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Camera technique Questions and advice on how to improve your picture taking can be posted here. This board is discussion beyons the basics, which are catered for in the 'Help and advice for beginners' board.

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Old 27-08-08
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Helicopter display

I'm going to an aerial display tomorrow, which will apparently be mostly helicopters. There is a competition for the best amateur photo of the event, and I'd like to give it a try!

Does anyone have any advice on taking pictures of this sort? The only 'helicopter' picture I've taken before was a straight snap against the sky.

Thank you.
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Old 27-08-08
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Re: Helicopter display

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Originally Posted by ryme-intrinseca View Post
I'm going to an aerial display tomorrow, which will apparently be mostly helicopters. There is a competition for the best amateur photo of the event, and I'd like to give it a try!

Does anyone have any advice on taking pictures of this sort? The only 'helicopter' picture I've taken before was a straight snap against the sky.

Thank you.
I'm no expert at this sort of thing, but I would suggest that shutter speed is all important. Do not select a speed that freezes the rotors, but one that shows a continuous blur of them. I'm not gonna suggest what that might be, you will have to experiment. Good luck anyway.
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Old 27-08-08
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Re: Helicopter display

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Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
I'm no expert at this sort of thing, but I would suggest that shutter speed is all important. Do not select a speed that freezes the rotors, but one that shows a continuous blur of them. I'm not gonna suggest what that might be, you will have to experiment. Good luck anyway.
Thank you. I've just checked the shutter speed of the straight 'snap' I took a while ago and it was 1/2000 sec. The camera selected that as at the time I hadn't got past using the 'programs' on the camera dial, and it was just set to Auto.

I'm thinking that if I use a polariser, it will allow me to slow down the shutter speed a little.
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Re: Helicopter display

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Originally Posted by ryme-intrinseca View Post
Thank you. I've just checked the shutter speed of the straight 'snap' I took a while ago and it was 1/2000 sec. The camera selected that as at the time I hadn't got past using the 'programs' on the camera dial, and it was just set to Auto.

I'm thinking that if I use a polariser, it will allow me to slow down the shutter speed a little.
Indeed, it would, but put your camera on shutter priority which will give you the control you need.

As a matter of interest what did the rotors look like on the shot taken at 1/2000sec
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Old 27-08-08
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Re: Helicopter display

I'm just a bit worried about overexposing it if I slow it down too much.

Here's the pic I took at 1/2000 sec:


Not the most exciting image unfortunately. I took another at 1/800 sec. which wasn't much different -the blades show a tiny amount of movement, but although the helicopter itself is sharp, the movement in the blades just makes it look like camera shake really.
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Re: Helicopter display

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Originally Posted by ryme-intrinseca View Post
I'm just a bit worried about overexposing it if I slow it down too much.

Here's the pic I took at 1/2000 sec:


Not the most exciting image unfortunately. I took another at 1/800 sec. which wasn't much different -the blades show a tiny amount of movement, but although the helicopter itself is sharp, the movement in the blades just makes it look like camera shake really.
OK so you know that 1/800sec is still too fast. Try 1/500sec then 1/250sec.

You can see from the above that the blades are frozen and the helicopter looks static, as though the rotors have stopped and the aircraft is about to fall out of the sky. I'd suggest if you can get a full 360 degrees of blur it would look much better.

The recent bike racing pics of Dave's show the principle well, and he has chosen a speed that burs the wheels rather than freezing them, they look much better.
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Old 27-08-08
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Re: Helicopter display

Okay, thank you. That's why I like digital so much - I can take lots of 'practice' snaps until I find the right speed, then hopefully take some decent ones. Thank you for the advice. Knowing my luck, it will pour with rain all day tomorrow.
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Old 11-07-13
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Re: Helicopter display

Hi Ryme-intrinseca,
Just saw this post of you and couldn't help wondering how those helicopter photos you took on 28-07-2008 came out. Did you post some in your Gallery? Would love to see the results. Maybe I can give some comments on them.
Also read my article about photographing airplanes: http://dpnow.com/forum2/showthread.php?t=13069
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