Attached is the latest copy of our bi-monthly newsletter. Articles in this issue offer some supplementary information related to Mike
Harding’s topic on “Smartphone Photography” which he will deliver at our September meeting. I am looking forward to seeing everyone next Wednesday.
The NAS Oceana Air Show is scheduled for the coming weekend and weather permitting should afford a good shooting opportunity to aviation buffs. Shutter priority is my mode of choice when shooting airshows however there a few rules that I try to adhere to when shooting aircraft in flight.
1. Use your higher shutter speed for jet aircraft (1/2000+) and pan as you shoot.
2. Use moderately slower shutter speeds for propeller driven aircraft (1/250 +/-) so as not to freeze the propeller. Pan goes without saying and between the two combined techniques you will be able to capture the illusion of motion with a reasonably sharp image of the passing aircraft.
3. Pre-determine your exposure and lock it in Manual Mode. Sky and lighting conditions often fool the built in meters especially if the sun is intense.
4. Long telephoto lenses and autofocus systems and work for and against you. When shooting with my 500mm fixed focal length lens just finding the aircraft can be a challenge. With a zoom lens start with it zoomed back and then zoom in on your subject as you begin to take pictures. With slower autofocus systems I will usually lock in a pre-focused spot down the runway and wait for the aircraft to “just about” reach it before I trigger the shot.
5. Shoot in burst mode if possible. Often the first shot may show some sharpness issues but subsequent shots always seem to be better. Oh, and don’t forget to bring plenty of memory cards….it is amazing how fast a single card will fill up when shooting in burst mode.
6. Check the wind direction before you select a spot. Find out which runway and which direction the flights will be entering and exiting
7. Don’t forget to check the Sun’s positon. It never hurts to keep it to the side or at your back…not always possible for a mid-day show but come Sunset, it may offer you some unique opportunities.
8. On base I like to shoot from one end or the other…it is often too crowded near the grandstand. I usually shoot from the Sun side end if possible keeping it somewhat at my back.
9. Wear a hat, broad-brimmed if possible…it gets hot out on the flight line and you can use it to shade your LCD display while checking your shots. Sunscreen never hurts either as long as you remember to put it on early before and not after the show.
10. Take only what you need and keep in mind that security does have some restrictions on what you can and cannot bring into the show.
One other little tip…Frank and I often go out the day before the airshow. We often shoot the practice sessions which are usually
scheduled just as they will be for the actual airshow itself. We try to pick a perimeter location off base that will afford us an unobstructed
view. The Virginian-Pilot just ran an article about one (use to be…)
secret location off of Oceana Boulevard near a public works department
site. Forget about this location on show days…. Oh, and if you do find
that ideal spot “off base” bring a cooler and a folding chair, lower
your tripod to a comfortable level sit back and enjoy. Remember,
excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages have been known to affect
your camera’s ability to focus.
Be safe and have fun,