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HelicopterMain Discussion › Heli Photography
08-07-2007 10:12 PM  10 years agoPost 1
funflyer2006

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CC, Iowa

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Got a question for you guys who are into the serious heli photography. I'm assuming you are all using DSLR's just about, thats what I have any way and would like tips for using one. When shooting (action/while flying) do you guys prefer manual or autofocus and why? What kind of lenses are you using as well? Also what shutter speeds and apperatures are you using? Just curious here.

Thanks,
Zach

I LOVE MY EVO!!!

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08-07-2007 10:16 PM  10 years agoPost 2
legoman67

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Nanoose Bay B.C,​Canada

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i would post this in the arieal photography section.

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08-07-2007 11:42 PM  10 years agoPost 3
funflyer2006

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CC, Iowa

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But its not aerial photography I'm asking about...

I LOVE MY EVO!!!

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08-07-2007 11:49 PM  10 years agoPost 4
BJames111

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San Diego,​California

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I think he's talking about taking pics of heli's in flight.

I wish I knew.

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08-08-2007 12:12 AM  10 years agoPost 5
andres.c

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pan

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Well a long lens 200mm to 300mm gives you that look like this one from jamesc gallery

not if you want to stop action like this one from B.T.D.T.'s gallery

you need to practice panning while the subject is in motion

and depending on the effect you want whether it is to capture motion or just a great shot from far away you can set you shutter speed to different settings high numbers will help in action photography - just a little info there

and no this is not an aerial photography subject

some of mine from mine gallery




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08-08-2007 12:31 AM  10 years agoPost 6
maxpower097

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none

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Just crank up the shutter speed to 1/2000 + and it will stop them cold.

I shot this with 1/2000 sec and a 300mm lens. The cars were traveling 195MPH.

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08-08-2007 02:24 AM  10 years agoPost 7
legoman67

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Nanoose Bay B.C,​Canada

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08-08-2007 02:48 AM  10 years agoPost 8
ddierking

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St Charles, MO - USA

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I use a Nikon D70 and a 200mm Nikon lens. I set the shutter to 1000 or more and let the camera choose the aperture. If you want more control, play with both the shutter speed and aperture. I also set for continuous shoot so I get multiple pictures as I follow the object (helicopters of course). Here are a few of my pics.

Dan the Man
"I change helicopters almost as often as I change my underwear"

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08-08-2007 03:32 AM  10 years agoPost 9
B.T.D.T.

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NY

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It depends on what you want to show. And how deep are your pockets.

Photography is just like helis. With photograph you shoot, shoot & shoot and helis is burn fuel , burn fuel & burn fuel.

If you want frozen shots shoot with high shutter speed. If you want shots that shows speed I used 1/250 and panning.

To have clear crisp shoots you need a good fast prime lens.

I want Fast Prime Lens but can't justify it. I opt for a travel zoom lens.

My set up is a Nikon D200/18mm to 200mm VR.

The shot andres.c pointed out of mine was not sharp. I rushed to upload pics but did not look through all 580 of my shots of the funfly. It show the speed of the heli but the heli should have been sharper. Note to self, NEED A FASTER LENS.
Here are some sharper pics of the heli in motion.

Slowed shutter speed to 1/60

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08-08-2007 04:21 AM  10 years agoPost 10
KC

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WA

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I use dslrs and all sorts of lenses, but my faves are wide angles like this,

a lens of 100mm to 300mm and a shutter speed of 1/500th to 1/1000th is a great starting point.

fwiw, you don't have to break the bank to get good pics, but you should get together with your pilot or photographer (I switch off a lot) and have a plan if you want to get a certain kind of shot.

I prefer to manually focus in the area where the machine will be and use AF when I need to correct for it.

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08-08-2007 05:39 AM  10 years agoPost 11
Girard Ibanez

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Tucson, Arizona​(formally from Guam)

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To get an idea of the above pix in the thread ... would it be possible to post the EXIF information?

Thanks,

Girard

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08-08-2007 05:43 AM  10 years agoPost 12
Girard Ibanez

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Tucson, Arizona​(formally from Guam)

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B.T.D.T.
Note to self, NEED A FASTER LENS.
Are you talking about the F stop of the lens? Also, how do you like the Nikon D200 w/18 -200mm VR lens and or what you dislike about it.

