Feb 4, 2005

How to photograph a plane in flight

Vision Aerie's Flickr blog has this interesting bit of information.

Getting nice images of airplanes in flight is not easy, especially in less than perfectly smooth air; the photo-run must be made on a heading that will provide proper lighting and the perspective must be such that the subject is shown clearly, that is, the tail section is not obscured by the wing, the registration number usually needs to be visible (as it is often a custom number for nicely kept aircraft, etc.).

Also, the background must not conflict with or distract from the subject, i.e., no roads crossing under the subject, breaking up it's lines, etc., and it must be obvious that the viewer is in flight with the subject. The photographer must always strive to see the whole frame... a vital element of framing and composing is using the whole frame; cropping must be kept to a minimum (this image is full-frame-- I got lucky with the upper wing tip).

Becoming fixated on the subject and failing to see the whole picture is too easy in such a dynamic situation--add to all that a little turbulence (a lot of turbulance makes this impossible), the kind that strikes just as you're tripping the shutter (this reminds me, your shutter speed must be low enough to blur the propeller but not everything else which is also moving; 125/sec, maybe 250 max) add discomfort as the circulation in your feet goes away while on tighly bended knees, difficult communications over noise (even with an intercom through headsets), cold fingers and the intricacies of unloading and loading roll-film every 10 frames... oh, and of course, avoiding collision.
Read the full post here...