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Old Jul 26, 2009, 8:18 PM   #1
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Default Great Stearman Perfomance, Quad-City Airshow

I took 840 photos during the Quad-Cities Airshow this past June. The shear volume has delayed posting of the any of the results but I 've decided to post what turned out to be any amazing aerobatic performance.

Sunday, the last day of the show started out fully overcast with about a 3000' ceiling and it rained moderately heavily for 20 min. right at noon delaying the start of the performances. The Stearman picture here and its pilot put on an amazing low and tight aerobatic with most started and completed very near the show centerpoint. What was even more uncommon was that this Stearman had the stock 220 HP Continental engine rather than the common conversion to 450 HP engines for aerobatic show work. The pilot kept virtually all of the performance right in front of the audience negating the effects of the low ceiling marginal visability.

A. C,
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 7:20 AM   #2
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Hi AC,

They are certainly fun to watch. Next time at the airshow, when shooting props, try to use a slower shutter speed so you get a little more blur in the prop. These shots were at 1/1000 - try something along the 1/200. Also, watch exposures. One of the great parts about an open-air cockpit is being able to see the pilot. In these shots the pilot is underexposed so you can't really see him. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:


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Old Jul 27, 2009, 11:49 AM   #3
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John:

Let see, the pilot is visible in two of the five photos. Prop blur is a matter of taste, the first of your sample is blurred to the almost to the point of invisiblity. When the prop "on edge" as in the second of your samples and the first two of my shots shutter speed is fairly irrelevant as the prop doesn't have an angular velocity relative to the line of sight.

Nobody at the QC Airshow is every going to get the great lighting shown in your samples as the line of flight is along runway 15/33 in the afternoon with the spectator area along the eastern side of the that runway. On the other hand the pros covering the QC Airshow don't get any better vantage point than the rest of us.
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 11:54 AM   #4
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Actually AC, the pilot in 2 of your photos is UNDEREXPOSED which was my point. Having a frozen prop just looks odd - and yours are too close to frozen. I do agree at certain angles that is irrelevant.

As for the 'great ligthing' - that's an excuse. Exposing for the rider/plane would have blown the sky out more in your photos but the principle is still the same - expose for the important aspects of the photo - not the background.

My advice though? If you can't accept criticism you shouldn't post in a public sports forum.
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 12:04 PM   #5
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Let me also add in regards to exposure: according to the EXIF, you used program mode with no exposure compensation whatsoever. As is often the case with a sky like that, the camera exposes to protect highlights in the sky - leaving your subject underexposed (and leaving the prop too frozen). It's one thing to claim you made creative choices when you actually made some decisions - but you left all the work up to the camera, and as with most any camera in difficult lighting, the camera got the settings wrong. So, even if you choose to freeze the prop, you should at least work on exposure compensation to get better exposures.
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 12:44 PM   #6
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Thanks for your comments. I wanted a good yellow and blue but that might have been better as well with more exposure. I didn't miss getting pilot pictures entirely as this Harrier in vertical flight shows.

A. C.
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 12:57 PM   #7
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AC,

Great closeup of the Harrier. But, you've got the same exposure problem here. You're close enough to capture all that great detail but all the detail on the plane is in deep shadow. You could try to recover it in post processing. But the great thing about a close-up of these wonderful machines is seeing the detail:
(sorry, don't have a harrier):


Exposure can be very tricky at airshows - especially because of the different colors of the planes in question. It's important to view results during the performance and make adjustments on the fly. The jets are usually a bit trickieir because the patterns they fly are in all directions - usually the props stick to passes on the flight line so the angle to the sun doesn't vary greatly. Keep at it, and keep seeking feedback and every show you shoot, you'll get better results.
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 1:30 PM   #8
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Love this site alway's learning !!!
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 3:03 PM   #9
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John:

Your very right about more shadow detail being available with PP. That's a very nice F18 too, thanks.
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