What a buzz! Finally having an aviation forum!
Anyone out there shoot at the redbull air-race? I've been going along to the pre-race days here in Perth for the past two shows, these are less crowded and seem to give better photo opportunities. But so far my "hit" rate of good shots hasn't been too great.
What sort of focal lengths are you using? How about shutter speeds and f-numbers?
#1. "RE: RedBull Air Race - hints & tips?" | In response to Reply # 0briantilley Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Wed 16-Apr-08 07:55 AM
Welcome to the Forum, Rob
I've not been to an air-race as such, but in general I agree that getting to the "pre-show" day can be a great idea if it allows you to get closer to the action and move around with less of a crush.
Typically, racing aircraft are pretty small - the largest I know of is/was a Grumman Tigercat twin-prop. The other problem is that they move pretty fast...! This means that you'll probably get best results by hand-holding as long as you practice your panning technique. Shutter speed should not be too high, otherwise you'll "stop" the prop and this always looks unnatural. The best speed need to be a balance; I generally use somewhere around 1/200th for prop planes.
As for focal lengths, this depends how close you can get. I generally use a 200-400mm or 70-200mm, but that's on a DX camera. I see your profile lists an F100 and 300mm f/2.8 - I would probably start with that lens; the fast AF will help, and consider adding a 1.4x TC if it doesn't give you sufficient reach.
#2. "RE: RedBull Air Race - hints & tips?" | In response to Reply # 1Jarryd_Barton Registered since 08th Dec 2006Thu 17-Apr-08 12:16 AM
Good to see an aviation forum popping up. And, the Red Bull Air Race is an awesome series.
I am still new to photography in general, and hence limited in my ability to pass on expert technique info. One thing I can pass on is when I photographed the Air Race in Perth last year, I only had one lens, an 18-200mm VR which woked pretty well as I found that such a large range of zoom allowed me to get action at both ends of the course from the one spot.
Hopefully the links below will allow you to see some of my images from last years Air Race finals in Perth. (If not, I will find another way to post them.)
#3. "RE: RedBull Air Race - hints & tips?" | In response to Reply # 0
Started to shoot the Red Bull Air Race past year for an aviation magazine with the Nikkor 80-400 with good results, but finally ended switching to the Nikkor 200-400 as aircrafts move really fast and with non-afs lenses you loss a lot of time while the lens is "hunting".
Regarding shutter speed...around 1/500 and "f" number...if is possible keeping it around "8" ok. It depends on the light
In this link is possible to see some Budapest RBAR pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xaf/sets/72157603122855831/
Xavi, a Nikonian in Barcelona
#4. "RE: RedBull Air Race - hints & tips?" | In response to Reply # 3bitmaker Registered since 13th Mar 2006Thu 17-Apr-08 02:41 PM
Here are a few shots from the Red Bull Air Race San Diego last September: http://bitmaker.smugmug.com/gallery/3588537_AXCUZ#243172532_tsTQZ I'll be shooting the race again in a couple weeks.
Blurring props is a function of shutter speed (of course ), subject distance, and focal length (the latter two variables are very dependent upon each other). Generally the more you can fill the frame with the aircraft the higher the shutter speed and still blur the prop(s). Conversely, the farther away the aircraft (smaller it is in the viewfinder) the shutter speed must be lower in order to blur the prop(s). Also, the power setting the pilot is using will play into the equation as well: an airplane taking off (full power) can be shot with a higher SS than one landing. A good place to start for in-flight shots (full or near full power) is 1/250 sec if you can put alot of the airplane in the frame (close subject or long focal length).
Hope this helps,
#6. "RE: RedBull Air Race - hints & tips?" | In response to Reply # 4ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Thu 01-May-08 02:05 PM
Thanks for the tips. I'm going to be in San Diego for a conference this weekend and was planning on shooting the Red Bull races on Sunday from the Marriott Convention Center.
#7. "RE: RedBull Air Race - hints & tips?" | In response to Reply # 0
Anyone going to the one here in Detroit. Anyone know of any good spot here on the Detroit side or the windsor ont side for Saturday May 31 for the qualifying. I have been waiting for this ever since i hear it was coming to detoit a few months back. I have a nikon D40 and a sigma 70-300mm APO for the event any suggestion on setting for getting the best picture i can i seen off other sights that they use the max 300mm focal. is panning with the pane the best or is focusing on a specific area then waiting for the plan to enter and then snap. any suggestion would be appreciated.
#8. "RE: RedBull Air Race - hints & tips?" | In response to Reply # 7harlqn Registered since 26th Mar 2008Fri 30-May-08 08:53 PM
I shot at the San Diego races earlier this month.
Try both panning and non-panning. You can achieve a little more variety with panning. Also, try tilting the camera.
I shot with the D40 and 70-300VR from the Coronado side, so the planes were pretty much front-lit (especially on that Saturday). Side lighting probably won't be available the time of day they fly and back lighting should probably be completely avoided since you're going to get relatively dark shadows (compared to front light) without any of the cool back lighting silhouette effects since the sun won't likely be low enough in the sky.
As was mentioned before, get some water, buildings, scale elements, etc. in your shots.
For the race here, it was the start of a Navy fleet week, so there were a lot of military demos near the course and there's a better than average chance that they'll hold an open pit wherever the planes are flying from. Don't be surprised if the open pit is on qual day but not race day.
It doesn't look like there is a Google Earth map for Detroit, but the map on the web site or PDF map should be detailed enough to figure out the locations to get the results you want.
Planes going sideways or at an oblique angle are good. Try not to pick a spot where the planes are headed directly at or away from you for most of the lap.
In case this was too subtle earlier... get there early. You'll be more relaxed so those tele shots will look smoother.
Try to shoot more than just tele shots. See the previously posted galleries for examples.
Don't forget the usual "I'll be outdoors for over 4 straight hours" gear.
Enjoy yourself. Watch a couple laps before shooting away like crazy. It'll help give you a better feel for how the planes move.
#9. "RE: RedBull Air Race - hints & tips?" | In response to Reply # 0
I was wondering what aviation photography was until I decided to open this forum today. This thread about Red Bull air race made me realise that I actually had some shots of planes
The following two are made with 300mm f/4 AFS lens on D200
f/4 and 5.6 respectively
Shutter Speed 1/4000 & 1/3000
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Attachment#2 (jpg file)
#10. "RE: RedBull Air Race - hints & tips?" | In response to Reply # 0