A Beginners Guide to Aviation Photography: Part two

Types of Aerial events and locations

Troll disclaimer. This is not the only way to photography aircraft and aviation events. This is information that I have learned and what works well for me. My tips and tricks may not work well for you. My goal is to share what I have learned with others.

Knowledge without application is meaningless. –Thomas Edison

Hopefully you have read part one of this series and have some idea of what you want to shoot and maybe started to form your own opinion of Aviation photography. If not, go and hit up this, Part one: Some thoughts on Aviation Photography.  This series is for those photographers whose passion for aviation is just as strong as his or her love for photography. Creating unique and lasting images of aviation subjects that are more than just snap shots. If that is not what you are looking to do, then click away.

If you are still with me, Part two is to help shed some light on what types aviation events and locations there are to choose from. I’m going to try and do my best with a breakdown of the types of show and events. Here’s what I came up with the following: Airshows, Fly-ins, Air races, Spotting, Aviation museums, Bone yards and Base visit/Exercises. Note I did not include air-to-air photography. Most likely someone beginning in Aviation photography will not get a chance to do air-to air. Nor am I saying that these are the only events and locations to photography aircraft, just a good base to start with.

Just a heads up, this is going to be a lengthy post because of amount of information. I recommend you click on, read the various links within this post along with doing some research on your own. There is more information out there than what is here. And again, this is not set in stone, the events and locations that I list are not the only places to see and shoot aviation subjects. My hope is that this can help you find locations where you can capture your images.

Airshows

 The most common and frequent events are Airshows. Airshows are held in various locations. On military bases, at beaches and at local airports. Not all airshows are the same. I like to break them down to Traditional, Military open houses, Warbirds, Beach, Helicopter and larger International Airshows. Each has something different to offer. Let’s start with the traditional airshow.

 The traditional airshow will be most common event to attend. It’s the run of the mill show with a mix bag of civilian performers and military demos. These shows are great for those who are just “getting their feet wet” so to speak. With many different opportunities to help you figure out what you enjoy shooting.

Here’s a few good starter airshows

Cleveland National Airshow                          Burke Lakefront Airport                                 Labor Day weekend

Wings over Houston                                        Ellington Airport                                                Late October

Vectren Dayton Air Show                              Dayton International Airport                        Late June

London Airshow                                                London International Airport                       Early September

 

Military Open house shows like NAS Oceana in VA Beach, VA and Nellis AFB Aviation Nation in Las Vega, NV, are superb opportunities to see many types of military hardware. Open house show is very common in the US and Canada. Most of the larger Air Force, Navy as well as Marine airbases has some type of Open house event.  Some are annually, and others are bi-annually. In the US, they are free to the public. It’s a good chance to see other units and squadrons other than the demo teams take to the skies. Open house show has a higher number of military demos than civilian performer and most likely have a jet team like the USAF Thunderbirds, USN Blue Angels or RCAF Snowbirds as the headliner.

Here’s a few well liked Open house shows

MCAS Yuma Air Show                                     MCAS Yuma, AZ                 March

Andrews Air Show & Open House              Andrews AFB, MD,              Sept

NAS Oceana Airshow                                      NAS Oceana, VA                  Sept

MCAS Miramar Air Show                               MCAS Miramar, CA            Sept

NAS JAX Air Show                                             NAS Jacksonville, FL         Nov

Nellis AFB Aviation Nation                             Nellis AFB, NV                     Nov

Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show           NAS Pensacola, FL               Nov

 

Warbirds shows like Planes of Fame out at Chino, CA and WWII Weekend at Reading, PA focus on WWII aircraft of all types, from the P-51 Mustang to the B-17 Flying Fortress. You are likely to see reenacted, warbird aerobatics, along with some formation flying. Most are organized and or hosted by museums like the Military Aviation Museum in VA, Beach, VA and Warbird Heritage Foundation in Waukegan, IL. Military Demo sometime perform at a warbird shows but not all the time.

Here’s a few of the more popular Warbird shows

Planes of Fames                                               Chino, CA                                          May      

Mid-Atlantic World War II Weekend           Reading, PA                                      June

Duxford Flying Legends                                 Duxford, UK                                     July

Shuttleworth Military Pageant                     Bedfordshire, UK                             July

Thunder Over Michigan                                 Ypsilanti, MI                                     Aug or Sept

 

Beach Airshow are just like traditional airshows, but the flying and performing it’s at a beach and not at an airport. Beach shows has its pluses and minuses. Let start with the good, a very good possibility for vapor. Water evaporating for a body of water into the air equals humidity. Also, your background most likely will be uncluttered. The horizon and sky make for a simple and clean background along with shows a sense of location. Shows at the beach are great show to bring the family along. The sand, the surf and the sun is a great entertainer for those who are bored with the flying and the noise.

