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Old Jul 26, 2006, 12:36 PM   #1
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I just got a Nikon D50 to replace my Nikon N65. It came with a Quantaray 28-90mm lens and a 100-300mm lens. I'm looking for advice on shooting from airplanes with a digital (I used to get a lot of blurry pics with my N65). A friend of mine said I should use really fast shutter speeds since I'm doing over 100mph even though it doesn't look like it to me. I've also been told that I should be using a polarizing filter. Please keep in mind that I am a photography nOOb. It's only because of my love of flying that I discovered how much fun photography is. I have a lot to learn...

Thanks!
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Old Jul 26, 2006, 3:24 PM   #2
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I wouldn't use a polarizer. It cuts your light too much and you want plenty of shutter speed - especially with zoom. Not for the speed of the airplane but for vibrations. Stabization doesn't help for vibrations BTW.

You might want to get a haze filter if you don't plan on post-processing with a good image editor.

Do not let the camera touch the window or any other aircraft part. Your body is the best isolation for the vibrations.

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Old Jul 26, 2006, 8:00 PM   #3
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How much money are you willing to burn?

http://www.ken-lab.com/index.html
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 9:33 AM   #4
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Photographing out of an airplane is not that dificult. I just open up my lens at aperture prefered and let the camera set the shutter speed. I usualy use ISO 400. I do use a HAZE filter because there is always a little haze between the airplane or copter and the ground. You may want to keep a look on your shutter speed and adjust the ISO to maintain it properly.

When I shoot out of an airplane or helicopter I always have the door removed. If that is not possible for you be sure that your arms do not touch anything on the plane while shooting the picture.

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Old Aug 4, 2006, 2:47 AM   #5
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Hey Aaron2874, you have a bogey at 11 o'clock.
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Old Aug 4, 2006, 12:55 PM   #6
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That's not a bogey, that's Bob! He's not from around here. We were flying in formation up to Brenham for a burger and ice cream. I'll tell him you said "hi".
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Old Aug 7, 2006, 4:54 AM   #7
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aaron,

I've taken hundreds of shots from commercial jet planes at heights from several feet all the way to 35,000 feet. The biggest variable between succes and failure is the amount of dirt on the window. In your case that doesn't appear to be an issue.

I generally try to set the shutter speed to the fastest the lighting will allow. Generally, sunlit shots are the easiest and frankly I've taken some landscapes with auto settings and they aren't bad.

Clouds, sunsets/sunrises are the most challengeing. In these situations it pays to take many shots with various settings. Use bracketing if available.

Like others have noted, I've not seen significant improvements with polarizers. Yes, you see a bit less reflections but, the loss of light and vignetting makes the benefit a toss-up. I generally find not touching the lens to the glass a must. Using your hand to buffer the camera against the window helps a lot. It obviously helps to keep the lens as close as possible to the window. Again, you may not have to worry about that.

Nighttime shooting is not easy and will take lot's of practice to overcome the slow shutter speeds. Although the D50 when set at high ISOs will help considerably without too much noise in the resulting shots. This something I couldn't do with the A200.

If you're inetrested look at my web site for pics taken thru the windows of lots of different planes. And yes, you will need a good editor to minimize the bluish tint If you don't use a haze filter.

http://www.pbase.com/selvin/35000feet_up

Aloha






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Old Aug 25, 2006, 6:36 AM   #8
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I just did another flight a couple of days ago and experimented with your advice. I could feel a lot of vibration through my hand on the door frame so instead I used my short monopod on my thigh to steady my camera and help dampen vibration. This, coupled with higher shutter speed really seems to have done the trick. I did still get some blurs but that is going to happen in small planes since they bump around so much.

I enjoyed the photos on your website. Very nice indeed. Once I really learn how to operate a camera, I look forward to taking nice pics like yours. I never fly without my camera because you never know what you are going to see.
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Old Aug 25, 2006, 10:34 AM   #9
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Aaron2874 said,

''I never fly without my camera because you never know what you are going to see.''
Then keep it with you at all times; you get the drift. :idea:

On your shutter speed keep it high as possible and as already noted don't lean against the aircraft.If you shoot into the sun you're on your own. I don't think anyone here will be able to help you on that one.

The times I did shoot it was always very sunny with the sun overheadso I had no problem maintaining an exposure on manualat 250 and in some cases 500 within a 180┬░arc.Of course I'm referring to my old manual film camera whichI always usedISO 100 forless grain in the pictures. But you have one of those digital jobbies and you can darn near work miracles with them I hear. That's why I'll be joining you guys real soon. (And you may have to ignore my talk about myold manual camera too.) :roll::-)

I used to go along with my buddy from work years ago to fly around a bit. I never learned to flybecause about that time I had a daughter to educatein 1992 so that bummed me out. He let me ''fishtail'' it of couple of times on the way to Kelley's Island on Lake Erie.

Is that a cessna 172 you're in?

Oh, tell ''Bob'' I said hi and for him to stand still every now and then to pose for that new Nikon D50.


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Old Aug 28, 2006, 1:00 PM   #10
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Actually, I'm flying this here Piper Warrior. I don't particularly care for this plane due to the poor ventilation, but as long as I'm flying something.... I'm happy.

Also, I ditched the polarizer and put on a UV haze filter. I also bought Photo Shop Elements 4.0 for various touch ups and such. Between my new camera, good advice here, and some fancy software, my pix make me look like I know what I'm doing! HA! This is an old pic with an N65 BTW so it's not so nice...
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