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Bourne Sep 6, 2008 3:13 PM

I've been using a P/S at this airshow since 2005. Got a DSLR back in June, this was my first real attempt at shooting fast moving objects. These are shot with a Canon 40d with a 70-300mm lens.













JohnG Sep 7, 2008 7:47 AM

Glad to see you decided to post some photos! For a fist time I think you did well.

I'll take a bit of time to comment on each:

1. Ok every one but this one - I just think the jet truck thing is silly

2. The planes themselves are just too far away - the trail could make for a nice shot but too much of it is cut out of the frame - making the planes the only real subject and they're just too small in the frame.

3. Plane is just too small in the frame. Reality is it was too far away. That's a frustrating thing about any type of action shooting - ignoring the action that's too far away to capture. Your subject (whether a plane or the trails) should dominate the frame not take up about 15% of it. So resist the urge to shoot subjects too far away. Be patient.

4. Over-exposure is the biggest issue here. Also 1/500 is too slow - try to get above 1/1000.

5. Over-exposure again - and framing. It looks a bit akward pushed against the bottom of the frame here with all the dead space on top.

6. Again, overexposed. That overexposure keeps the colors from popping. I like the timing of the shot with just one wheel down. But the pan is a bit off so there is some blur. Don't feel bad though - panning isn't easy - it takes practice. I don't do it enough so a LOT of my pans from the show were tossed out.

7. Sharpest image so far. Nice capture. The only problem is the framing - the plane is pushed up into the right corner of the frame. Don't misunderstand - you're not going to get framing perfect in-camera. But that's what post processing is for. A different crop and this would be a strong image.

8. Again, too far away. Also, since there's a prop plane involved, use the slower shutter speed so you don't freeze the prop.

9. I like the image. Composition is good. Unfortunately the sharpness isn't there - it's a tough shot to get. That's going to be tough on the focus system, but it also looks like this might have been a heavy crop.

10. I like the subject, but again the framing is an issue - it's all pushed down into the bottm right corner with too much dead space in the rest of the frame.

11. Probably the best shot of the bunch. I like the symetry and you've got very nice framing here. The result is a good shot!!

12. Doesn't work as well as 11 because the subject fills up too little of the frame. This is a tough shot to pull off because the planes were so far away. To get this shot you needed more reach and taking the shot earlier in the break to fit all the planes in the frame.

So, to summarize:

1. Be patient. Wait until your subject is closer - filling at least 1/3 to 1/2 the frame. If you want isolation shots on the planes then you want them filling 1/2 to 2/3 of the frame.

2. Watch your framing - again you won't get it perfect in-camera. But fix it in post processing.

And don't get discouraged by my comments. People have a misconception that shooting action is easy - it isn't. It takes practice. You're not going to go out your first time and nail the shots. But if you're interested in action shots the best advice I can give is keep practicing and keep seeking feedback from other action shooters. Resist the urge to only post in forums where everyone congratulates each other - you won't learn anything there.

Thanks for posting and keep at it!

Bourne Sep 7, 2008 10:35 PM

Thanks for the comments John. I'm not discouraged. I'm the type of person that wants to know if I am doing something wrong so I can fix it. Overall I was pleased with my results.

First off, these are all original shots, no cropping or any post-production fixes have been applied to these. Cropping out alot of the extra space on these is something I plan to do.

The over exposure makes sense. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that to find hte perfect exposure. Not sure if I was doing something wrong or if it was just because it was so bright, but the histograms were pretty much a spike right in the middle.

Specifc reponses:
8. Not as closes as I would like, but I would think with some cropping this would be a decent shot.

9. Wasn't cropped, just the way it came out. That was hte "best" shot I got out of that pass. The shot I got 3 frames later was better, however, due to bad panning I cut off the wing of the right plane. Also had several other shots that would have been great but I cut off the nose or part of a wing.

12. They were approaching from the north. Any earlier shots were ever farther away, the next frame they scattered too much to fit all in the frame.

Bourne Sep 7, 2008 10:48 PM

Based on your input, I scanned through my shots again. Here are a few more that I think is what I should be looking for.

1. Some space to be cropped off in 1 and 2 but...

2. Still too fast on the shutter speed for prop blur. I blurred some earlier due to camera shake from going too slow, ended up going too much in the other direction. I think I got it right when "Fat Albert" flew.



JohnG Sep 8, 2008 11:04 AM

Framing is definitely better on these. 2 & 4 have the most potential. With some levels work and USM these could be good shots. 99% of shots can be improved with post processing - most, dramatically so. This is the reason why DSLRs do not apply heavy-handed processing. It's assumed the photographer will do it in PP.

In general, try to get planes coming towards rather than away from you. The only real exception is if there's something interesting about the back (afterburners). And while the formation shot of the angels works OK, typically the shot of the underside of an aircraft is kind of boring - especially just flying overhead like #3.

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