For me, the biggest negative of a beach show is the location of the airshow box. The air space where aircraft are permitted to perform during a show or aerial event is called the airshow box. The show line, a visual reference line to aid pilots with orientation during the performance, runs down the center of the airshow box. 1,500 ft from the show line is the crowd line/spectator area. At most aerial events, one of the active runways is the show line. Most likely the show line at a beach show will be marked with a ship of some sort, large and very noticeable. 9 times out of 10, the water 1,500 ft from the shore is not deep enough for a ship. Remember, it must big enough for pilots to easily spot. With the show line so far from shore, more focal length is needed to obtain a larger view of your subjects.  To get closer, one could shoot from a pier or even a boat anchored close to the airshow box.

Here’s a few major beach shows around the US.

Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach           Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh, NY                 May

Miami Beach Air & Sea Show                     South Beach, Miami Beach, FL                               May

Milwaukee Air & Water Show                    Bradford Beach, Lakefront, Milwaukee, WI      July

Chicago Air & Water Show                          Lake Michigan Lakefront, Chicago, IL                 Aug

 

Helicopter shows are not as numerous as the other types. But helicopters are powerful and diverse aircraft that are very photo friendly. Helicopters present the same shooting challenge as shooting a prop aircraft. Shooting slow enough to blur the main rotor and still maintain a sharp image of the subject. There is a wide range of different types that could attend. From air ambulance, aerial cranes, firefighting, law enforcement, media/news, search & rescue, military to personal craft. I searched the web for countless hours and only came up with three heli shows and one of them is in hiatus. And have no idea if Rotors and Ribs will ever be repeated. If you get a chance to go to a helicopter only show, defiantly go and photo it up.

American Heroes Air Show          Lakeview Terrace, CA                     November

RotorFest                                        West Chester, PA                                 hiatus due to budgetary constraints

Rotors & Ribs                                  Goshen, ID                                             ???

 

International airshows are where you’re going see a bunch of new toys from many different countries from around the world. These are larger multi day shows that show typically attracts over 150,000 spectators over a weekend. Some of these shows cater photographers with early morning photo tours, arrive and departure day as well as photo pits. These features are not free so be prepared to spend some coin.

Royal International Air Tattoo                  RAF Fairford, England                July

MAKS                                                              hukovsky Airport                        Biennial

Avalon Airshow                                            Avalon Airport                             March

Abbotsford International Airshow           Abbotsford, Canada                    August

Aero India                                                      Bengaluru, India                         February (Biennial)

 

To find shows near you, check out this site http://www.milavia.net/airshows/

 

You can search airshows by location, US and Canada, Europe and rest of the World. Has links to shows websites and lists aircraft that are scheduled to attend. One feature I really like is the Google Map link of the airport, so you can get an idea of the runway orientation along with where the tarmac is. Knowing where the tarmac is will you good indicator of how and where the show will be laid out. It’s not a sure thing but what also helps is an airshow map. On some (not all) airshow websites, organizers will have a map showing the layout of the show. Where the active runway, crowd line, static display, tents, bleacher etc… From this you can start to think about possible shooting locations, for takeoff and landing along with during flying. Also start to think about the path of the sun during the day. On Earth (I know some of you are from another planet LOL), the sun rises in the east and set west. What direction is the crowd line facing and how does it relate to the path of the sun? Are you facing the sun or is it at your back? Will the sun cross over the runway? Is their better light in the morning or in the afternoon? These are some of the questions you need to think about whatever airshow or aviation event that you are planning to attend.

 

Fly-ins

 A fly-in is a pre-arranged gathering of aircraft, pilots and passengers for recreational and social purposes, define by Wikipedia. Offer a up close and personal view of owners and their aircraft. Yes, I have Oshkosh under fly-in’s, it technically is. The fly-in’s that I have attended were laid back and casual. In the morning aircraft start showing up and parking. Pilots, family and friends welcome one another. There may be a late breakfast or lunch. Some might have seminars or not. Not all fly-ins are the same. But don’t expect any aerobatic, demos and or photo passes. It is not that kind of event. It’s local pilots meeting up, hanging out and talking shop. And at the end of the day, everybody says their good byes, do their pre-flight checks, take off and head back home. The Larger fly-in like Fun & Sun and Oshkosh does have daily airshow. Like airshows, fly-ins are always one going on. Fairly easy to find, you can google “fly-ins (your city or state)”. You’ll be surprised how many will pop up. I came across that site that I like, http://www.flyins.com/Has an easy to use search function.  Can search by airport code, zip code, state and time frame. There is a calendar as well.

