Posts Tagged ‘fighters’

I love air shows. The sheer power of modern jets and the history behind WWII warbirds pulls me to an air show like a moth to a flame. Since not shooting daily (I’m a desk-bound editor now) has made me a bit rusty at covering such events, I thought I’d shoot one to keep the skills sharp. After spending a fruitful afternoon shooting high-speed, state-of-the-art jets along with vintage propeller craft, I learned the hard way that these two subjects need to be approached in two completely different ways. Case in point is the photo below:

Propellers not spinning

Of course, it’s tack sharp (no autofocus needed, I’ve still got mad focusing skills). Yes, it’s properly exposed and shot at almost peak action. Note the propellers. They were turning (and quite rapidly, too) a lot more than the propellers frozen in time shown above.

Ouch! In the heat of the moment, I forgot to crank down my shutter speed from the 1/6000th of a second needed to shoot an F-15 Strike Eagle demonstration and, while that shutter speed was more than enough to freeze a streaking jet fighter, it was overkill for these slower propeller planes. The eye (thanks to persistence of vision) sees the props as spinning disks, not the frozen blades I captured. To fix this, when shooting spinning propellers or helicopter blades, knock your shutter speed down to 1/250th of a second or so (experiment!) and pan with the aircraft to get a nicely blurred, spinning propeller. I certainly won’t forget, next time.

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