Rot in hell, Adobe - and all who sail in her.
Ahmet Aydogan: For the folks who use it to stay in touch with family and a few close friends, FB has some functionality at the cost presenting information to company with utterly questionable business practices. For the rest, it is nothing more than a colossal waste of time and resources.
jm67: Ugh. Yes, I'm the only guy on the planet who's not a fan of facebook.
jimkahnw: This whole image integrity thing is a bunch of BS. A photo is an opinion, not the truth. It's a 2-dimensional, cropped impression of a moment in time/space. How photos can be conflated with truth is beyond me. It's no different than the reporter who edits a long quote to fit the space. And, what about the moment before or after the published picture was made? What about the small crowd that can appear large if the image is cropped from the top in camera? What about the man crying in one frame and laughing in the next? Which is "true." There isn't a photo on earth that does not need some processing to prepare it for publication. Oh, and publication? What does the 65 line screen on cheap news print do to the dynamic range of an image? Hey, people, get real.
Absolutely spot on - I couldn't agree more. Very well put and sums up this issue very succinctly and accurately.
I get tired of hearing pretentious twits harping on about this subject. As you say, "Hey people, get real!"
Thanks for taking the time to put this together, Ellen. I really like the opening image.
The beauty of digital photography is the infinite options it gives us to CHOOSE what we want in a final image. Some consider themselves "purists" and are not interested in anything but "perfect" (in their eyes) untouched images; good luck to them. Others use the tools available to provide the particular image or "look" they had in mind; each to his or her own!
Thanks again Ellen - ignore those who feel the need to criticise just because their personal taste differs.
Thank you very much for this excellent article. It will save me a great deal of (unnecessary) stress in the future. In the past, I have agonised occasionally over "soft" lenses (and spent more money than necessary in fruitless attempts to cure them) but now understand the pointlessness of seeking perfection.
As sdyue says, "a good dose of reality check". Thanks again.
motion: Thanks for a great article!Which shooting mode do you usually use and what about metering?Any good resources for learning more about aviation photography?
Glad you enjoyed the article. There are many great aviation photographers out there from whom to take inspiration. However, there is no substitute for getting out there and taking photos - lots of them - following some simple, basic rules.
For shooting propeller aircraft or helicopters (in normal circumstances), I recommend "shutter priority" using typical shutter speeds as outlined in the article (reasons given in the article). For static aircraft or jets, or other subjects at air shows etc, I use mainly "aperture priority" to control depth-of-field.
I generally use either "matrix" or centre-weighted metering, depending on contrast between aircraft and background; experiment - it is easy to do with digital and you soon learn what works.
In addition to links from other great photographers below, have a look at www.warbirdz.net or www.actionairimages.com.
Glenn Alderton, in particular, has (in my opinion) a great eye for "different" shots and has an outstanding portfolio.
Borremans Edwin: "For air-to-air shots, a 70-200mm zoom is likely to be all you'll need since you'll be much closer to the action."
That works well if you are in a slow mover with an open cockpit or a door removed, but when your flying backseat in a jet you don't have enough room for it. And by the way military pilots are able to fly very close to each others.To be honest I know what i'm talking about.take a look at:
Absolutely right, Edwin - but not too many folks get to fly back-seat in military jets too often.
There isn't the space in DPR's format to write all material applicable to all aspects of every aviation situation. It is a basic overview for average photographers who want to shoot aircraft.
For those lucky enough to get regular fast-jet back seat time, I am sure they would appreciate your advice as well.
jjlmoose: As an aircraft mechanic and photographer, it was nice to see you share your experience here on DPR. There is so much to love about photographing aircraft... shapes, colors, materials, setting, etc. You get beauty, power, speed, design and landscapes all in one. I normally shoot in shutter priority at similar speeds to those you recommended. Has there been an aviation related challenge yet? Might be a good one! Thanks Rob.
Hi. Thanks for the comments - and you're right about the wide variety of fascinating aspects to aviation photography. If you have any images you are really proud of, I'd love to see them.
DonM999: Clean air is important for telephoto shots. I've shot the "Thunder Over The Boardwalk" airshow in Atlantic City twice, and while the performers are close to the crowd the pictures come out hazy. Backlit airplanes are almost impossible to automatically expose correctly. I get my readings from objects on the ground and shoot manual.