Sun ‘n Fun                                        Lakeland, Florida                            Spring

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh               Oshkosh, Wisconsin                      July

 

 Spotting

I know there are some photographers look down on spotter and spotting. I’m not one of them. Shot what YOU love! If your new to aviation photography, spotting offer a great opportunity for you to try new techniques as well as it’s great to try out new gear in a predicable environment. My definition of spotting is simple, hanging out at an airport of some sort and photographing what’s going on. If it’s taking off, landing or flying by a known area. It’s not just airliners taking off and landing. You can spot around military bases, locate municipal airports, heliports and known low level training routes use by various nations. But there are a few things you need to be aware of. Especially around any military bases. There are a bunch of unwritten rules on spotting. There are a bunch of good site out there with a shit ton valuable info to help you spot safely and hassle free. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to research the location as well as the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of spotting.

Good source of spotting info

http://openspotting.net/

Plane Spotting Etiquette

https://www.thebalance.com/plane-spotting-etiquette-do-s-and-don-ts-for-beginners-282641

As well as know you rights as a photographer

https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/photographers-what-do-if-you-are-stopped-or-detained-taking-photographs?redirect=free-speech/know-your-rights-photographers

Do your own research as well, the more you know, the better off you will be. Google is your smart friend, use it! Along with your cell phone. It is a powerful little tool that can help you while spotting or any other type of aviation events. There are a few helpful apps you can use while out shooting. One would by some type of weather radar app, so you see if any bad weather is move your way. I like and use NOAA Weather Radar – Weather Forecast & HD Radar by Apalon Apps. The app is free and has a paid Pro version with no ads. The ads on the free versions are just banners at the bottom of the app.

iTunes store

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/noaa-weather-radar-weather-forecast-hd-radar/id749133753?mt=8

And over on Google play

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apalon.weatherradar.free&hl=en

Other types of apps that is useful while spotting airliners is a flight tracker app and an app to listen to Air Traffic Control.  For flight tracking, the apps that comes to mind is FlightAware and Flightradar24. Both track flight in real time, over 10,000 aircraft. Bunch of cool and useful features. Below are links to each.

FlightAware app

http://flightaware.com/mobile/

Flightradar24

https://www.flightradar24.com

Listening to air traffic control(ATC) is a very useful while spotting aircraft. You can find out what runways are being use for arrives and which are used for departures. There is an app, but it is not free. You can also use a scanner to listen to ATC.

https://www.liveatc.net/

Here are a few well know spotting locations

Nellis AFB Red Flag                                    Las Vega, NV                           http://www.nellis.af.mil/Home/Flying-Operations/
Mach Loop                                                    Wales, UK                               https://machloop.co.uk/
Rainbow Canyon                                        Death Valley, CA                     http://www.rkellenaers-photography.nl/RainbowCanyon
St Maarten Princess Juliana (SXM)      Saint Barthélemy                    Look Here!!!

More spotting location here, http://www.spotterguide.net/

 

Aviation Museums

I feel there are two types of Aviation museums, non-flying types like the National Museum of US Air Force and the flying type like Military Aviation Museum. I prefer the flying museums due to there are more possibilities for getting a unique shot. Yes, there are a ton of historic aircraft in non-flying museums but remember this, those aircraft are in fixed positions and will most likely be never moved again. Meaning if you see a great image, most likely someone else will too and repeat what you shot or vice versa. I am not saying don’t go to them. Go and enjoy them. But with the mindset of creating images, flying museums are constantly moving their aircraft around and there is a lesser chance of aircraft parked in the same location from day to day.  Most flying museums have an annual airshow featuring their collection along other visiting aircraft from other museums. Some also post on their website their fly dates along with which airshows their aircraft are planning on attending. Museums are always looking for volunteers. Some even have applications on their website. You can offer your photographic services to a local museum. Photograph their day to day operations, restoration projects along with museum events.

