Way back in 2008 I wanted to get some panning practice in ahead of attending some Vintage Racing events. I had heard of a major radio control event about an hour from home & thought it would be perfect. At the end of my stay I talked to one of the organizers & volunteered to share my photos with him, which got me invited back to another major event but with full flight line access. One has to be cautious around the flight line & it's not a spectator zone but does provide a better vantage point some of the time. I say that because it's actually easier to pan with the very fast planes if you move back, especially the fast warbirds & jets when them make a low pass. I went through a lot of gear finding what worked & what didn't (many lenses just couldn't AF fast enough when you got of target for a moment). As for bodies most Canon DSLR's get the job done when set right but the more expensive ones have faster & more accurate AF systems for those days when it's dull & overcast. More FPS helps but is not necessarily what it takes for good results. I know more than 1 person shooting very successfully with Rebel series bodies & either a consumer grade superzoom or the Canon 55-250.
These photos are from this summers events & are a cross section of the kind of models popular with most pilots. Many are bought pre build but needing assembly, some are foamies which can be flown almost after opening their box & some are scratch built from kits or just plans. They can be powered by glow plug ignited engines, spark ignited gas engines, electric motors & electric ducted fans (jets) or real minature gas turbines which burn kerosene, diesel fuel, or Jet A.
More later. I'll cover the full season of events.
A few more samples. For those wondering what gear I use my primary set up is a 1D4 with either a 28-300 L IS for the flight line stuff (take off / landing / low passes) & a 7D2 with a Sigma 150-600 C but at times I swap the lenses between them. I use a 1Ds2 for most static stuff & a few times this season put an old 1D2n back into service so that I could have a 300 f 2.8 L IS ready for use too. For cockpit & other macro style stuff I rely on a G9. For those of you that rely on lens reviews when shopping keep one thing in mind, critical sharpness is a useful test in lab testing but is of very little relevance when panning a fast moving target. Your panning skills will have a more important role in getting a sharp image than having a super sharp prime lens. Over the years I have used several 'superzooms" & still own & use the obsolete 35-350 L & ver 1 of the 100-400 L IS & get great results even though they are considered as being soft compared to most good primes.
Moving on to some other events (today's wasn't that well attended & Hurricane Harvey's remnants should cancel tomorrows part of it).
Although it almost disappears into the weeds it rose again. There were lots of grass stains on the rotor blades when it landed
As the summer went by we had more jet events locally. The primary reason / purpose was to bring together experienced jet pilots & new or those contemplating moving up to jets together to learn which trainers worked well along with how things work. Jets have come down in price & the quality has gone up.There is a lot of interest in them locally but just a few long time pilots are around. The events have been very successful & given me many opportunities I didn't have without taking very long drives.
The jet above is making a high speed speed pass (flaps up) while the one below is making a nice slow pass using it's flaps to stay airborne at such a low speed. I learned that it cashed last week doing a pass that was too slow. I hope it's repairable because it's a pretty expensive air frame.
The local season is coming to an end soon, but may get extended by another event in mid Oct but it's not really local to me. May go depending on weather & available time but for now here are a few more photos. All of these are from the same event, which is the first event I was asked to photograph back in 2008. It has become the largest Giant Scale event in Canada & is in the top 3 in North America. This year marked it's 30th Anniversary.
Thanks. I'll add the last batch of in flight shots tomorrow & then add some static stuff to show the scale of some of the larger models. Even really big ones don't look that large until someone picks them up or stands one on a wing tip for a photo.
These are from the last 2 regular events on the schedule that I usually attend. There are some events on the schedule but they are either small or not great for photography. I rarely attend glider events & aerobatic competitions now because all the flying is done well away from the flight line leaving just the take off & landing as photo ops. You can photograph the planes but atmospheric haze really plays a big part in softening your image after having to crop deeply. Noise in the sky also play havoc when you need to crop away most of the image even when you have a 600 mm lens on a crop body. The one event in mid Oct that has just been announced is getting a good response & is a "Hucking" event which is when pilots do just about anything possible aerobatically with their airplane. The first batch of photos in my thread are from a Huckin event. The crazyness all goes on near the flight line & it's not unusual for several planes to get wrecked or totally destroyed.
Photos from here on are to show the scale of models flown at some of these events. I've gone back a ways for a few that really put things in perspective because the planes are standing up beside their owners. When they are sitting on the ground they look big enough but not as big as they really are. It's common these days for models to be anywhere from 20% to 50% the size of the real thing & sometimes even larger.