See my comments to others here also. Yep - sometimes, it just isn't possible to get perfect shots. Haze, backlighting, smoke - all can stuff up your day. You can only do what you can in the circumstances as you find them. As I suggested to Remfire Olympus User, the best you can do is try and accentuate or take advantage of backlighting for silhouettes and dramatic effect.
Hdub: Very interesting article. As a contractor working at an airfield in Afghanistan I will have to see if I can try some of thise techniques on the aircraft here!
There are some WONDERFUL opportunities for stunning aviation pics in Afghanistan. I made two trips there and captured some of my favourite ever aviation pics there. Make the most of your unique opportunities (hope there was some benefit in the article for you)
Robert Yuill: Main points covered except the direction of light. At many air shows, where most shots will be taken you end up staring at the sun! In this case you don't have a choice other to move to the extreme ends of the flight line.
Photography is all about the capture of light and it can be unrewarding to get a selection of silhouettes or overexposed sky.
You're right Robert - it is all about light no matter what the subject. See my comments to Remfire Olympus User regarding backlighting.
Sometimes the laws of physics (and air show marshalls) mean there is nothing that can be done...
BravoEcoNovember: An interesting effect with propellers is that you can play with the shutter speed and get an image of the propeller divided in quadrants, a really good and beautifull result, specially with WWII airplanes.
Agreed - and this looks really good if done well. Anything that adds dynamic movement to give "life" to an image is worthwhile. It is irrelevant if the subject is an inanimate object - it is "life" to the overall image that counts.
Remfire Olympus User: Good article, don't forget, that people at airshows, are good subjects as well, the awe of watching the planes, kids climbing into a bye-wings, etc are fun to shoot.What is the best settings to use, when you have a gray no contrast sky as background to the planes in the air?
Very good point about other subject material at air shows! We should always keep eyes open for great shots of anything...lots of great "happy children" shots to be had at air shows also.
Sadly, backlighting (even worse, backlighting against grey, monotonous skies) is often unavoidable at air shows. My only suggestion in such cases is to try and maximize deliberate silhouette opportunities:
- shooting against the sun air-to-air
- deliberately shot backlit against sunset at Kandahar
- deliberate dawn light silhouette at air show.
Superka: This article is primitive with boring examples. The major thing for the aviation - weather - is skipped.
Some nice shots there, Superka! I also often shoot in less than "ideal" conditions. The following examples were taken in poor conditions or in backlit/high contrast conditions:
- taken at night in a thunderstorm.
- taken in cloudy conditions, late afternoon
Weather is something every photographer contends with regardless of subject. Unique opportunities often exist in unlikely situations - even "marginal" air-to-air conditions yield good results at times.
Weather is not the only thing skipped, but there are unavoidable space constraints in this format. Likewise, DPR's editors deliberately chose examples to illustrate points and not for photographic brilliance. (The article is not intended to be the world's definitive set of aviation photography "rules").
Mark Forman: http://www.ceehere.com/Airplanes/Warbirds/Oshkosh2008HD2Star/5865310_MBXRcR#364226306_uEX2o
I shot this in 2008 for EAA Warbirds magazine.
Aviation Photography is not shot with a basic set of rules except when it comes to safety.For instance getting a sharp image at high shutter speeds is more important than blurring the prop.Enjoy my galleries.Mark FormanMark Forman Productions, Corp.http://www.screeningroom.comhttp://www.ceehere.com
I agree with your comment about safety!
As far as shutter speeds are concerned, I am not suggesting blurred shots are acceptable - they are not. It simply means that - from an aviation point of view (certainly from an aviation publication editor's point of view) - "stopped" props or rotors are unacceptable.
There is no doubt this results in a few more rejects than would otherwise be the case. It is all about practice. See the following image as a positive example:
Imagine this image with "stopped" rotors...It would be nothing.
Of the many photos sent to me for consideration for publishing, I reject an unfortunate number for having props/rotors stopped. For non-aviators, stopped props or rotors might not be a problem and - like all photography - if the photographer is happy with the result, that is all that counts.