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Author Topic: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)  (Read 5553 times)

serendipidy

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Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« on: October 03, 2012, 09:25:26 PM »
I've never formally attended an air show, although I've seen some from a distance. Three days ago, I went to the Blue Angels air show in Hawaii and got a chance to try out my first time novice skills with my 7D and 8 month old 100-400mm L. WOW, what a great show! Estimated that about 70,000 visitors attended. Can't wait for another one to come along. :D

Having never even tried BIF (these were larger but moving much faster than most birds), I googled the topic of air show photography the day before and read some suggestions (very helpful and wouldn't have been nearly so fun without the advice). I basically set the 7D to Tv @ 1/1000 with auto ISO (max set to 400) and auto white balance. The focus and exposure mode was usually on spot. Almost all the shots were taken @ 400mm. All were JPGs taken hand held and, since the show lasted 5 hours, my arms were quite tired at the end. :P

I took about 1000 exposures and have picked out several of the best to post. I would love to hear some tips from any of you more experienced air show photographers, so next time I might do better. These were PP in DPP (probably over cooked since I am still learning). Any constructive comments are welcome (don't be too hard).

Thanks for looking and any helpful hints. I really enjoy this site and have learned a lot here.
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Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« on: October 03, 2012, 09:25:26 PM »

serendipidy

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 09:30:14 PM »
A few more from the same show, but not Blue Angels.
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awinphoto

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 11:24:17 PM »
Great shots. I tried out the 100-400 and my 5d3 at the Reno air races this year. Of course when I went, the big show, an f-22 couldn't fly for some mechanical problem, but a good lens.
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awinphoto

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2012, 11:29:09 PM »
Too many pics and on my iPhone, but here's a link to my pics. http://m.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.433188113385583.91425.328249047212824&type=1&refid=17  If you have problems seeing them let me know
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albedo13

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2012, 11:47:29 PM »
I have been doing serious airshow photography as an amateur for the last 5 or 6 years, and still have a long way to go to get to where I would like to be.  First and foremost, I would recommend checking out Fencecheck.com, this is a website by and for aviation photographers.  There are lots of tips and great examples from people posting their shots.  Second, I assume you are shooting in raw, if not then you are giving up a great portion of the information in each shot, which you need for dealing with the lighting situations you will deal with at airshows.  I use Av and whatever ISO I need to get a shutter speed faster than 1/2000 for jets, and use Tv with a shutter speed of 1/50 - 1/80 to get prop blur on propeller planes, and also use the Tv for any aircraft that will be low enough to get background in for blurring.  At the recent airshow at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach, VA I took over 20,000 shots over 3.5 days...and am still going through all of them!  Oceana (and Langley AFB) are unique in the east coast for having night shows on the Friday of the airshow weekend; glowing afterburners, airborne fireworks displays, and often spectacular sunsets make for incredible combinations if you are lucky enough to get them all right.  Just keep shooting and have fun!  Here are some of my favorites so far from Oceana.

Jim

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2012, 12:12:31 AM »
Roger Cicala on shooting air shows:
"One effective technique to get some room when you’re at a crowded airshow: set the 600 vertically with the hood end on the ground, get a serious look on your face, and announce loudly 'you folks should step back from the blast area before we launch this.'"
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serendipidy

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2012, 02:01:03 AM »
@ Awinphoto
Very nice captures. Looks like a great show.

@ Jim
Thanks for your post. Hope I'm that good in 5 years. I really like the beautiful sunsets as a back drop.
I know I should start using RAW but those were all shot in JPG. Using a slower shutter speed for the props planes really emphasizes a feeling of speed.. Mine were all shot at 1/1000 and it freezes the propellers and looks kind of artificial.
What camera and lens do you usually use at air shows?
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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2012, 02:01:03 AM »

PeterJ

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2012, 03:59:07 AM »
Roger Cicala on shooting air shows:
"One effective technique to get some room when you’re at a crowded airshow: set the 600 vertically with the hood end on the ground, get a serious look on your face, and announce loudly 'you folks should step back from the blast area before we launch this.'"
LOL. If you're the strong but silent type you could also try a Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 and you probably wouldn't have to announce anything ;D.

K3nt

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2012, 04:15:53 AM »
Serendipidy: Nice work, if that's your first go at it, you did really well. I especially like the third shot in your first post. The simplistic composition of the sole plane, the air streams on the side of the cockpit and you left good room on the left part of the shot so it doesn't feel cramped. My only change, I would open the shadows/brighten/dodge the plane it self a little, it is slightly dark. On the other hand, this monitor I am viewing on at work isn't exactly calibrated.  ;)

Albedo13: Those planes and sunset are lovely. Paticularly the last one with the formation heading in to the sunset, great timing. And thanks for the tips, if I go to an airshow I'll have a pretty good idea on what settings to use.  :D
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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2012, 05:16:53 AM »
I like the third one also, as well as the last one of the, flying into the sunset. Maybe lighten the shadows on that image a bit?
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serendipidy

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2012, 05:17:38 AM »
K3nt

Thanks for your kind words and critique. I will try out your suggestions.
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serendipidy

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2012, 07:23:05 AM »
I purchased PSE 9 and then 10 but have never tried or used them. First attempt to lighten the shadows on my 3rd photo of the Blue Angel jet.
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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2012, 09:12:09 AM »
I purchased PSE 9 and then 10 but have never tried or used them. First attempt to lighten the shadows on my 3rd photo of the Blue Angel jet.

Perfect. Wouldn't change a thing.
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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2012, 09:12:09 AM »

woollybear

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2012, 10:04:40 AM »
My contribution...

awinphoto

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2012, 10:34:38 AM »
@ Awinphoto
Very nice captures. Looks like a great show.

@ Jim
Thanks for your post. Hope I'm that good in 5 years. I really like the beautiful sunsets as a back drop.
I know I should start using RAW but those were all shot in JPG. Using a slower shutter speed for the props planes really emphasizes a feeling of speed.. Mine were all shot at 1/1000 and it freezes the propellers and looks kind of artificial.
What camera and lens do you usually use at air shows?

Thanks... Hopefully we will get the blue angels here next year... 
Canon 5d III, Canon 24-105L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 70-200 F4L, Canon 100L 2.8, Canon 85 1.8, 430EX 2's and a lot of bumps along the road to get to where I am.

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Re: Air Shows-How do you shoot them? (my first attempt)
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2012, 10:34:38 AM »