Airport-Data.com Forum Index  
  Airport-Data.com » Forums  Guest: Log in |  Register |  Search |  Memberlist |  Usergroups |  Profile |  Private messages |  FAQ 
Helicopter Photography       
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Airport-Data.com Forum Index -> Aviation Photography
  Display posts from previous 
Display posts from previous:   

  Helicopter Photography 
Author Message
Guy Pambrun



Joined: 21 Apr 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Abbotsford, B.C.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:44 pm    Post subject: Helicopter Photography Reply with quote

For the life of me I can't get the shutter speed right when I shoot choppers and I've been doing this as a hobby for a long time.

Here's what I know so far.

- The main rotor blades spin at a different speed than the tail rotor so it's easy to get a nice blur on the tail rotor. The mains are another story.

- It doesn't matter what shutter speed I select when the mains are in your direct line of fire they always appear stopped or at best a very slight blur on the tips. I expect that and know there's no way to stop it.

- When shooting aircraft in flight I always do it on Tv and select my shutter speed according to what's in the air... ie: jet or propped aircraft... and most often get a decent blurring effect. Props usually in the 1/320 or 1/240 sec range.

-With choppers I have slowed down my shutter speed to 1/60 sec and still do not end up with a decent blur even if the thing is directly above my head. What does end up happening at that slow of a shutter speed is I end up loosing a lot of sharpness due to motion blur. That said, it still doesn't give the effect I'm looking for.

If anyone has any tips to get a nice blurring effect on the main rotor blades I sure would love to hear about it.

   
Author Message
THoff



Joined: 28 Sep 2008
Posts: 98

PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure that there is a simple answer to your problem.

The "correct" shutter speed will depend on a number of factors, including how much rotor blur you are after, how much of a trade-off between rotor blur and subject blur you are willing to accept, and what type of helicopter you are photographing. Types with more, shorter main rotor blades will naturally have more blur than those with fewer, longer blades.

Personally I don't feel that a huge amount of blur is required to show the motion of the blades, and I don't want to get a blurred fuselage because I set the shutter speed too slow. I generally use a shutter speed of 1/200 for helicopters unless they are stationary or hovering.

The images below were all shot at 1/200 except for the last one, which I somehow managed to shoot at 1/250, and aside from the two-bladed types I think they all have acceptable main rotor blur.
















































   
Author Message
Guy Pambrun



Joined: 21 Apr 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Abbotsford, B.C.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The effect I have been trying to achieve is for the main rotor blades to be much more circular in effect. Much the same as the tail rotor. Unfortunately the only way I can see that happening would be to shoot video and then do a screen capture of one frame and that's not something I'm about to do. As far as still photography is concerned I don't think it's possible to end up with what I want.

I hung around a local helicopter base yesterday and tried every trick in the book and finally went back to what I've been doing for all these years.

   
Author Message
THoff



Joined: 28 Sep 2008
Posts: 98

PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Video would normally be shot at 30fps (NTSC) or 25fps (PAL), with shutter speeds typically half of that (a 180 degree shutter). That means that the video has the equivalent of a 1/60 or 1/50 still image exposure.

That's tough to pull off, in video motion blur on the fuselage and background is OK and even expected, but it just doesn't look right for still images where sharp edges are the norm.

   
Author Message
Ztex



Joined: 28 Aug 2007
Posts: 628
Location: DFW - GKY

PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah...helicopters are a tough nut.

I normally shoot helos @ 1/125 for general shots. If I have an opportunity for multiple attempts at one then I will bring down the shutter speed. 1/60 is about as low as I can go and still have a decent chance at a fairly sharp image...in good light. Even then parts of the machine can be blurred, either nose or tail comes out a bit soft. depending on the angle and speed of movement between me and the machine. Happens on Airplanes at low shutter speeds as well....

The shutter speed needed for decent rotor blur depends on the rotor system, two blades takes longer than a 3 blade...etc. Then again some rotors spin at slowere RPM's than others...One of the most difficult is the Huey.... big slow rotors. V-22's are difficult as well...

Most air to air photographers use a gyro to get nice stable shot for low shutter speed... $$$

Good panning technique and lots of frames per second from the camera helps quite a bit. Pan well and bang away. lol

1/125 sec


Slower stuff....

1/60 sec


1/60 sec


1/50 sec.


1/50 sec


1/80 sec


1/40 sec


and at a stable hover....camera resting on a post...holding my breath...lol
1/10 sec.

