BOONER's Blog

Adventures, Photography, And more


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Adding a Sense of Movement to Avaition photos

Aviation photos can be tricky. If you put your camera onto a sports mode (if you have it) and take a picture of a plane in the sky you can end up with a photo of an airplane hanging in the middle of a blue sky. It almost looks like a model and not a real photo.

Hanging Aircraft

The interstate cadet in this photo just looks like it hanging by strings

One way to get around this is to try and use some techniques to give the plane some movement. In the photo below I have slowed the shutter speed down to make the props be a little blurry. This adds some movement into the picture. In this case the aircraft also takes up more of the frame which helps to make it more interesting when the background is only sky.

Liberator with blurred propeller blades

The blurred propellers adds some movement to this photo.

Another way to add movement is to add a background with more than just sky to give it context. In this picture we can see the blurred props, but also the mountains emphasize the turn, making the movement of the aircraft’s turn stand out. The aircraft is also photographed from the front. In general there is a greater sense of movement when looking towards the front of the plane rather than the side or from the rear.

Liberator head on

The mountains in the background provide a static reference for the airplanes attitude to emphasize the turn

Placement in the frame can also add a sense of movement. People often interpret diagonal lines with a sense of movement. As an illustration below I have a plane at an airshow with smoke on. The smoke starts in the corner of the frame as the plane moves towards the centre. This provides a sense of movement as the viewer of the photo traces the plane and smoke diagonally with their eyes creating the sense of movement.

Diagonal Aviation Example

Gene Soucy's aircraft dives out of the corner of the frame to give a sense of movement

A final technique is to use panning. In this technique the shutter speed must be slow. Pan with the aircraft in your viewfinder/LCD and click the shutter button. When you click the shutter button make sure you keep moving the camera following the aircraft until the pictures has finished being taken. This can create a photo with a sharp aircraft but the background being blurred giving a sense of speed.

Panning Aviation Example

The blurred background caused by the panning technique give a sense of speed to the Cessna Citation

As with all photography, these are guidelines and sometimes the exact opposite can produce a stunning photo. However these are some good tools to use to create more dynamic aviation photos.

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New Lens, Sigma 100-300 with the Snowbirds

I always have wanted a professional level telephoto for my aviation. Late in June I saw a post on Craigslist for the Pentax version of the Sigma 100-300 F4 EX DG, a fantastic lens. This lens works great with a teleconverter and is regarded as one of the best lenses for aviation. This lens has been discontinued so I was excited to find it. Needless to say I purchased it.

For information on this lens see sigma photo

Here is picture of the new lens next to my old telephoto. It is quite the beast

Telephoto Lenses (Sigma 100-300 F4 EX DG & Pentax FA 80-320 F4.5-5.6)

Telephoto Lenses (Sigma 100-300 F4 EX DG & Pentax FA 80-320 F4.5-5.6)

On Wednesday the Sigma had it’s first real test with the snowbirds flying over white rock. Here are a few photos.

Snowbirds coming over the top of a loop in diamon formation

Snowbirds coming over the top of a loop in diamon formation

Snowbirds changing formation in a loop

Snowbirds changing formation in a loop

Snowbird in formation over the ocean

Snowbird in formation over the ocean

Snowbird 8 in an inverted pass

Snowbird 8 in an inverted pass

2 Snowbirds in the mirror roll

2 Snowbirds in the mirror roll

7 snowbirds in formation

7 snowbirds in formation

I barely arrived on time as they started early and my camera settings were not optimal for shooting aviation for much of the time, however the results are still worlds ahead of my old Pentax FA 80-320mm. This lens still requires you to shoot with good technique to get the results, but I think the results are good and will get better as I sharpen my technique.

For the full gallery you can go to my photo gallery site booner.zenfolio.com


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Returning to a previous location, Shannon Falls

One aspect of capturing better photos is to return to a location. For outdoor areas conditions can change giving different shots and perspectives that were not possible before. You can also return knowing what shots did and did not work allowing you to explore different possibilities to expand on what went well or to avoid what does not work.

This summer I returned to Shannon Falls. There was more water coming down the falls compared to last time I had visited. On my previous trip I was not happy with the results I had and only posted one photo of the falls that I was marginally happy with. This time I was tempted to take similar photos as the ones from the year before. Knowing that they did not work last year I decided to be more creative and get some crops and wider angles instead of just a picture of the waterfall itself.

Previous Year’s Photos

Shannon Falls 2010

Shannon Falls 2010


This Year’s Photos

Close up of a small section of shannon falls

Close up of a small section of the falls

The top of Shannon Falls

The top of the falls

Visitors View of Shannon Falls

Visitors View of Shannon Falls

I am quite happy about the photos I shot by returning to the location and trying something different. Hopefully I will return again in the near future and try to get something new out of a visit to Shannon Falls. A link to the full Gallery with more shots of the Falls and “The Chief” can be found at my photo site booner.zenfolio.com


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Power Lifting

A couple weekends ago I had an opportunity to go see a power lifting competition. I was impressed to see how ridiculously strong these people are and how positive everybody is in cheering the other competitors on.

