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Old Aug 2, 2009, 6:40 PM   #1
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Default Seafair, Blue Angels and Hydroplanes.

Hi all. I have had a Panasonic DMC-FZ28 for only six days, and yesterday was my first major photo spree since purchase. The atmospheric conditions were absolutely terrible for high-zoom airplane pictures. In the second picture, you can just make out Mount Rainier, that's how hazy it was. Nevertheless, I am pretty impressed with the FZ28. Here are a few samples. I'll put together a photo gallery on my own web site at some point in the future. None of these have been edited other than cropping and resizing.
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 7:45 AM   #2
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Hi Aaron,

Glad you're enjoying the new camera! Welcome to the sports forum!
Some observations about your photos (hope you don't mind but in the sports forum comments and critique are encouraged). Don't in any way get discouraged by my comments. I post them to help you learn and get better. Keep having fun and keep taking lots of photos.

First photo - when shooting prop planes, you want to use a slower shutter speed (1/320 or less) so the prop shows some blur. It looks a bit unnatural for prop blades to be frozen.


shot 2: just too far away. With the haze, the landscape doesn't add much - so use more zoom or wait for a closer pass.

shot 3: a bit underexposed - you could fix this a bit in post processing (one of the biggest "secrets" to photography is post processing can improve about 90% of your photos). A bit loosely framed

shot 4: nice tight framing. I would suggest trying some unsharp mask (sharpening tool in many photo editing packages) to see if you could sharpen it up a bit.

shot 5: the football is a big distraction - I would suggest either cropping tighter or cloning out the football. In general though the boat and tail are filling up too small a portion of the frame. A big part of action photography is filling the frame with the action. The other boats, background, football are all distracting elements that draw the viewer's attention away from your subject.

Good luck and enjoy your new toy!
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 2:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
Hi Aaron,

Glad you're enjoying the new camera! Welcome to the sports forum!
Some observations about your photos (hope you don't mind but in the sports forum comments and critique are encouraged). Don't in any way get discouraged by my comments. I post them to help you learn and get better. Keep having fun and keep taking lots of photos.
No problem, thanks for the comments and reply!

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First photo - when shooting prop planes, you want to use a slower shutter speed (1/320 or less) so the prop shows some blur. It looks a bit unnatural for prop blades to be frozen.
Yes, I am/was aware of this. Unfortunately, the half dozen or so pictures I took of this plane using a slower shutter speed, 1/250, came out significantly blurred - not just the props, the whole plane. I haven't had this issue before with other cameras, none of which had the image stabilization of the FZ28, so I really don't know what happened.

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shot 2: just too far away. With the haze, the landscape doesn't add much - so use more zoom or wait for a closer pass.
I agree, this is not a good shot of the planes or the landscape. My only goal in posting it was to show the amount of haze in the air by the outline of Mount Rainier in the distance. I believe this was at maximum zoom, also. To anyone who hasn't been in the Seattle area in the summer, indeed, it's not going to mean a whole lot.

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shot 3: a bit underexposed - you could fix this a bit in post processing (one of the biggest "secrets" to photography is post processing can improve about 90% of your photos). A bit loosely framed
I agree, and I played with the exposure a bit in Paint Shop. However, I prefered this look to brightening the whole image. I don't tend to do very much post processing at all. I take so many pictures that I just do not have the time to treat every image individually most of the time.

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shot 4: nice tight framing. I would suggest trying some unsharp mask (sharpening tool in many photo editing packages) to see if you could sharpen it up a bit.
I haven't used that particular tool yet, I'll give it a try, thanks!

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Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
shot 5: the football is a big distraction - I would suggest either cropping tighter or cloning out the football. In general though the boat and tail are filling up too small a portion of the frame. A big part of action photography is filling the frame with the action. The other boats, background, football are all distracting elements that draw the viewer's attention away from your subject.
Where's the fun in that? If I wanted just a great picture of a hydroplane, I have dozens of other ones, from this year and 2006. I love shots where's there's something odd that really isn't expected and shouldn't be there (and couldn't be captured again if you tried). Also, I strongly disagree with your opinion that the other boats and background are distracting elements and that you need to fill the frame with action. I feel just the opposite, that all the other elements besides the subject only add to the overall impact, and give the viewer a much greater feel for the complete event. Just a tight shot of an airplane or boat, with nothing else in the frame, gives you no idea what it was like to actually be there. After all, most people eyes don't see in 18X zoom. While I can see your point that it's nice to get really close at times (like in shot #4), that's not what I typically go for.

Cheers!
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 2:25 PM   #4
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Aaron,

Certainly different takes on photography are necessary - there are no hard and fast rules. Having said that though, this is a sport and action forum not a landscape forum. So while shots of multiple boats sitting in the water can indeed be nice shots they don't tend to lend themselves to the genre of sports/action. So, an aspect of photography worth considering is 'knowing your audience'. For example, the types of sports photos I sell to parents tend to be different than the types of photos I sell to newspapers - they are expecting different things.

So, within the context of sports and action, I would say the other elements in that final frame are indeed distracting. Again, look at it in the context of you're paging through Sports Illustrated or the sports section of the newspaper - you're unlikely to see those elements in a photo featured in a forum dedicated to action. You might very well see a wider shot in the context of an add for a vacation spot (although even in that case, you would want to take the shot under better conditions with less haze so when you do include those background elements they look good).

In general for airshows - a viewer generally is going to want to see more action / detail and is less concerned about the fact the airshow is taking place in front of cranes and office buildings. There are times when the background can be spectacular but often it's not the case. Having more detail in an action shot usually makes that shot more impactful:



As to post processing - again you have to decide whether you want snapshots or photographs. For example you could SELECTIVELY lighten the photo - just the planes and leave the sky alone. Photography is not a point and shoot thing. It's always best to get the exposure correct in camera but that can be difficult. Lack of time is, IMO a poor excuse if you want good results. I can end up keeping 200 photos from a game I shoot and everyone of them gets post processed. Again, it comes down to whether you're happy with a snapshot or want a photograph. I've seen maybe 1 or 2 photographers on this forum that get exceptional results strait from the camera. Most of us don't fall into that category. So if you continue to use lack of time as an excuse for not post processing you'll continue to get average results. Either that or you need to be more thoughtful about your settingss BEFORE you take the shot.

Just some things to think about.
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Old Aug 3, 2009, 2:45 PM   #5
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Unfortunately, the half dozen or so pictures I took of this plane using a slower shutter speed, 1/250, came out significantly blurred - not just the props, the whole plane. I haven't had this issue before with other cameras, none of which had the image stabilization of the FZ28, so I really don't know what happened.
Sorry, I forgot to address this. Part of the challenge is proper panning technique. Image stabilization won't help if your pan doesn't precisely match the speed of the subject. So that takes practice. Additionally, proper hand-holding technique is still important with IS. In some ways it's more difficult with such a small camera with a long equivelent focal length - a heavier camera can in fact be easier to keep steady. So, if panning shots are something you're interested in then keep practicing. You can practice using cars on the road / highway. I'm not that great at it - especially not compared to those who do a lot of panning work. Like any other skill it requires practice to do well at.
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