Let’s face it, for aviation enthusiasts and photographers, 2020 was a dismal year with many of the major airshows cancelled across the country. Military demonstration squadrons were given orders to cancel shows and appearances and local airshows cancelled as well. With 2021 comes a newly renewed sense of excitement with many airshows in warmer areas of the country already up and running.
With the advent of airshows beginning to get up and running again, I thought I would pass along a few things that I have learned that might help make your airshow a success. The first being that light rules and when you have great light, that is king. Forget all else and get the shot. There are many rules but when the light is presenting you with a great opportunity it does not really matter where you put the aircraft in the frame, just get the shot.
Second, use a slower shutter speed to blur the prop and install a sense of motion. Photos of the plane with a frozen prop don’t instill movement. In the picture above I had both great light and was able to obtain a full prop blur at 1/80 of a second. Of course this also require proper hand-holding and panning. That brings me to another way to convey motion and that is blurring the background.
The clouds in the picture being blurred while panning give a sense of speed. Practice your handholding and panning techniques every day if you can so that when you get to your airshow you are ready to go and can make the most of the new airshows that are here.
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