Aircraft image

How to shoot an aircraft?

If you are a terrorist, use whatever guided weapon you have. If, however (as I assume since you are here) you are a photographer, you want to do something like this:

There are four key points:

  1. I am using a long enough lens. In this case a 70-200mm f/2.8L lens set to 200mm. Which on the Canon 7D I used is equivalent to 320mm.
  2. I am using the lens’s image stabilizer (IS), but in “mode 2”. That means I can pan – that is what mode 2 is for. If my lens does not have a mode 1/2 setting I would turn IS off, unless I intend to hold the lens still.
  3. I have shown the prop turning. Just a bit. In this case, by using 1/25oth second. This meant I needed f/5.6 at 160 ISO.
  4. I have not underexpose the sky too much. A bit of underexposure is good here, because it shows the blue. If the sky had not been blue, I would have wanted to expose more, in order to show aircraft detail. So the need is to first show aircraft detail, then if possible to expose to show a nice shy if the sky is blue.

I hope that helps and am looking forward to seeing your pictures, if you happen to live near an airport (and not be male and bearded like me).

Oh and the fifth key point? I am showing the big aircraft’s trail in the background, creating a bit of a huxtaposition.

0 thoughts on “Aircraft image

  1. What do you think of ?

    Helicopters frequently pass my apartment and I keep my antique EOS-300D ready with its mediocre 75-300mm F3.5-5.6 lens at the ready. I generally shoot RAW, on a bright day 100 ASA shutter priority at 1/500sec. I think this came out quite well, at a size and resolution suitable for web use. Of course the major difference is that you can make an excellent huge print of your photo.

    • Love it! Sharp, great sky too.

      You could consider a slightly slower shutter speed, to show a tad more of the rotary wing’s rotation.

      Also, your camera and lens are just fine for this type of photography. Obviously, a high-end IS lens set to IS mode 2 would have benefots, but in this case with nice light you really do not need it.

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