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Airshow photography technique - What has worked for you and what hasn't?

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FanPilot
FanPilot  329 forum posts United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
20 May 2011 - 1:30 PM

Right, but my camera is a Sony Alpha 100. If I dial in EV, then when I come to view the photo in the sony software, that EV is already applied... if I set that EV value back to 0, then won't I have got what I would have had if I had not dialed in any EV or does the camera somehow compensate?

What I am trying to get at here, is... If I am shooting raw, then do I actually need to dial in some EV? Will the photo still have exactly the same information in it whether EV is dialed in or not when it comes to processing?

Thanks.

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20 May 2011 - 1:30 PM

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javam
javam  91083 forum posts United Kingdom19 Constructive Critique Points
20 May 2011 - 1:35 PM


Quote:
What I am trying to get at here, is... If I am shooting raw, then do I actually need to dial in some EV? Will the photo still have exactly the same information in it whether EV is dialed in or not when it comes to processing?


Yes you still use EV when shooting Raw and no it will not have the same information. Changing the the EV in Tv or Av will cause the camera to either change the aperture or the shutter speed (respectively) to get the exposure you want it is not just recording info for the editing software.

Last Modified By javam at 20 May 2011 - 1:35 PM
digicammad
digicammad  1121988 forum posts United Kingdom37 Constructive Critique Points
20 May 2011 - 1:59 PM


Quote: Don't know, but intuitively I'd think that overexposure is over exposure, whatever system you use, and that getting it 'right' to start with would save a lot of work later.

In this context though you are not over exposing, rather you are making sure the important part of the image (ie the plane) is correctly exposed. With a bright sky and no EV the chances are you would end up with a nice plane shaped silhouette.

mikehit
mikehit  46104 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
20 May 2011 - 1:59 PM

If you set your camera profile to 'landscape' as an example, it will tag the info with a menu that basically says 'boost the greens' but this only affects the way RAW is converted to JPEG in camera - it does not affect the light hitting the sensor (that is, it does not affect the RAW data). And you are right, when you load teh RAW image into the manufacturer's software these 'tags' are applied in the same way that they are in-camera but you can reverse them if you think it is the wrong setting after all (if you shoot JPEG only it is too late because the change has been applied).

However, if you set exposure compensation to +1 it opens the aperture by one stop (if you are in Tv mode) or doubles the exposure time (if you are in Av mode) - that does affect the amount of light hitting the sensor so it affects the RAW data.



* if you load the RAW picture into Photoshop, it does not recognise these 'tags' so will apply its own interpretation of the data. Although PS also has an option to apply something similar to the camera manufacturers profiles, it is not automatic in the way that the Sony Software would do it.

macroman
macroman  1115312 forum posts England
20 May 2011 - 3:51 PM

Actually the original image is much sharper, but resizing & compression has reduced the quality.
My A4 print is very sharp.

I had the image stabilizer on which I believe helps (despite what some sources say).


Quote: but 1/400 and f11 is moving things in the wrong direction

I do tend to use shutter priority, but I don't neccesarily follow your logic, there are no props to worry about so panning with a fastish shutter and small aperture and reasonable ISO can sometimes be the better option as it means you are fairly sure of the 'plane being within focus/DoF, especially if the subject is moving towards you very fast, as the AF may not keep it in precise focus.

I find that 'centre weighted ave' gives best overall results, but it's not perfect, so I sometimes take series of shots in different modes.

DC,


Quote: In this context though you are not over exposing, rather you are making sure the important part of the image (ie the plane) is correctly exposed. With a bright sky and no EV the chances are you would end up with a nice plane shaped silhouette.


Agreed, I've plenty of shots to prove it Smile,that's why I use EV.

Last Modified By macroman at 20 May 2011 - 3:56 PM
FanPilot
FanPilot  329 forum posts United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
20 May 2011 - 4:15 PM

Thanks Javam and Mikehit. That explains it with respect to EV. All I thought it was doing (after using the software) was just adjusting the exposure in camera for converting to jpg in camera. You live and learn, so I will now be trying +1EV. I would assume it would be a similar adjustment for birds (winged variety).

So, another question. My camera has image stabilisation, but it does not appear to have any orientation to limit IS (i.e. when panning). Is it still wise to use IS when panning or should I turn it off?

I am hoping to go to the airshow at Hucknall coming up soon... (June 11th I think). It is only a small show, but would be nice to go.

I am making notes here, sticking it into notepad and when I understand what I need, I will be printing it and sticking it in my camera bag. So far, I have...

