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 Post subject: Aviation Photography
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:50 am 
I'm a noob just starting out doing aviation photography with a D3000. I'm having some trouble with blurry pictures particularly when the aircraft are launching or landing. I'll post some pics so you can understand my problem a little better.

Image

Image

I tried using Aperture priority (F5.6) on some of the pics but I had the same problem.

Can someone please tell me what I'm doing wrong.

On a side note, some of the pictures come out alright.
Image

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:32 am 
Firstly you may want to reduce the size in accordance to the rules before a moderator comes along, but a link to the full res image may be handy.

It appears you are slightly out of focus on these images, you just need to practice getting the shot in focus.

What are your autofocus settings? For this type of shot Id personally set continuous autofocus, so that the autofocus shifts as and when the plane moves, this is called AF-C in the menus I believe. And Id also set Single point mode so that you set the autofocus point yourself, and then it is locked on this mode, as you can probably track the planes quite accurately. If they are moving too fast, set it to Dynamic.

Please say if none of this made sense to you!

Also, maybe a smaller aperture would have helped get more in focus, say f8 or f11 if the shutter speed would allow.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:48 am 
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Location: The Netherlands
To me it seems to be a too slow shutterspeed. You have to follow the plane when photographing it, as explained in this tuthttp://www.dslrtips.com/workshops/How_to_blur_action_photos/panning_action_photo.shtml

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 3:52 am 
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Location: Gold Coast Australia
Hi JetPilot, welcome to the forum. If you look at your exif's, the first two are shot at 1/320 speed and the last two at 1/1000. Try using (S) shutter speed mode at a minium of 1/1000, let the camera work out everything else and practice smooth panning.

With the Nikon D40x I found AF continuious to slow and I used AF-A which was ok once I locked on with panning. When shooting into the sky I also use -0.7 EV to help prevent blownout sky's.


Cheers

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:44 am 
Thanks for the replies. @4xxxx - What do you mean by blown out skies?

I'll keep the image sizes small next time :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:52 am 
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Location: bit east of Melbourne
what he means is that correct exposure on aircraft is tricky as you are expecting the camera to get the exposure right on the underside and on top with sun shining on it. With the camera pointing at a dark underside and then a bright sky there is a tendency to overexpose.
Therefore dropping the exposure under the metering the camera has worked out can bring back the details, ie blown out means its too light and contains little detail. Like the rudder in shots 3 &4.

Sometimes you overexpose on purpose to keep the underside of the plane visible or the whole plane really, especially on cloudy days, but its a matter of compromise.

Shooting in raw instead of jgp also helps, allows more adjusting with highlights and shadows.

If possible try and pick times where the natural light and angle of sun helps. Often overcast days can be better.

Just did a search , check this out

Gordon has got a tutorial

http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtop ... t=aircraft


PS: maybe this thread shoul dbe moved down to here
http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=21

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:14 am 
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Location: Gold Coast Australia
Max is right, you just have to try different setting in various lighting to find out what suits you, I also use minus EV on beach/surf shots for the same reason and I never shoot raw.

If you look at the link Max gave you you will also find shots similar to yours, not quite right but the info is good. Have a look at the exif speed of the shots and some are 1/1600s. If you don't have an exif reader you can get a free download here, not all photos posted have exif data.

http://www.opanda.com/en/iexif/download.htm


Cheers

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:43 am 
Okay, so in the shots I took I should have underexposed the image a little by -0.7EV or something like that to bring back detail and then worry about polishing the image in Photoshop rather than just letting the camera decide the exposure?

So the bottom line is on a nice bright blue sky with almost no cloud (CAVOK is what we call it in aviation ) I should underexpose the imagine a little bit.

On a day with less light and low level scattered cloud or overcast I should over expose a little.

The best mode for shooting jets such as the 737-800 and A320 in the shots would be shutter priority and have a minimum shutter of no more than 1/600? I've been told by people to use aperture priority and use between 7.1 - 9 and use shutter priority and now I just can't decide.

P.S: Is there any particular shooting mode I should be using when plane spotting and taking pics of jet? Should I be using shutter or aperture?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:33 am 
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I would go with Aperture priority if you're shooting jets. Just make sure that your shutter speed is faster than the reciprocal of the focal length and add some for safety. e.g. 1/500th minimum at 300mm

If you're shooting on a clear or cloudy day using matrix metering, you aircraft will be partially overexposed. I'd dial in -0.7 - -1.0 and just check your histogram

If you're shooting rotary wing or props, then I'd switch to Shutter Priority to make sure you maintain some blur in the rotors/props.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:35 am 
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Here are a few examples:

http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20408


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:10 pm 
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try and all and see what happens, take a shot with +0.7 and then another with-0.7.

It all depends on sun angle and what part of plane you are focusing on.
If I relate it to bird photography, if the bird is sitting high in a tree above you and I shoot normal metering due to the bright sky the bird will be too dark. Then it pays to overexpose to see the colour of the bird, yes the sky will be over exposed, but the bird is visible.
Sometimes, its a matter of compromise and picking the time of day.

The idea is to have a high enough shutter speed with a large enough depth of field to keep the aircraft in focus.
I personally would use AV mode and keep and eye on shutter speed, if its under 800 or so increase iso. Selecting TV is ok, but I would leave that for specific things like catching a prop or helicopters.

I have twice now spend 9 day down at Avalon airshow working as volunteer, we were driving volunteers, photographers, aircrew and VIP`s around. My shift would finish at 2.00pm and then we were free to do what we wanted. Now with kids I am not prepared to spend the time down there, but was good fun. Mind you, how many planes can you look at for how long, before you get bored. :oops:
Meeting the aircrews was interesting, been inside a B52 and C17 Globemaster. The B52 has got the smallest place for the aircrew, it really is a flying fueltank that also can carry bombs.
Being there for the days prior the airshow is good for getting stationary shots as there is so few people around and you can pick the time of day you want to take photos.

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Last edited by maxjj on Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:10 pm 
Thanks! What shutter were you using it get the prop blur in your shots?

I like the shot the the L39's.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:20 pm 
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Here are a few more from another thread from long long ago...

http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtop ... c&start=15


As for the shutter speeds on the props, i depended based on what rpm they were running at at the time. I think around 1/200th, which meant a few not so sharp in the burst of frames.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:34 pm 
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Sorry cannot help, most of my photos are on film and I have never chased prop planes much.
I have got a few good helicopters with 1/60 and 1/120, so faster than that.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:35 am 
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Location: Gold Coast Australia
I think dubaiphil has one of the best examples of aircraft shots in his link, look at his exif's on the shots, speed over 1/2000 and some minus EV. I also use App mode for aircraft and am aware of the speed I need to get a sharp shot with no camera shake, if not you just get a blurred/soft shot. In dull weather increase the ISO to get the speed you need.

I have just been practicing with wiper sniper helicopters at 1/40s and can only manage to get the rotor blur around 3 segments of about 60 degrees. Usually we have surf rescue heli's passing over regular which are slower rotating, it seems they never come when you want one. This is one use for my camera user setting as these things come and go quickly and there is no time to twiddle the knobs.

Guess the only thing left for you to do is park your jet plane and shoot of a few practice shots. 8)

Cheers

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