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Created 18-Aug-07
Modified 24-Jun-11
Airshows provide a great opportunity to photograph military and civilian aircraft at a close range. Airshows also present a multitude of photographic challenges such as mastering the technique of panning which can be difficult when photographing high speed jet aircraft at close range.

Here's some tips when photographing airshows with a dSLR:
1) You know, you really don't need a super telephoto lens (400mm or higher). They can be desirable, but you can make do with your 70-200mm or 70-300mm zoom. Buy a quality tele-extender for it.
2)Don't try to fill the frame. With today's high resolution dSLR's of 8-16 MP, you can easily crop closer without a significant loss of detail.
3) Use Shutter Priority. For hand holding, even with VR or IS, faster shutter speeds will help getting the sharp shot. If you have to raise the ISO higher, worry about any increased noise later in post editing. There's nothing worse than a blurry image and you want your images sharp! I would rather have a sharp image with a little noise than an unsharp one without noise.
For images of Prop driven aircraft, drop your shutter speed down to 1/100 to 1/500 sec if possible. Still handholdable, and you'll be able to blur the propeller nicely which is desirable in photographing these aircraft. A frozen propeller in flight does not show motion, so try not to do this.
4) Use Continuous Auto Focus if your camera/lens supports this feature. This can be very valuable when the aircraft approaches you, passes in front, and then leaves the flight line to exit.
5) Use Spot Metering if available. How many of your B-2, B-1, F-117, or Blue Angel shots come out looking like silhouettes? Spot metering can help, especially if the aircraft fills the frame.
6) Panning technique. This should have been the number one tip, probably the most important tip. Proper panning technique is critical to obtaining sharp results.

Rhode Island Air National Guard Air Show 2011

7 photos
Created 24-Jun-11
Modified 24-Jun-11
Rhode Island Air National Guard Air Show 2011

Rhode Island Air National Guard Air Show 2009

18 photos
Created 2-Jul-09
Modified 2-Jul-09
Rhode Island Air National Guard Air Show 2009

Rhode Island Air National Guard Airshow 2008

79 photos
Created 13-Nov-08
Modified 13-Nov-08
Rhode Island Air National Guard Airshow 2008

Rhode Island Air National Guard Air Show 2007

74 photos
Created 20-Aug-07
Modified 20-Aug-07
Rhode Island Air National Guard Air Show 2007

2007 Cape Cod Airshow and Open House

25 photos
Created 10-Sep-07
Modified 10-Sep-07
2007 Cape Cod Airshow and Open House

U.S. Navy Blue Angels

31 photos
Created 24-Aug-07
Modified 24-Aug-07
U.S. Navy Blue Angels

Royal Air Force Red Arrows

38 photos
Created 25-Nov-08
Modified 25-Nov-08
Royal Air Force Red Arrows