 

Air Races

The history of air racing dates to May 23, 1909 in Paris, France; where the Prix de Lagatinerie was held. Four aviators entered, of those two started and either of them finished. And pilots had been racing aircraft ever since. At its height, there were numerous events in North America and Europe but now it has dwindled to two races. The most popular being Reno Air Races held annually in Reno, Nevada and the other is the Red Bull Air Races series, held in various locations around the world. I consider the Red Bull Races more aerobic than racing but still entertaining in its own way. The two are very different from one another. Red Bull fly’s modern custom made high performance aerobatic aircraft like the Edge 540. And at Reno, pilots fly highly modified WWII aircraft like Voodoo, a modified P-51 Mustang. The Red Bull series has two classes and about 8-10 races around the world. As at Reno, there are six racing classes, with three trophy classes in each category, Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

Reno Air Races                                   Reno, Nevada                                                   September

Red Bull Air Races series                location varies                                                   Feb-Nov

 

Aircraft Boneyards

Boneyards are where retired aircraft go for long term storage, to be parted out and or recycled into scrap metal. One of the most well know is 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group or AMARG at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. AMARG is the largest aircraft storage facility in the world with over 4,400 aircraft in its care. Because AMARG is a controlled-access site, it is off-limits to anyone not working there or without the proper clearance. The Pima Air & Space Museum does have a bus tour for the public. AMARG maybe the largest and most famous boneyard but it not the only one. There are others, like Southern California Logistics Airport and Mojave airport, both in California. There is Alice Springs Airport in the Northern Territory of Australia. To find more aircraft boneyards, check out this site below. It has list and maps of boneyards all over the world.

http://www.airplaneboneyards.com/index.htm

One should observe the same rules as spotting when one is in or around an aircraft boneyard. Remember, it’s much better to ask permission then to beg for forgiven with the Cops!

 

Base visit/Exercises

Base visits and exercises are unique opportunities to see the day to day operations of a military unit. From maintenance of aircraft to flying training sorties. Most are organized through public affairs with some legitimate reason for the visit, like writing an article on a unit or squadron for a major publication. That mean having a letter from the editor of the publication stating your intent. And then having Command OK the visit. After that, you or your group must clear a background check before setting foot on the base. If you think you’re going contact the public affairs officer of your favorite squadrons and they’re just going to let you have access to shoot their aircraft, your gravelly mistaken. Base visits are planned months in advance through the proper channels. If you’re fortunate enough to take part in a base visit or exercise, be sure to follow all the rules that your given. You do not want to ruin your group or future groups.

There is Ian Allan Aviation Tours that offers some fantastic tours all over the world, but they are pricey. For more information on these tours, look here

https://www.ianallantravel.com/aviationtours/

 

Again, what I listed is not the only events to see and photography aircraft. What I listed is what I feel is the most popular and readily available aviation’s events. There are other events like night engine run ups and evening/twilight light shows. Which are rare events but are still wonderful opportunities. There is also ultra-lights and home built, sea planes, blimps, ballooning, gliding, hang gliding, crop dusting… Again, there is a lot more information out there than what’s in this post. Again, do your own research on shows and events you want to attend. The more you know the better off you will be. Now hopefully you have an idea of what you want to shoot along with where to find your subjects.

Feel free to share in the comments below as well as if you like my content, click the “Like” button or even start to follow my blog.

Until next time,

Steven

Knowledge or Gear?

So, three weeks ago I have an idea for my next post. It was my take on the Knowledge vs. gear argument. What is more important? Having the knowledge to see and capture images properly or having the latest and greatest gear? The problem was I already knew that knowledge is far more important than any gear. And as I started writing, it turned into a long-winded rant about why knowledge is more important. I did not like the way it was going along with that is not the way I want to share. So, I thrashed it, gathered my thoughts and wrote this. What I normally like to do is come up with an idea that challenges my creativity. Then go out and test it. And share my results with you all.

I know just because you have a camera, does not make you a photographer. That’s a bitter pill for some. My opinion(and my opinion only), what makes you a photographer is having the ability to see and capture images properly that speaks to your viewers. And it does not matter if it was shot on a Nikon, Fuji, Canon, if it was shot as a RAW or Jpeg, was it from a full frame sensor body or from a cell phone… All those things are just tools to capture an image YOU see. It’s what the photographer trying to show and what the image says to YOU that matters most. Yes, gear helps. But like anything, if one does not know how to use their tools properly, the results will never be as good as someone who knows what he or she is doing.

