been cropped out.

Any suggestions from some more experienced photographers? Any help is appreciated a lot! Thanks!
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: Cropping Photos Of Helicopters

Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:29 am

Photographically, the first is much better IMHO - follows the classic rule of thirds composition, and the aircraft has room to move. But that's not necessarily what A.net wants.

Unfortunately, the shot is very soft, so I doubt you'll have any success with it here.

Cheers,

Colin
 
angad84
Posts: 2134
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:04 pm

RE: Cropping Photos Of Helicopters

Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:29 am

For helicopters on a.net, both types of composition are work.

I crop based on the "feel" of the shot. In some pictures including the rotor doesn't work:


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Photo © Angad Singh - Zone Five Aviation
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Photo © Angad Singh - Zone Five Aviation



And in others it does:


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Photo © Angad Singh - Zone Five Aviation
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Photo © Angad Singh - Zone Five Aviation



Also, when I include the rotors in their entirety, I tend to leave a little more breathing room on the opposite side of the aircraft to "balance" the shot.

Cheers
Angad
 
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ptrjong
Posts: 4123
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 9:38 am

RE: Cropping Photos Of Helicopters

Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:05 pm

In the old days, when centering was often discussed here, I liked to talk about the 'weight' of the parts of the photo. Centering is not about counting pixels from the extremes of the subject to the edge of the frame, but about putting the 'centre of gravity' of the photo in the middle.

The helicopter fuselage has more 'weight' than the long slim tailboom or the rotor blades. Therefore the tailboom and blades should ideally be put closer to the edge than the fuselage, putting the fuselage more in the centre, such as here.

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Photo © Peter de Jong


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Photo © Peter de Jong


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Photo © Peter de Jong



I agree with Colin that including the entire rotor is much better in this case, but I would still consider the 'centre of gravity', so I'd put the top blade close to the edge and the fuselage more in the middle.

So I don't think either of your crops is actually well centered. In the second, you also cut the front blade right through the tip, which doesn't look nice.

The screeners usually allow quite a lot of liberty in cropping helicopter shots, but I think this might be helpful.

Peter 
 
tylersmithsjc
Topic Author
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:52 am

RE: Cropping Photos Of Helicopters

Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:45 pm

Thank you all! I agree that this is a really soft photo and isn't one of my better ones. I was just using it as an example. Thanks all for the great advice!
 
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scbriml
Posts: 20091
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 10:37 pm

RE: Cropping Photos Of Helicopters

Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:27 am

Helicopters are so ugly, I don't know why anyone would want to photograph them!     

For a.net, I've never bothered about keeping all the rotors in as I often feel the shot looks 'unbalanced' if I do. For helicopters in flight, especially military ones, I find cropping closely and not worrying about the rotors often gives a more 'dynamic' result.

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Photo © Steve Brimley
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Photo © Steve Brimley



But, at the end of the day, the site does actually give a fair bit of flexibility when it comes to composition for helicopters which are often less straightforward than planes mainly due to, as Peter described it, their 'weight distribution'.

Then of course, there's the Osprey, which offers even more challenges than a 'normal' helicopter!

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Photo © Steve Brimley
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Photo © Steve Brimley


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Photo © Steve Brimley
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Photo © Steve Brimley

 
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walter2222
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RE: Cropping Photos Of Helicopters

Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:41 pm

Quoting scbriml (Reply 5):
especially military ones, I find cropping closely and not worrying about the rotors often gives a more 'dynamic' result.

  


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Photo © Walter Van Bel


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Photo © Walter Van Bel



But sometimes one can be lucky to have a nice background:


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Photo © Walter Van Bel



Biggest problem when photographing heli's is trying to get some rotor blur (with small aperture) and then having to remove numerous dust spots during editing...  
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Photo © Walter Van Bel



But, as already mentioned before, the screeners are really forgiving a lot when it comes to heli's (after all, it 's in most cases up to the viewer to decide what is beautiful or not, and that can vary from person to person...).

Best regards,

Walter
 
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bombayduck
Posts: 263
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:31 pm

RE: Cropping Photos Of Helicopters

Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:06 pm

It can help with cropping or, how to make it easier to crop if the helicopter in question has no rotor blades. As in this image below.


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Photo © Stephen Duquemin


Otherwise I will crop to the tail rotor, and then crop to the canopy as shown here.


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Photo © Stephen Duquemin




Regards

Steve

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