_________________
There I was at 20,000 ft, upside down and out of ammunition.

   
Author Message
Guy Pambrun



Joined: 21 Apr 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Abbotsford, B.C.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ztex wrote:

Good panning technique and lots of frames per second from the camera helps quite a bit. Pan well and bang away. lol

1/50 sec.


1/50 sec


That's a lot closer to what I have been wanting and I can't recall if I've ever done it at that slow of a rate. I know I've done 1/60 sec and depending what the helo was doing the results were mixed.

I think one of my issues is I try and get in a bit to tight with my lens and there really isn't any need to do that. The tighter one gets the steadier one has to be. I've been doing this for years and have great equipment so I'm going to try and back off a bit. I can always crop the shot if I have to.

Ztex wrote:

1/10 sec.


Bam! That's what I'm talking about Willis but 1/10 sec. How the heck did you manage that?

   
Author Message
Ztex



Joined: 28 Aug 2007
Posts: 628
Location: DFW - GKY

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guy,

That 1/10 sec shot was one of about 15 or 20 that I fired off when they were in a steady hover, taking water out of the pond. I was kneeling on the ground with the camera steadied on a guardrail post. I just held the button until the card ran out of buffer... and it's still not totally sharp. The tail must have been moving horizontally because none of the shots got a good focus on the lettering on the tail boom.

I was lucky to have had several chances that afternoon to try different things with that helo. I just wish I could have gotten a higher vantage point, above the rotor disc...I was afraid to venture very far off the road...the forest service had closed the area and we were only there as guests of an adjacent property owner.

It was a fun afternoon!
More shots from different vantage points.
http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/photos/N793HT:701468:1.html

_________________
There I was at 20,000 ft, upside down and out of ammunition.

   
Author Message
Alarm



Joined: 01 Aug 2016
Posts: 1
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wessex HC2 on exercise in West Germany 1976 moving Honest John missiles during a live firing week.


image.jpeg
 Description:
 Filesize:  517.21 KB
 Viewed:  2801 Time(s)

image.jpeg



image.jpeg
 Description:
 Filesize:  488.71 KB
 Viewed:  2801 Time(s)

image.jpeg



_________________
If it's not Broken then don't try to fix it

   
Author Message
Doug Robertson



Joined: 01 Nov 2005
Posts: 1589
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alarm, What is your purpose here? -you have given no shutter speeds of your helicopter rotor photos and no blur tips that were requested.
_________________
PP ASEL
Link to my photos- http://airport-data.com/photographers/Doug+Robertson:84/

   
Author Message
Guy Pambrun



Joined: 21 Apr 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Abbotsford, B.C.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Doug....

That was his first post so possible a " hit and run "????

   
Author Message
Doug Robertson



Joined: 01 Nov 2005
Posts: 1589
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Guy,

Thanks for the question. I wouldn't hazard a guess; and I have been to the UK twice conversing to some extent both trips. My first trip there was invited so I could give a paper at their Ministry of Defence.

I found the Welsh most likeable, and more in tune with easy-going Americans. Let's hope this starts no specious arguments. That was at a time long ago when the British Pound went from a system of 12ths to a system of 10ths. Purchased goods price changes had many customer ripoffs, with daily Press examples but that is not for this Forum.

_________________
PP ASEL
Link to my photos- http://airport-data.com/photographers/Doug+Robertson:84/

   
Author Message
red750



Joined: 22 Mar 2009
Posts: 229
Location: Melbourne Australia

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best rotor blur I have captured is this photo:

http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/photo/000297107.html

Exif data shows:


Camera: Samsung <Digimax S800 / Kenox S800>
Aperture: ƒ/4.5
Focal length: 17.0 mm
Shutter: 1/180
ISO: 50

_________________
Link to my photos:
http://www.airport-data.com/photographers/red750;4077/

  Re: Helicopter Photography 
Author Message
pilotdave



Joined: 26 Feb 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Helicopter Photography Reply with quote

Like with propellers on planes, the more blades, the easier it's going to be. My goal with helicopters is to at least get a full circle on the tail rotor. Typically that takes 1/100 to 1/80 shutter speed.

5 blades looks decent at 1/80...


Full rotor circle took 1/30 even with 5 blades:


2 blades doesn't even make it at 1/20. Plenty of blur though:


My only advice is practice and image stabilization.

Dave

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Airport-Data.com Forum Index -> Aviation Photography All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1
View previous topic :: View next topic  

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum

Copyright 2004-2011, Airport-Data.com. All rights reserved.
Airport-Data.com does not guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information on this site. Use at your own risk.
Do NOT use these information for navigation, flight planning, or for use in flight.