My idea for this post was to go down Belle isle in Detroit on two different weekends. And I wanted my images to show three things. One, how cold it was outside using a limited color palette. Two, to show how colorful and alive it was inside the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle. And three, have all the images maintain my look or style of photography. On one weekend, I used only with my iPhone 8 plus. And the other weekend, only with my 7D MKII with my 17-85mm. Each weekend, I shot images with the same three goals in mind. Then in Lightroom, strip the EXIF data from each of the images. With the idea of concealing what camera shot what image. Letting you, the reader, to try to figure out if you could tell what image was shot with what. I did strip the EXIF data from the images because it does not matter what gear I used. But what matters, did I accomplish my three goals?

I cannot stress enough how important it is to know how to use YOUR gear properly. Knowing how YOUR gear sees and captures light as well as its limitations. I also want to stress the important of having an idea of what it is YOUR trying to show YOUR viewers. The next time you’re behind your camera ask yourself, “What is it I am trying to show and why?”

Until next time,

Steven

Using up my Bag of Tricks

Show 6, post 1: Northern Illinois Airshow

On September 9th, I drove over to Waukegan for the Northern Illinois airshow. The home show for Warbird Heritage foundation. I meet up with my good friend and fellow photographer, Rob Wetterholt. It was a great little show with a nice line up of performers along with a well laid out static display. I set out to try again to capture a sense of motion while shooting jets. The weather forecast called for partly cloudy skies in the morning and clearing skies as the day went on. By the time things started flying, the sky was clear and blue. I was a little disappointed about not getting the opportunity to try to do some cloud blurring but it’s Mother Nature, what are you going to do? For this show, I rented the Canon 5DSR again and my old friend, the 400mm F/5.6L. Canon’s 400mm F/5.6L is a hidden gem of a lenses. I bought the 100-400mm MKI and the 400 5.6 at the same time. After shooting both lenses, I was turned off by the softness of the 100-400 and sold it. I shoot the 400 5.6 for years and absolutely fell in love with its clarity and sharpness. Before I sold it and got my 500mm F/4.5, I got comfortable shooting it slow. Like 1/80th for takeoff/landing and 1/160th for flying and getting good constant results. The 400 5.6 is not a low light lenses and does not has image stabilization. But what it is, an amazing light weight sunny day lenses that is easy to shoot handheld. In ideal shooting condition, it’s a joy to shoot. I had my 500mm for about 2 years now and still growing into it. But after returning to the 400 5.6, I’m strongly considering getting it again. I had no problem with shooting it slow again.

Which leads me into the title of this post, Using up my Bag of Tricks”. After shooting for some time, I have gathered a few techniques that I like to use to help capture images that I see. These are not anything that I myself have come up with but things I use to try to make my images stand out from others. While shooting at the Northern Illinois Airshow, I got the chance to use all my bag of tricks. Which does not happen too often. This post I’m going to share with you my small but slowly growing bag of tricks.

show opening for phone

Shooting slow to get a sense of motion and speed

This is the hardest of my tricks and I’m still trying to master it. It is my favorite way to isolate a subject. With the background blurred out and the subject tack sharp, the result is an image that shows a great sense of speed and motion. Here’s the thing about panning, it is the same if you’re panning an aircraft in flight, a person riding a bike or a race car on the track. Panning is panning, subject does not matter. What does matter is finding a stance and motion that YOU are comfortable with while panning. It is not the same for everybody, what works well for me may not work for you. This may sound dumb but holding your gear properly is a big factor too. While shooting, you HAVE to be stable and smooth while panning. Shooting a telephoto lenses handheld and at a low shutter speed is not easy but with practice, you can master it. Two important things I want to mention. First, whatever lenses you are using, keep your fingers away from the manual focusing ring while shooting. It does not matter if your using auto focus or any other type of focusing, if you turn the manual focusing ring while shooting, it will override any other focusing type resulting in soft and or out of focus images. And second, use a single auto focus point along with continuous tracking and shooting while panning. Do not use all auto focus points along with continuous tracking and shooting while panning. You’re going to confuse the shit out of your camera and will result in soft and out of focus images.

With the 400 5.6, I shot takeoffs/landings from 1/80th to 1/100th. Shoot flying subject slow depended on the background to show a sense of motion. During the show, the sky was clear blue and was no reason to shoot slow. But one the Hoppers, flying L-39s did do a very low flat pass that on the bottom of the frame has some blurred tree tops. It is not the sharpest image but you get the idea.

