Thursday, May 28, 2009

How slow can you go?

There's a basic rule in taking photographs of flying airplanes, if they have a prop, make sure that prop is blurred. Obviously, the slower you can get the shutter, the more blurred it is. I did a quick calculation a couple of years ago and came up with around 1/250th of a second should keep the prop blurred through an arc.

This year, while I was shooting the Watsonville Airshow, I tried to see how slowly I could go. I started at 1/320, which had a reasonable amount of blur, then went to 1/250th (the image on the top.) I then went to 1/125th of a second (the image on the bottom.)

As you can see, the prop is more blurred. However, the hit rate for good photos was not nearly as high. I had more of a problem with camera shake, etc... I was also trying to shoot without the image stabilization, and on a monopod. All of this will make a difference.

I might be able to do more with IS and without the monopod. But practicing these panning shots improved my images. Even the difference between the first shots I made with 1/125 and the last ones I made is substantial.

I really have to respect the people who do this for a living.

Details: Canon Digital Rebel Xt. Canon 100-400 mm IS, manfroto 676B monopod with 3229 head

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