Seems like a good setup.

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08-08-2007 07:20 AM  10 years agoPost 13
funflyer2006

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CC, Iowa

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Yeah also curious as to what you mean by "faster lens". And any more on info on whether you use manual or autofocus?

I LOVE MY EVO!!!

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08-08-2007 07:22 AM  10 years agoPost 14
Ghostrider

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San Diego, CA

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Shoot on shutter priority or time value. Let the camera pick your f-stop. If the heli is moving for example in forward flight, pan with the heli and snap the shot. Dont stop panning though when you take the picture just keep panning through the picture. If you are panning at the same speed as the heli as it crosses in front of you, you can use shutter speeds down to a 1/30 of a second. Because you are panning at the same speed, the background will be a complete blur (showing speed) but the heli itself will be crystal clear with the exception of the rotors.

Having said that, I like to set my shutter speed around 1/125 or 1/250 because I want to see the blade blur. If you shoot with a faster shutter speed, the blades will not look like they are moving and it just does not look right or give you that action shot.

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08-08-2007 03:06 PM  10 years agoPost 15
B.T.D.T.

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NY

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I love this setup. The D200 is a bit heavy but it's real nice. It shoots 5FPS at the fastest setting. Get a BIG CF card.

The 18-200 is a nice travel len. It has a nice zoom range so you don't need a few lens to carry when on vacation, but there are trade offs. Trade offs for this lens, but remeber it's a 11:1 zoom, it's not a fast lens. F stops 3.5 - 5.6. Not 1000% sharp but it's still good. On the corners of the shot when shooting @200 into the bright sky, you will see it darken. Just crop it . Overall it's a great len.

My has lens creep when the camera is pointed downwards the zoom lens will extend out. Faster lens means bigger F stop opening, lower number.

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08-08-2007 03:29 PM  10 years agoPost 16
KC

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WA

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fast primes are nice but you don't need one to get sharp action shot images, especially for panning shots.

almost all pilots have a routine or habit, and like motorsports, the motion is fairly trackable with any kind of lens you have available if you watch for a while before shooting.

this is with a very slow zoom but I knew the pilot would bust out some tic tocs close in and I waited for that,

tic tocs and piroflips are a fairly stationary maneuver which improves the odds of getting a sharp tight shot of an aerobatic maneuver.

a thing to remember is that most fast or big maneuvers arent going to translate well as still images, so it helps to watch the flying, then experiment with different shutters, etc.

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08-08-2007 03:35 PM  10 years agoPost 17
Two Left Thumbs

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Houston, Texas - USA

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Great shot KC! Really nice. I hope you had a long cable release

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08-08-2007 03:36 PM  10 years agoPost 18
BarracudaHockey

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Jacksonville FL

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I use the Sony with the 28 to 200 lens. Shot on shutter priority mode with around 1/200 you get some good blade whip.

Left in auto mode you get more of a freeze frame because it chooses a faster shutter speed.

Andy
AMA 77227
http://www.jaxrc.com

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08-08-2007 03:56 PM  10 years agoPost 19
KC

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WA

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thank you 2nd shot is not as close as it looks..300mm focal length at about 25 feet.

I do use a 5m cable for wide angle shots.

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08-08-2007 05:06 PM  10 years agoPost 20
mark fadely

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indianapolis,​indiana

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Great shots guys. It's exciting to see so many skilled photographers in our hobby now. As most of you know, I love taking pictures too. A lot of really great photogs have helped me over the last few years. Heli action photography is difficult to say the least. I shoot a lot of sports and wildlife as well and I can say helis are the hardest. Check out this forum to get advice from some of the best photogs worldwide - http://www.fredmiranda.com

The people there are great and the wealth of knowledge is unreal. A lot of the pros that post there are guys shooting NFL, NBA and pro baseball just to name a few. A lot of the shooting techniques for these sports translate to heli photography.

It is also a great place to get equipment reviews from real users.

If you read RC Heli there will be a column about heli specific photography in the next issue.

If anybody is going to be at ircha look me up. Maybe we could shoot together for a while.

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