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Old Sep 11, 2010, 8:16 PM   #1
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Default Local Air Show

I have a much greater respect for Greg Chappell's air show and other action shots now. As I remember Greg shot a lot of his air show shots with the 2X converter attached. I tried that but couldn't get razor sharp shots even at high ISOs and shutter speeds; too old and shaky I guess. Hand holding the 50-250 and panning in on fast moving aircraft is tough. I carried a mono-pod along but found it did allow enough flexibility for me to get the shots I wanted. I shot about 500 frames but only got a few keepers. Anyway it was good practice.

More images here: http://turbines.smugmug.com/Portfoli...03715362_UFvLZ
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Old Sep 11, 2010, 11:37 PM   #2
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I was never more sore than after the day I shot at that air show! Holding your arms out and you head up for that long is not easy. I like the way you managed the props better than I did. Most of my images the piston-driven planes looked like they were about to fall from the sky.
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Old Sep 11, 2010, 11:48 PM   #3
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I will probably have a sore neck in the morning. If you have any tips on hand holding that lens with the EC2 attached I could sure use some help. The light was changing a lot and I ended up joggling the ISOs quite a bit.
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 2:05 AM   #4
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It sounds like a lot of the things I do, you did. I need to go back and look, but I believe I shot the air shots at ISO 400 to keep the shutter speeds up, which also is what caused the props to be frozen more often than not.

I just try to make myself as compact and solid as I can when I add the EC20, keeping my elbows in as close to my body as possible. Using higher shutter speeds I also find it better to turn image stabilization off.
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 3:40 AM   #5
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Nice sharp shots.

Perhaps a tripod with a ball head would be of benefit to take some of the load off? I would imagine aircraft would be relatively predictable in terms of their flight patterns etc.
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 7:14 AM   #6
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Those are pretty cool and your making me regret having missed the two airshows at Duxford this year! Are those Thunderblts with the DD markings on the nose ?
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 9:04 AM   #7
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Greg,

Reviewing the data I see that even 1/400 provides slight propeller blur. Ideally it would be 1/125 but with a telephoto 1/250 is probably the minimum usable. That would never cut it with the 2X attached. Next time I think I will try the shutter priority mode since the DOF needed for these is pretty narrow. I am thinking on a clear day maybe ISO 320 and then switching between 1/250 for props and 1/1000 for jets. I probably should also give the 1.4X a try since with the 2X I seldom found myself using the max focal length.


Pixelated,

A monopod or tripod with ball head or Jobu Jr would work fine for the low altitude flybys. I initially tried a monopod but quickly abandoned that because I couldn't reposition and recompose quickly enough. The aerobatic routines are performed at higher altitude and requires pointing the camera nearly straight up at times.


Harg,

Those were likely North American AT-6 (Army) or SNJ-4 (Navy) used as advanced trainers during WWII. I was disappointed there were no T-bolts, Corsairs, Mustangs and Spits. It was a low budget event that was dominated by DC-3s, C-47s, AT-6s and Harriers. I like the old stuff and don't get too excited about any of the jets.
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 12:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbines View Post
It was a low budget event that was dominated by DC-3s, C-47s, AT-6s and Harriers. I like the old stuff and don't get too excited about any of the jets.
Paul, this cracked me up. Although I do know what you meant, I have rarely heard anyone describe a Harrier as low budget.

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Old Sep 12, 2010, 4:29 PM   #9
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Actually good shots for a dull looking day. I like that guy coming in over the trees, nicely done.
I remember the old DC3's and C47's. Even jumped out of a perfectly good one at one time...for an air show.
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Old Sep 12, 2010, 6:06 PM   #10
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Hi Paul: As a frequent airshow veteran I enjoyed your photos. With some more practice, you number of keepers will go way up. As you've already discovered, a high shutter speed and propeller planes don't usually mix. Save the high shutter speed for the jets. This is more difficult when you are using the high power glass as you may run into camera shake.

It's not always necessary to have the biggest glass for your best shots. When you attend airshows more frequently, you will learn that the maneuvers are like dance steps, the planes go thru several routines which are repeated no matter which show or which aircraft. Most of those routines will bring the planes back over center line, that is where you want to concentrate your action photos. So try to get a good spot to stand with a clear view of the centerline at midfield, and you will be in a great position to take your shots.

Enjoy the show and just bring your cameras up to your eye about 5-10 secs before the plane will arrive at the center point. That should give you time to acquire and lock focus before the shot. It will be much easier on your neck and shoulder muscles if you are not holding the camera up to your eye all day. Tripods are more of a hindrance than a help at an airshow. But I've noticed that when the pros use tripods for their really long lens, they tend to keep it aimed in the same general spot most of the times. Again, when you understand the basic maneuvers, you know in advance at which spot the plane will fly over and where you want to catch the shot.

And don't forget the wide angle lens, as many of your best shots will be of the static displays. I hope you go again to more airshows. Go online and research when and where the airshows will be in your area in the coming months. You should be able to find several that will be within a reasonable driving distance.






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