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Tips for Shooting at Airshow?(Toronto International Airshow)

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RacingManiac View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote RacingManiac Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Tips for Shooting at Airshow?(Toronto International Airshow)
    Posted: 31 August 2007 at 19:00
2 set of Questions, one more general the other more specific about the show.

I've never shot airshow before, is there anything specific I should know? I assume that since this is not like cars where you have a background to show the blur you would not use particularly slow shutter speed(say, 1/125-1/250 on a 300mm)? Also what exposure mode would you use to capture the plane against the blue sky? 300mm with a 1.5x crop camera like 5D would be enough?

Also, for any fellow Torontonian, anyone went to the show before at CNE? Any particular location would be good? I am thinking of getting Ontario Place tix to go watch the show on the OP ground? Is there maybe somewhere on Lakeshore with just as good of a view?

Thanks a lot...

Edited by RacingManiac - 31 August 2007 at 19:00
 



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sooten View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sooten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2007 at 20:08
I would start off suggesting a smaller aperture and a faster shutter speed, especially on jets. The smaller aperture will help in that focusing has to be a little less precise and the faster aperture will help sharpen a handheld shot. For prop driven planes and helicopters, a slower shutter may be desirable to show the motion of the prop/blades.

Depending on your location and the direction the planes will be flying in relation to you, you may want to go with manual focus. Nothing is worse than when your AF loses lock and starts to hunt, you completely lose the aircraft and have to waste precios time finding it again. If you are in a place where the flight direction is from left to right, or right to left, you can pre-focus and have reasonably good expectation of sharp pictures. If you are going to be in a position where the aircraft are coming directly at you, then this is more problematic, but might make for some cool shots.

I would want a zoom vs. a prime if I had to choose. I think 300mm is reasonable.

One last thing, put the shutter on continuous release and take plenty of memory cards.

Happy shooting!
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Tue Romanow View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tue Romanow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2007 at 20:49
And don't forget extra batteries!
I did an entire airshow with the big beercan and the 5D and it worked a treat even though 300mm was a bit on the short side in some situations...

Oh, nearly forgot....earplugs if you get the chance to get close (Don't ask, just trust me on this!! Some of those birds are kind of loud!!)
There's no such thing as too many lenses.
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RacingManiac View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote RacingManiac Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 August 2007 at 23:26
Toronto show is all arial over the lake water, no ground static display or planes taking off, so it'll be a bit different...

Thanks for the tips thus far, keep'em coming...:D
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Post Options Post Options   Quote geardown Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 September 2007 at 16:22
Here's a few that I've picked up, although I'm still the rankest of rank beginners:

1. Exposure. If it's cloudy, overexpose by as much as +1EV. Otherwise, you'll have beautifully exposed cloud but ugly black silhouettes for aircraft. Whatever you do though, aircraft shots taken against banks of cloud will be ordinary at best.

2. Position. Try to get a spot at the upwind end of the display. 'Show centre' is not as good for photographers as it is for spectators. Media pens at airshows are almost always at one end of the active runway. There's another hint right there - try to get as close to the pros as possible.

3. Continuous mode/Sports mode. Set your camera to continuous shooting. The 3fps that you get with fine JPEG means your panning doesn't have to be perfect to get the perfect shot. Consider setting your camera to Sports mode, at least for a little while, so that you can see what settings the camera chose, and compare them to your own.

4. Shot selection. Aeroplane photos are at their best when you can see the upper surfaces and cockpit, preferably pointing at you to some degree (see point 2 above). Aeroplane bums and undersides are dead boring, UNLESS they have their afterburners on or are doing a high Angle-of-Attack (aka high Alpha) manouvre. Plan for when the aircraft will be executing a high-rate turn towards you - these are the money shots. By high-rate, I mean large angle of bank, so that you can see more or less the whole planform of the aircraft. If the aircraft is a fast jet, these shots often come with their own weather - the clouds that form near the inboard leading edges and wingtips.

5. Lens. The bigger the better. Ideally it will be a zoom, as aeroplanes have a habit of creeping up on you. I have had some pretty good shots of the kit 75-300, but have now moved to a Tamron 200-500. If you get a good position, the 70-210 won't break your heart, and it is fast. Even when I've been just a few feet from the gable markers on an airfield, I've never gone below about 150mm for an aircraft in flight.

6. Other kit. If you've got steady hands and a not outrageously long lens, go handheld. The flexibility is definitely worth it, and hey, your wise purchasing choice means you've got built-in antishake right there in the camera. Tripods/monopods can almost be a deadly weapon to those nearby when you're trying to track fast movers. To polarize or not to polarize? I do, because I love deep blue skies. I've read pros who don't because of the light/speed they lose.

That's about it from me. Good luck, and don't forget to post in the aircraft thread here when you're done!!!
99% of the time, A200, 300/4 HS G + APO 1.4 TC. My flickr
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RacingManiac View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote RacingManiac Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 September 2007 at 18:02
Good tips there, now I really can't wait to see this...

tomorrow can't come soon enough...
 



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RacingManiac View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote RacingManiac Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 September 2007 at 20:55
posted my pic the the aircraft photo thread......got much to learn for the future...
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Hoffy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hoffy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 September 2007 at 00:52
We have an airshow coming up in October in Adelaide (its the RAAF airshow). These tips could come in very handy!!
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Jack Goldmaker View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jack Goldmaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 September 2011 at 05:50
I know that this is an old topic, but the 2011 Toronto Air show just happened. The problem with this air show is that it begins just after high noon and during the whole show the aircraft used to fly in from the sun in the west. So if you are not west of the fly by lines, you get an eyeful of sun in each photo.

I used my Alpha 55 but with much difficulty, for once one gets an A55 they get the video bug. This years Air show was quite weird for the temperature was 39C the first day and then thunderstorms rolled in. My A55 was unable to use the full battery charge because it was boiling hot! The video would shut down all the time due to the hot weather, not due to the actual sensor heating up or the processing time. I did get some footage in but had to wait ten minutes at times for the camera to cool down.

However I went back on Labour day, a cold front had moved in and it was 14 C instead. This time I drained the battery doing video. I wanted to try the new effects that Sony has offered as a download to the A55, most notably B&W Chroma key and B&W with concentration on your choice of colours. I was hoping to get some shots of the CF-18 Hornet fly by which has a red and yellow colour scheme this year. My hope was, to video the aircraft in B&W with the red highlight only, and then do it again with the yellow highlight only.

To my dismay, the camera will NOT catch the plane and convert its colours during a high speed pass. So all I got was a B&W CF-18 Hornet. On the low speed pass I got a tiny strip of yellow on the back of the fuselage.

Since the weather was grey I decided to try to use the B&W Chroma key for a new U.S. Aerobatic team that uses a grey and white camo scheme. I made a small video about it which you can see here if you have a Facebook account.   The chroma key (Sony calls it B&W posterisation)was on camera, and quite difficult to use, it's colour version was quite upsetting as it revealed tons of dust bunnies that have appeared on my translucent mirror over the past few days (as opposed to the sensor itself).

Later about that topic.

Here is the link to the live chroma key event. I used a modified version of the microphone in the DIY section of Dyxum that I ordered on Ebay.

Heavy Metal Jet team short

Its quite shaky due to the lack of a steady cam. I was using the Minolta 100-300 to track it in manual focus mode with a monopod. I had made my own camera handle but, even though I tested it many times it broke on site so I could not track the aircraft like I wanted to. Live and learn.

Edited by Jack Goldmaker - 11 September 2011 at 06:04
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