Waukegan17_0582

I went down to 1/30th (5DSR/400 5.6) on the Skyraider “Bad News” to get a full ark of the propeller as it taxies back to the hot ramp.

Waukegan17_1000

 

Shooting Low

Or I like to call it, “Doing the Alligator”. Laying on the ground with the camera at ground level, shooting up at your subject. The main problem I have with doing this technique is have a clean and unclutter background. Which at most airshows and aviation events is hard to come by. I have seen this type of shot done with wide angle lenses but I like using something with a bit more reach. Along with, I like to drop the horizon as low as I can and show very little of the ground. Giving the subject a proud stance and a strong presence in the frame. It’s fun to do on a grass field too, shooting through the weeds. You can also use this technique to shoot under airshow fences like this shot from Plames of Fame. Just be careful and mindful of your surroundings. People can and will walk on top of you and your gear.

Waukegan17_2245

Shooting High

Getting up and shooting down on your subjects is something I would like to do more often. There are many ways to do so. Many shows and events have portable stairs alongside aircraft so you can take a peek inside the cockpit, it’s a great location to shoot surrounding aircraft from up high. Another way to photograph aircraft from a higher location is to use a monopod, live view mode and self-timer. I add this technique to my bag of tricks last year at the Planes of Fame show. With my Canon 70D and 70-200mm, I extended all the sections on my monopod, switch to live viewing so I can see what the camera is looking at on the view screen, angled the tile screen down so when I raise the monopod up I can see what I’m trying to shoot. With the camera auto focus drive switched to self-timer 10 secs and in aperture priority @ F/4 to have a high enough shutter speed to not worry about camera shake when the camera is up in the air. Depress the shutter button to start the timer, holding the bottom of the monopod, quickly raise the camera up where I want to shoot. Looking up at the view screen tiled down, compose the shot, hold everything steady and wait for the timer to end. Lower the camera and check the results. It takes some time getting used to but well worth the effort.

Tiling the frame

This is by far the simplest trick in my bag and probably the most controversial. I have found that other either love it or hate it. I love it. I feel it adds visual interest to the subject and maybe some attitude as well. You can also combine this technique with others for even more visual interest.

Trick no# 4?

My newest trick I added to my bag I really don’t know what to call it. It’s showing an aircraft in a series of images. Each image can stand alone but place side by side, you can visualize the whole aircraft. I unconsciously started doing it at the Selfridge show. Just another way for me look at things differently and to see new images. This is something I’m going play with, nurture and make more my own.

Along with the elements of design and my mind’s eye, I feel confident I can capture images unique to me.

To view larger images, click on thumbnails

Waukegan17_1778

Until next post,

Steven

My Selfridge Experiment

Show 5, post 1: Pre-show thoughts on Selfridge ANGB Open House & Air Show

During my time at EAA AirVenture, while talking to many aviation photographers, one thing kept popping up in conversations. Prop blur and how getting a full arc was the “Holy Grail”.

full arc with Doc

Frozen props looks unnatural. When we look at a propeller driven aircraft with its engine running or in flight, we see the propeller spinning. It’s basic photography, creating an image of what we see i.e. prop blur. But on the flip side of aviation photography, it’s acceptable to totally freeze jet aircraft in flight.

stopped raptor

Why is that? Why don’t we try to show a sense of motion when it comes to shooting jets? Is it because we think it’s hard? It can be done. Here’s two example I shot @1/160th. Both using my 7D MKII but the F/A-18 Hornet was shot with a 200-400mm F/4 with 1.4X extender IS (Image Stabilization) which was off, USM (Ultrasonic Motor). And the F-100 was shot with my 500mm F/4.5L USM, which doesn’t have IS.

slow hornetslow hun

Both you can see a sense of motion but I want to go farther with it. So, Selfridge open house is coming up this weekend and there will be quite a few jets flying there. My personal challenge is to show more motion while shooting jets. This can only work if there are some clouds in the sky to blur. Not too many and not too few. Blurring a clear blue sky is pointless along with straight overcast. I’ll be using a Canon 5DSR from lenRental.com and my 500mm F/4.5L. My plan is to shoot in shutter priority starting @ 1/160th and go down to 1/100th. I may underexposure 1/3th stop to prevent blowing out any highlights. My keeper rate is going to go to shit but all I need is one. The idea of this scares me but I think I can do it if the conditions are right.

Until later,

Steven