In my photos I did my best to try and emphasize the amount of weight that the competitors were lifting. Note that with the heaviest weight class was lifting 400-600 pounds doing bench press, squats and dead lifts.

Bench Press

Ryan on one of his 3 bench press attempts

Chad performs a dead lift

Chad performs a dead lift

Chad does a single squat with 654 pounds.

Chad does a single squat with 654 pounds.

Click to see all the photos from the meet at my photo site


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I almost had the shot – backgrounds.

I found a spot for a great picture. All I needed was snowy mountains, a clear day and aircraft landing. I waited for winter for my snowy mountains. Winter came, and as usual there was lots of rain. And More rain. And then when you thought it couldn’t rain any more, it did.

Finally a clear day with snowy mountains arrived so I rode my bike down to the local airport. All I needed now was for the planes to start landing on runway 19 and they would cross perfectly in front of the Golden Ear mountains. Unfortunately the tower was getting the planes to land on runway 01. So being unable to get the picture I wanted I decided to make the best of it and see what I could get.

A Cessna taking off of runway 01

A Cessna taking off of runway 01

This Cessna taking off wasn’t a bad picture, but with only blue sky it is kind of boring, so I decided to change my position to see if I could get something more exciting.

Cessna Takeoff With Dynamic Background

Cessna Takeoff With a more exciting background

This was better, with it being close to winter solstice there was already a hint of yellow in the light and the clouds and trees make the picture more dynamic. But I thought I might be able to do even better if I move to the other side of the airport.

Piper Cheroke FKKF taxing for takeoff

Piper Cheroke FKKF taxing for takeoff

I was excited to see this Piper as it was a plane I had flown when I attempted to get pilot’s license many years ago. A lot of good memories in that 50 year old aircraft.

Piper Cherokee FKKF Taking Off

Piper Cherokee FKKF Taking Off

As FKKF took off I was able to capture the mountains I originally wanted too, although it is not at all close to the photo I had envisioned.

Float Plane Landing

Float Plane Landing

I always find it difficult to make plane shots interesting. Here I tried zooming in on this float plane so you couldn’t see the whole aircraft which I had hoped made the picture more dynamic then the picture below where the whole aircraft is in the frame.

Cessna Landing on 01

Cessna Landing on 01

The location I was at allowed me to get very close to the aircraft that were landing on runway 01. The sun was directly across from runway 01, allowing these almost silhouetted shots.

Landing

Landing

Landing 2.0

Landing 2.0

So I didn’t get the picture I was hoping (I can’t wait for another sunny day to try) but I got a good bike ride in on a cold crisp day. I also enjoyed practicing taking photos of aircraft with backgrounds other than blue sky, hopefully making the photos more interesting.


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Adventure: Herrling Island

Photos rarely, if ever come to you. You usually must go out and seek them. This past weekend I went out with some friends to explore Herrling Island. While we never found any abandoned buildings (people used to live on the island some time back) it did allow for some fun hiking and some photography.

After a short hike we find the beach that looks across the Fraser. The low lighting and clouds made a lot of shots tricky without a tripod but it gave a lot of the pictures a moody feel.

A moody view of a mountain across the Fraser river

A moody view of a mountain across the Fraser river

Here are my fellow adventurers looking across at the view which gave me the photograph above.

The explorers looking over the Fraser river

The explorers looking over the Fraser river

There is a lot of wildlife on Herrling, although we never saw it directly. There were lots of deer tracks as well as a perfectly shaped paw print from some bear tracks.

Bear Paw in the sand

Bear Paw in the sand

And rocks! Herrling island has lots of them!

Rocks

Rocks

There are lots of trails which means there were lots of decisions we had to make on which way to go.

The explorers discuss which of the many trails to take

The explorers discuss which of the many trails to take

No matter where you go you can always find junk from humans. Whoever brought this car in really had to work at it. I always find slightly desaturating photos of abandoned objects emphasizes the fact it is abandoned.

An abandoned car in the middle of the island

An abandoned car in the middle of the island

The clouds began to lift which made it hard to get photos without the sky being blown out. However I still got a few more good pictures.

A look at a stream that runs through Herlling Island

A look at a stream that runs through Herlling Island

Fall colours and mist

Fall colours and mist

The signs of autumn were all around but the hundreds of Canadian geese migrating overhead were the exclamation point.

Canadian Geese on their way south

Canadian Geese on their way south

Fording “rivers” can be tough. Fortunately there were some experts to show me how it is done.

An attempt to jump the stream

An attempt to jump the stream

Finally, the obligatory shot of our trusty vehicle.

Our Exploration Vehicle

Our Exploration Vehicle