From the Pylons

I finally got a chance to get out the pylons for some real air action. Not easy to shoot. The jets are relatively easy since you can use fast shutter speeds. Of course, panning with a fast moving object (400+mph) thats close to the ground humbles you. Guys that do this all the time develop a sense of timing and the number of keepers goes way up.

This guy was filling the frame and moving so fast I got whiplash trying to keep him in the viewfinder. As promised on my Welcome page – I will share what I have learned about panning.

When it come to shooting planes with spinning propellers – the game changes – If you shoot with the same shutter speeds you use for jets (1/1000+) you get planes that look like they are hanging there with the propeller stopped dead. To get that spinning prop look – it takes 1/160 to 1/250 depending on the plane. Combine that with panning along with something moving 400+ MPH and you really find out how good technique pays off. Did I mention practice and more practice.

And just do you know I wasn’t kidding I kept a few of the losers to share – Unfortunately the count of losers verses keepers is relatively high – at least at my level. Losers due to “not sharp” and “not in the frame” Oh well – that’s the fun part of learning. Did I say what a humbling experience it is.

Needless to say – it can be a very frustrating experience as you work on your technique. The number of losers keeps mounting and the ego keeps taking a beating but perseverance pays off and you finally get a few shots that are worth the effort. As they say, even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut. The payoff and the desire to continue comes when someone else thinks you did a good job. That’s the stuff that keeps you going.

A special thanks to Moose Peterson and Jose “Sprinkles” Ramos and Richard Small for sharing their knowledge with me about what shutter speeds to use and their refresher on panning techniques with this relatively new guy to this type of work. That’s the fun part – sharing what you know and learning from others.

Leave a Reply