Monday, 8 December 2014

Aircraft Photography - Spitfire

I'm extremely lucky to be living 30minutes from an airfield which boasts several vintage warplanes including the much loved Spitfire.
I never get bored of photographing this aircraft and I'm always on the hunt to capture it as often as possible.

A few weeks ago the War birds society had an air show and rather than go with the crowds  I opted to position myself on the opposite side of the airfield just below a large tree line.
This proved to be very good for 2 reasons. [1] The sun was behind me for a few hours, [2] the aircraft generally made low level passes across the neighbouring field prior to flying over the run way.

I realised quickly that my zoom lens could possibly be an issue in having to focus and compose as they came low across a tree line then down onto the field. However I love a challenge and this day certainly provided that.

After figuring out roughly where the flight path was I set a manual focus across the top of the treeline and then sat patiently.
The first shot, came as a surprise, The spitfire came in very low and very fast. I had to track very quickly and got myself caught up by nearly falling into a ditch :)
Then after reviewing the shot I realised I still had the B/W setting on, but it looked ok and so I decided to leave it.
Quickly flicking back to Standard AdobeRGB Colour I re-focused and waited for the return flight.
The second was a little easier and I was happy to have the sun directly behind me as he rolled.
Often at air shows you are limited on where you can go so you have to go with the flow. But if you can get the sun behind then it will make all the difference.

The Black and white image had a much slower shutter speed (used AV mode) which came in around 1/100. even thou I got caught short I'm actually happy with the result as the motion blur gives it some depth and the prop motion blur is nice..
The second photo was taken with a much faster shutter speed by this time I had flicked back to Auto focus.  Perhaps the only thing I could do better was to drop the speed so as not to freeze the prop so much, however I like the angle and the fact that I have slightly cropped the wing, gives it some character.
Here are the results
F8 1/100 ISO200 Manual focus 280mm
F9 1/400 ISO200 300mm Auto Focus