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Settings for fast airplanes

Batfire2000
Contributor
Going to be taking pics at a rc plane field.
What is a good starting point for settings, I'm assuming manual mode ? And I'm confused on metering? Thanks, I'm very new to all this awesome hobby. Rebel T6i.
27 REPLIES 27

Here are some later shots of props, where I was trying to capture motion blur on the propellor.

 

EOS-1D Mark IV2017_08_121464.jpgEOS-1D Mark IV2017_08_121139.jpg

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

This shot should give you some idea of just how close you could get.  I was initially close to where the people are walking.  I could more than fill the frame with an aircraft at that initial position.

 

EOS-1D Mark IV2017_08_121517.jpg

 

It also shows why I felt I was WAY too close to pan on jets flying at speed.  I backed up to this position, and got much better shots when panning.

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"The right mouse button is your friend."


@Waddizzle wrote:

@cicopo wrote:

Where was your jet event? Was it the New England Jet Rally? A few friends are attending it.


It was a week ago in the mid-Hudson Valley by the Hudson Valley RC club.  I probably have the official name wrong.  For what little I know about RC shows, I don't think it was a "jet event."  [The show was titled "Warplanes Over The Hudson"]

 

It was more like the local RC club put on a show, which featured all types of aircraft.  They had jets, props, and helicopters.  They even had an area where people could fly a virtual plane, and later on "fly" a real plane, with a real pilot acting as co-pilot.

 

[picture omitted] 

 

@EOS 1D Mark IV, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM - 1/400, f/5.0, ISO 100, @135 mm.

 

It was a heavily overcast when the jets were zipping about, which was when I first arrived.  I was still getting my exposure settings figured out, so this red jet was the very first one I photographed.  I was using a monopod.  I was using AI Servo mode with focus priority.

 

I quickly figured out that the monopod was not going to let me pan fast enough.  I think I was initially too close.  They were passing by at top speed at rather close range, less than 100 feet, for certain.  I would guess they were passing at about 3-4 car lengths away.


I'm astounded that they would let you get that close to a remotely controlled object going 200 mph. How is that different from standing a few feet from the target at a rifle range?

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA


@RobertTheFat wrote:

@Waddizzle wrote:

@cicopo wrote:

Where was your jet event? Was it the New England Jet Rally? A few friends are attending it.


 

 

I quickly figured out that the monopod was not going to let me pan fast enough.  I think I was initially too close.  They were passing by at top speed at rather close range, less than 100 feet, for certain.  I would guess they were passing at about 3-4 car lengths away.


I'm astounded that they would let you get that close to a remotely controlled object going 200 mph. How is that different from standing a few feet from the target at a rifle range?


Yeah, I thought it was too close, too, but I blame the pilots, more than anything.  We were on top of a hill, almost like a ridge line.  There was a sharp drop off to the left and right from the angle of that photo.  The top of the ridge was about 100 yards wide and several hundred long [and curved into an arc of about 90 degrees], which is not a lot of room at those speeds.  

 

However, the props did just fine, and I got some decent shots.  [The photo is the middle of the arc.  They had two "airfields" set up.  One at either end of the arc.]

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

That's a bit too close for spectators to be at the fields here in Canada but no idea what the rules are in the US. The US rules limit top speed to 200 MPH and Americans are expected to abide by that rule when flying in other countries. Here in Canada there isn't a speed limit but I'm thinking one will be coming as jets become more popular. Prices have come down & quality of the turbines & on board gyros have gone up. The electronic aids available these days really help keep them under control but there is no question that they are dangerous.

You did quite well in assessing what to do to get your photos. Moving back both reduces the difficulty of keeping it in the viewfinder and it also changes what would have been more of a belly shot into a much more appealing side shot. Hand held is the way to do it & a faster shutter speed was necessary especially as it comes towards you. If a model jet is flying at 170 MPH (which is relatively common for them) that's just a tad shy of 250 feet per second, which translates to 3 inches of movement in 1/1000 second of shutter speed. Your camera & lens can do this job once you get a bit of practice & find settings that work. 

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."


@cicopo wrote:

That's a bit too close for spectators to be at the fields here in Canada but no idea what the rules are in the US. The US rules limit top speed to 200 MPH and Americans are expected to abide by that rule when flying in other countries. Here in Canada there isn't a speed limit but I'm thinking one will be coming as jets become more popular. Prices have come down & quality of the turbines & on board gyros have gone up. The electronic aids available these days really help keep them under control but there is no question that they are dangerous.

 

You did quite well in assessing what to do to get your photos. Moving back both reduces the difficulty of keeping it in the viewfinder and it also changes what would have been more of a belly shot into a much more appealing side shot. Hand held is the way to do it & a faster shutter speed was necessary especially as it comes towards you. If a model jet is flying at 170 MPH (which is relatively common for them) that's just a tad shy of 250 feet per second, which translates to 3 inches of movement in 1/1000 second of shutter speed. Your camera & lens can do this job once you get a bit of practice & find settings that work. 


Okay, 250 feet per second is fairly quick, which is probably how fast they were going.  The jets would come and go in a blink of an eye.  Backing up also elevated me about 15 feet, or so, too.  The props were easy pickings compared to the jets, although some of the props may have been turbo-props because they were nearly as quick as the jets, just louder.

 

I need to experiment with focusing assist point modes before the next time.  What works for big bird does not work for model jet quite so well.  I have no idea when "next time" might occur.  This was as annual event, so maybe I might remember it next year.

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

On my 1 series bodies I use all points (AKA the ring of fire) & on my 7D2 I use all points when shooting against the sky & the center group (triggered by pressing a button on the rear) when there's background that may pull the AF away from the plane. The event you went to provided a nice variety of targets from what you've said, and each needs a different approach. If the heli pilots were flying 3D things get really hard to capture. When they fly 3D they punish every control on the heli & it's hard to predict where it will be at any given second of the flight once it takes off. As for speeds the larger prop powered warbirds fly in the 80-125 MPH range often and the electric ducted fan jets do too & some can get closer to 150 for a short burst (it's hard on the batteries) but gas turbines have no problems getting over the 150 mark. A very popular trainer jet is the Boomerang Sprint & they can be pushed to very close to the 200 MPH mark with a bigger than recommended turbine

 

34945667570_7697c868e2_o.jpg

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

Batfire2000
Contributor
Will do 😎
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