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Photography Question 
Patricia Seidler
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2007

How to Shoot Aircraft

I am going to Jones Beach over the weekend to try and capture the incredible Blue Angels and some other outstanding "air stunts". I have a an 18-55 3.5 canon lense and a 70-200mm 4.5 zoom lense. Weather conditions are supposed to be sunny. I was planning on using the zoom. Should I shoot manually and bracket shooting into the sky or rely on the camera auto feature?
I have a Canon rebel XT. Help! Thank you. I have never done this before.

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5/22/2008 6:16:35 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hello Patricia,

Start with aperture priority. Set for wide open at 200mmm. I'm guessing your lens will open to f/5.6 at 200mm.

While the aircraft are still on the ground, fill your frame with the aircraft and make note of your meter reading. Switch to manual and lock in those settings. The dark color of the aircraft might require you to raise the ISO to 400..possibly 800 to maintain a fairly fast shutter least 1/250th when you are zoomed in to 200mm.

You'll probably need the 200mm while they are in flight. Most of their stunts are performed from 200 feet and higher.

Be ready. Listen to the narrator.
Shoot at the highest frame rate you have when they do low level passes and PAN-PAN-PAN.
Do NOT use auto! The bright sky will fool your meter resulting in under-exposure.

all the best,


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5/22/2008 7:17:25 PM

And shoot RAW, Patricia, to keep as many as possible PP options open for when you sit down with your harvest at the computer.
Besides, RAW, because it doesn't need processing, may even have the faster burst fps rates. But I admit I'm guessing here.

Have fun at the airshow!

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5/22/2008 8:04:15 PM

Patricia Seidler
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2007
  Thank you both for your help. I never shot RAW before, but I am going to incorporate both of suggestions and give it my best.....

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5/23/2008 2:29:40 AM

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