Airshow photography

1. Ensure continuous auto focus
2. Use shutter priority
3. Try to get low ISO
4. Props need slow shutter, helis need slower, jets need fast
Props. 1/320, 1/250, iso 100 (good @ panning, 1/100 or 1/60)
Helis. 1/160 or slower
Jets. 1/1000, up iso if necessary (iso 200 probably)
5. Continuous advance, perhaps even bracket continuous, though probably don't need to with raw.
6. Metering... center weighted?
7. +1EV compensation (check... it could depend on weather as well)
8. Long lens

(though my new found knowledge... No 5. will probably need to be editted to remove "though probably don't need to with raw".)


I know where I would rather be... in the air (as in my Username), though photography is a very close second. (don't flame me...)

digicammad
digicammad  1121988 forum posts United Kingdom37 Constructive Critique Points
20 May 2011 - 4:16 PM

I don't know about your camera, but Nikon VR lenses sense when you are panning and disable the VR. Your handbook should discuss that.

javam
javam  91083 forum posts United Kingdom19 Constructive Critique Points
20 May 2011 - 4:23 PM


Quote:
I do tend to use shutter priority, but I don't neccesarily follow your logic, there are no props to worry about so panning with a fastish shutter and small aperture and reasonable ISO can sometimes be the better option as it means you are fairly sure of the 'plane being within focus/DoF, especially if the subject is moving towards you very fast, as the AF may not keep it in precise focus.


My point is that 1/400 is actually a fairly slow shutter speed. You can probably get away with it on a Hawk with good panning technique as they are little faster than a Mustang or Spitfire, but I would take the risk out of it and go to 1/1000th or faster for fast jets in general. DoF is not an issue even wide open due to the distance between you and the aircraft and the focal lengths in use.

With your lens at 300mm and f5.6, tracking an object 300m away your DoF is going to be over 200m so with that range to play with even wide open you do not need it stopped down. By all means keep it one stop off wide open if your lens is a little soft wide open, but f11 is unnecessary.

If you panning technique is so good you really do not need the fast shutter speed drop the ISO.

Last Modified By javam at 20 May 2011 - 4:24 PM
mikehit
mikehit  46104 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
20 May 2011 - 5:08 PM

Fanpilot - if you are panning by hand you can still keep IS on. Older IS systems cause a problem when the camera is fixed to a tripod because the rigidity of the system confuses it (it is always expecting some movement). However, IS takes about half a second to kick in so if you are taking a lot of shots in reaction to what is going on around you, you sometimes get blur because the IS element in the lens has not settled down. I know some bird photographers who turn IS off for this reason, others keep it on and take the risk.
As javam explains, it is often preferable to use high shutter speeds to freeze the motion of quick planes and these fast speeds mean that camera shake is probably not an issue even with a zoom lens (unless you are slowing the shutter speed down to get prop blur).
Try it out and see how it goes.

macroman
macroman  1115312 forum posts England
20 May 2011 - 5:35 PM

The IS system in the Sony A100 is in the camera body, so does it react faster than a lens based system?

I've not done any real tests, but pics without the IS turned on seem less sharp.

My hands are not as steady as they used to be, so I often attach my monopod to the camera(retracted) so that it hangs down under the body or pointing forward about 30deg, the idea being that it acts as pendulum/bobweight, increasing inertia and reducing camera shake.

Seems to help! Smile

mikehit
mikehit  46104 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
20 May 2011 - 6:02 PM

I forgot about the in-body IS for the sony. I can imagine though that it would be the same because the mechanism has to detect movement then get the sensor in the right place; but it is a balance between that and the shake in your hands.
Before the days of IS, I had a lightweight tripod and with it collapsed I used it in exactly the way you say - and sometimes I used it like a rifle stock with the feet of the tripod pulled into my shoulder.

macroman
macroman  1115312 forum posts England
22 May 2011 - 5:00 PM

I sometimes tuck the monopod under my armpit in a similar fashion.
Monopods are wonderfully adaptable, you can wedge them in fences, tree branches etc, jam them in drains, and poke them in all sort of various holes.
Also used fully extended and held above your head for a high level shot or over obstacles (Use self timer or remote release).

Carabosse
Carabosse e2 Member 1139385 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
23 May 2011 - 12:37 PM

A monopod can be used as a disguised walking-stick! Grin

strokebloke
26 May 2011 - 9:41 PM


Quote: .. A monopod can be used as a disguised walking-stick

I even turn oak knobs, on the wood-lathe, to screw onto the top of monopods so that they are comfortable to handle when walking GrinGrin

FanPilot
FanPilot  329 forum posts United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
18 Jun 2011 - 4:40 PM

Well, I have followed the advice here and got a few photos. I have not gone through them all yet, but I am a little disappointed.

I have uploaded one of my photos to the critique gallery here. Any further advice would be appreciated about it. Thanks.

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