Airshow / Aviation photography tutorial - share your tips!

Share your tips or ask questions about action, sports or aviation photography here

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Postby Clactonian » Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:09 am

How nice to see an old 'friend' dubaiphil. :)
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Postby Aaron Rodriguez » Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:20 am

wow, Love this tutorial, im a pilot so im gonna practice this alot at the airport. Thanks so much Gordon.
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Postby janern » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:51 pm

Went planespotting at Oslo Airport Gardermoen on saturday

Icelandair B757-200 (through a fence):
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Korean Air Cargo B747-400F:
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My Travel A330-200:
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US Airways B757-200:
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Thai Airways A340-600:
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Norwegian B737-800:
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KLM B737-800 landing and SAS B737-700 holding short:
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TUIfly B737-800:
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Last edited by janern on Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Aaron Rodriguez » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:01 pm

Great shots janern!
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Postby janern » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:10 pm

Thanks, Aaron! :)
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Postby Brian Harmer » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:45 pm

Are these in the wrong thread ... nice shots but they don't seem to belong here in the sticky thread on "tips on airshow photography. "
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Postby janern » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:08 am

Happy shooting and show us your best aviation and airshow shots, along with what settings and techniques you used to capture them!


So it's the right thread :wink: But I guess I should say something about my settings and techniques then.

Well, I used my 50D and the 18-200mm IS. I programmed shutter priority with 1/100th in C2 on the mode dial and used this for propeller planes and for those pans where I wanted motion in the background (pics 7 and 8 ). I used Tv with 1/400th when I wanted to freeze the action. Then I could easily and effortlessly switch between these setting without having to turn the finger dial a lot every time.
I used evaluative metering with a bit of overexposure and continuous autofocus. ISO want left on Auto.
I switched between single shot and high speed continuous, but I mainly left it on the latter to have a good change to get some tire smoke (like in pic 9). The 50D's 6.3 fps was great to have!
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Postby Brian Harmer » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:03 pm

It's the right forum, but the wrong subject. The topic you chose is a sticky that asks you to share tips. If you had made an entry in the subject line it would have started a new thread within the aviation section.
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Postby Gordon Laing » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:49 pm

Hi Brian, I'm happy for any aviation shots to be in this thread so long as people share their tips and how they did it!
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Postby Joris Van den Berghe » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:03 am

I'll give some tips about the posted pictures.

First, get a lens with longer reach: 300mm, preferably 400 (for Canon that implies the 70-300 or the old 100-400, or a 300mm or 400mm prime). This way you can fill the frame more with aircraft rather than the scenery and sky around it. You're also working with a superzoom lens now and at the end of its zoom range, which isn't exactly recommended unless you really stop it down quite a bit (let's say to about f/8 or f/9). The sharpness is really significantly reduced when you zoom in to 200mm.

So the first step should be to get a dedicated telephoto lens in my opinion, be it either a prime or a zoom lens. The 'big three' all offer a pretty good (Canon's 70-300 IS USM, Nikon's AF-S 70-300 IF ED VR) to very good (Sony's 70-300G SSM) telephoto lens at relatively affordable prices (less then € 800). (Edit: in the meantime, Canon has also launched the relatively expensive 70-300L lens...I haven't seen any reviews yet though).

Top marks for trying to pan on the KLM, but it looks washed out to me...the colours (the blue, in particular) seem a bit off to me too.

The metering is also important. I suggest using spot metering or center-average...this will give you better exposed pictures. If you'd be using the metering for the whole frame, it also accounts for the rest (like the background).
Last edited by Joris Van den Berghe on Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby janern » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:32 am

I tried spot metering a bit, but I found it could hit a very bright part of the plane (a reflection) and underexpose the scene a whole lot. Didn't try center-average or partial though, so I'll try that next time.

As for the KLM, it might be a bit overexposed, and it's not completely sharp. I turned down the exposure 0.5 EV and tweaked the white balance in RAW and it may look a little better now.

I know the 18-200mm is not ideal for shooting planes. I've been considering a longer lens for a while, but I basically haven't found enough reasons to justify a purchase .. yet. Maybe I will now :wink:

Thanks for the input. Preeshaidit!
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Postby Roooby » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:08 am

Gentlemen, your shots are all quite exciting.

Thank you also for the tutorial; I'm reading it in part to apply relevant parts to other sports shooting as well.
:)
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Postby JD » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:40 pm

These are not very nice to look at but posed a serious challenge because of the hideous white sky background. For this reason you should always shoot airshows in RAW if you can. I don't have the EXIF data on my computer but it might still be embedded. The shutter speeds were likely to be quite high: 1/500th or higher but I'm sure I'd have kept a bit of leeway for depth of field. You want to give the lens and body as much help in focussing as you can. Had I shot these in JPEG, it's pretty doubtful they'd have worked at all. Closer inspection will reveal that, through no choice of my own, I was shooting into the sun. Manual exposure is the only way to go really and it often takes a few shots to figure out the best exposure. Had I used auto, most of these shots would not have worked at all. Anyone want to take a guess what the first one would have looked like? Taken at the 2009 Avalon Airshow:

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Postby rajasinghe » Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:26 am

Hello there.. Nice site and thread. I am also a die hard fan of Aviation photography. I use Canon 450D with a Canon 55-250mm lens. but my images seem more off. I do not know what I am doing wrong. Pls I need your guys advice.. Thanks

I have attached an image so guess you guys can see what's missing..

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but the SV 777 is so different from the other pictures

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I do not know how come the SV and the other pictures looks differnet in image quality. need your help in this.

Thanks once again
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Postby rajasinghe » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:28 am

Guys this shot I took today morning

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