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Old 26-08-2008, 10:10   #1 (permalink)
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Red Arrows come to Torquay

The Red Arrows are coming to Torquay on Wednesday. I have always wanted to take some good photographs of them!

Can anyone give me advise on how to photograph them effectively?

I only have a couple of lenses and my biggest is 320mm so on my digital camera it is less.

Hopefully it won't be raining and i can get some good shots

Thanks
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Old 26-08-2008, 11:28   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Red Arrows come to Torquay

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Originally Posted by rivanprincess View Post
The Red Arrows are coming to Torquay on Wednesday. I have always wanted to take some good photographs of them!

Can anyone give me advise on how to photograph them effectively?

I only have a couple of lenses and my biggest is 320mm so on my digital camera it is less.

Hopefully it won't be raining and i can get some good shots

Thanks
You have a Pentax K100 Rivanprinces and the 320mm lens will equate to 320x1.5 when fitted to your Pentax= 480mm. (in 35mm camera terms). Use a high shutter speed because at 480mm you will create your own blur due to camera movement unless the camera is on a tripod.
Brian
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Old 26-08-2008, 12:21   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Red Arrows come to Torquay

Sorrynto disagree with Brian but you will never get good shots of the Red Arrows with a tripod. If you want a bit of support, use a monopod with a ball-head so that you can track the planes freely. That is nigh on impossible with a tripod as the head is too fixed.

You shouldn't need a tripod though for the Red Arrows as most of your shots are going to be shooting into the sky which will generally be plenty bright enough for a decent shutter speed.

Go for a wide aperture to get as much light through as possible but make sure you are focusing on the subject itself. It is very easy to let the camera wander and you end up focusing on the BG instead of the planes, especially when there is land in the BG. In the air, the planes are easy for the camera to focus on quickly as they are the only areas of sharp contrast.

Try to get used to pre-focusing and predicting where the subjects will be. So for example, if you want to capture the planes doing a crossover, it is usually easy to predict where the main crossover point will be so aim there and focus for that point, get the camera in position and wait for the planes to come to you rather than trying to pan with them for that kind of a shot. If you try to track them, the focus will be changing constantly.

For shots of the planes in formation, get used to panning. Keep the planes in the same place in your viewfinder and pan with them, keeping the panning movement right through the shot. In other words you are moving from before you press the shutter and keep moving after you have pressed the shutter. This is the best way for two reasons: you will get sharper planes but you will also get blurred backgrounds so you'll have a better feeling of speed.

Be aware of the position of the sun. With the sun within 30 degrees of straight ahead, you will mostly be capturing silhouettes so don't expect them to look red. This is ok though as they are such iconic planes it is immediately obvious to anyone what they are looking at. With the sun at 90 degrees, you'll get the red and white of the underside of the wings much better when they are turning as the planes are tilted towards or away from you.

Smoke trails look more dynamic on the curve rather than straight so when following the 9 planes in formation, look for them climbing and then reaching their apex as the smoke behind them will be a lovely curve.

Don't feel you have to show the photos at the angle you took them. You can easily rotate the sky shots to present the planes at their most dynamic. Use diagonals to make shots more dynamic.

The display will always be in two main parts: first half is formation flying, second half is solos, crossovers, inversions and so forth. You might use a wider lens to get the formation shots and then switch to a telephoto for the dynamic 2nd hal;f shots. You won't need to keep changing lenses so it's worth being ready to switch if you haven't got a wide-range zoom.

Have a look on Pixalo for the Red Arrows as there are quite a few on here. I have some in my gallery as do several others. Take a look and get ideas. If there is a viewpoint that is relatively raised, you'll get better shots. Some of the shots of mine look almost as though I am in a plane alongside, simply because when they perform in Bournemouth (they are here on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this coming weekend!) I always position myself up on the cliff tops either side of the pier. The Arrows fly so low and on a line parallel to the beach that you can look almost straight across at them from the clifftops.

Finally, be prepared to have a lot of wasted shots, your success rate will be lower than for most other types of static shots but that is the beauty of digital photography. Shoot, shoot and shoot some more. Delete the rubbish and enjoy the good ones

Hope that is of help to you. Let us see a couple of your results

Cheers,
Rob
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Old 26-08-2008, 12:37   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Red Arrows come to Torquay

Best shot I've ever seen of them: 1/5000@6.3 and iso 500 on a 300mm head on shot
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Old 26-08-2008, 12:50   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Red Arrows come to Torquay

I have never used a K110d but I will add a couple of comments for what they are worth.

One review said that after about 3 RAW shots the buffer slows down. So I would shoot jpeg only. Things will happen very quickly.

You also want to think about using the burst mode especially for something like gippo break which starts with 4 plane flying straight towards the display line.

Trying to get the synchro passes spot on is very difficult so be prepared for some disapointment. On the other hand you can move planes about in Photoshop Not that I have ever done this . For the syncro passes I have used the view finder with one eye tracking one plane and keep the other eye open and look for the other plane. It is not easy but it does work. However you need a very high shutter speed to freeze the action.

Good luck
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Old 26-08-2008, 13:50   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Red Arrows come to Torquay

Thanks guys!!

What a lot to think about....!

I take it burst mode is the same as Continuous, what's the difference between Continuous and Continuous with bracketing?

I'll have a look on the red arrows website to get a heads up on the display.

Rob - if you go at the weekend enjoy! - if any shots ok i'll post them if not maybe next time.....
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Old 26-08-2008, 14:34   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Red Arrows come to Torquay

Continuous with bracketing will take a continuous series of shots but vary the exposure on each one, which is useful for trying out different exposures, or for making an HDR (high dynamic range) image, but not so great for the red arrows! So stick to just continuous
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Old 26-08-2008, 16:26   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Red Arrows come to Torquay

Thanks JMitchell - will do!

Good to know
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Old 26-08-2008, 23:41   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Red Arrows come to Torquay

Quote. Sorrynto disagree with Brian but you will never get good shots of the Red Arrows with a tripod.

Yes you are quite correct thanks Rob, a senior moment here. A mono is possible but pan with the action is the way I agree.
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