Photography News Issue 57

Photography News | Issue 57 |



Shoot air shows Expert photographer Darren Harbar is internationally known for his aircraft photography. He also runs aviation photography workshops, and here presents some hints and tips on how you can get better pictures from some of the summer’s biggest outdoor events, air shows Days out

element of considering zooming in and out but there are several telephoto zooms that stretch that far. Whatever telephoto you choose, you may have the option of using a teleconverter, but stick to the 1.4x magnification as the bigger ones lose more light and could possibly slow your lens’s autofocus. For long telephoto lenses a camera support such as a monopod is an option but you’ll get better flexibility without one. Other than that, a good kit bag, perhaps a backpack for comfort, a decent lens cloth and a comfortable camera strap are recommended. Some food and water in the bag is also recommended. Air shows present a wide range of opportunities from static aircraft through to re-enactors and of course the various flying displays. The sun plays a big part in any air show and seasoned photographers will know the best spots to get the optimum shots

when the sun decides to turn up. There are many locations where the sun can be in front of you or to the side, which is not ideal for shooting subjects in the sky. The Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden in Bedfordshire is a photographer’s dream when the sun is out, because it sits behind the crowd. It’s common to witness people getting there early with trollies filled with chairs and windbreaks making a run for prime positions when the gates open. That’s not totally necessary, as the flying part of the day is generally above head height, so you can happily stand behind other people and still get a good view. Each air show has a different way of doing things. Static aircraft can often be surrounded by a mix of cones, barriers, trade stalls, skips, toilets and much, much more. The fun part is trying to avoid these things in your images,

Words and pictures by Darren Harbar

Capturing the action and atmosphere of an air show is a challenge. The action is fast and takes place some distance from you, and it’s usually busy so you have to contend with people getting in the way of your shots. The first thing to consider is what gear you need. For shootingaircraft ontheground, you’ll only need a short zoom such as a 24-70mm (or similar) standard zoom. For the flying subjects, you’re going to need at least 300mm, as the aircraft can’t fly too close to the crowd, and thus you need a decent telephoto reach to at least fill half the frame. Something like a 70-300mm is a good starting point, but a lens that takes you to 400mm is ideal. Personally I prefer a prime telephoto, as it focuses mymind on composition, rather than having the added

The sun plays a big part in any air show and seasoned photographers will know the best spots to get the optimum shots

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