Prop blur, what are your thoughts.

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Larry I
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Prop blur, what are your thoughts.

Post by Larry I » Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:32 pm

Seems like a very good place to discus this. I was taught it should be part of the learning curve to get more realistic looking photos. Many rely on high shutter speeds rather than technique to get sharp photos but it can be done at a low enough shutter speed to get both some prop blur & a sharp image. Panning practice & camera set up play a big part but nothing comes without practice. I really dis like seeing a multi engine plane in flight with no evidence the props are turning. Dead stick is common in R/C but not so often with full scale.
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RyanS
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Post by RyanS » Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:56 pm

I agree that prop blur is a big factor in getting good photos, and is an important consideration to someone who wants to improve. For people more new to taking photos I always suggest shooting props at 1/250th of a second, and working their way slower as they feel comfortable with the results. As you shoot, your learn some of the exceptions to that rule such as aerobatic planes where 1/320 is plenty of blur, or aircraft idling where 1/250 yields almost no blur. Eventually one learns how to adjust to any situation that arises.

For myself, I have been doing this long enough that I have plenty of photos that I feel are ok. These days I tend to swing for the fences and shoot even slower for a couple reasons.

One, any photos that do come out will likely be better and more special with more blur in them. Two, it limits the number of photos I need to spend time editing. If I can get 1 out of every 3 photos at 1/250th to come out, but only 1 out of 10 photos to come out at 1/125, I can trash a bunch off the bat and focus my efforts on the better ones. Of course, there are situations where I want to ensure I get at least one shot and I have to find a balance.

I also tend to shoot jets at slow shutter speed these days in hopes of getting some nice motion blur for the same reasons as above. Of course, in a featureless sky there isn't much of a point!
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Larry I
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Post by Larry I » Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:24 am

You're setting info is pretty close to mine but when I'm asked I tell people you can usually be at the fast end (1/320) for take offs when engine RPM's are up but you need to be in the 1/160 to 1/200 for landings & low & slow fly by passes. If you get the chance shoot a short burst at one setting & then the other. 1 good shot per pass makes me happy but I usually get more than 1.When I know I've got 1 or 2 good ones I sometimes push my luck & shoot at 1/60 & slower looking for a nice full disc. I don't get many I'd post but every so often I get a nice one.
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RFDGuy
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Post by RFDGuy » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:33 am

These guys are hard to get with much prop blur.....probably not as sharp as I'
Osprey11024C.jpg
Osprey11024C.jpg (60.59 KiB) Viewed 10840 times
d like.
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Larry I
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Post by Larry I » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:17 pm

I've never seen an Osprey & wondered what shutter speed it took to get a bit of blur. I don't do very well with Heli's unless they are in a hover or barely moving but I keep trying.
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Copperbeltjack
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Post by Copperbeltjack » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:45 pm

I'm on-board with what everyone's been saying. When it comes to shooting aircraft, the better presence of motion in the image the better. It really adds to a photo to show that the aircraft is moving, rather than a "plane-on-a-stick" model-like look that it shows when you freeze the props. It's difficult to do, but it really makes a difference. Take two shots, one at a higher shutter speed and another with a lower speed and see which looks better.
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CH-149 Cormorant - Abbotsford Intl. Airshow 2016
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That being said, I also think that partial-blur on a prop is acceptable too. Obviously, the goal is to get a "full-circle" of the colored prop tips, but again the idea is to show motion/movement in the photo to better portrait the aircraft is indeed flying. Not often do frozen props look right, and even in my early years photographing aviation in action I didn't care from frozen props like I tended to capture back then.
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DC-3 - AirVenture 2015
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However, aside from props, a lower shutter speed also works well to isolate the aircraft in an image with a background. That applies to anything like a prop-driven or jet-powered airplane. And, naturally, shows motion so win-win!
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F/A-18E Super Hornet - Aviation Nation 2016
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Developing that skill to pan and refine the practice was one of the better choices I've made, and I think my images have improved significantly as a result.
Last edited by Copperbeltjack on Wed May 03, 2017 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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grnbayhusker
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Post by grnbayhusker » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:13 pm

I definitely like the prop blur (or rotor in the case of a helicopter). Depending on if the subject is on the ground or in the air, I usually set my shutter to anywhere between 1/125 and 1/250. Anything slower than 1/125 and I generally don't get a sharp image (using a non-IS lens), and anything faster than 1/250 and there isn't much motion captured. But, for example, this photo of a CV-22 Osprey, I can't help but feel like the rotors are definitely turning and it just wouldn't be the same if the props were caught without any blur.

Image

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kapitan
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Post by kapitan » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:28 am

1/60 to 1/125 and pan if the aircraft is moving. Panning shows the moving motion of the aircraft.
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RFDGuy
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Post by RFDGuy » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:53 pm

kapitan wrote:
Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:28 am
1/60 to 1/125 and pan if the aircraft is moving. Panning shows the moving motion of the aircraft.
Yup.
For me it also depends on how many pics of the specific aircraft I have or how rare of a moment it is. If it the first appearance of a XXXXX then I'll probably shoot high at like 1/250 if not 1/320. Just to MAKE SURE I get something good out of it. If its just tons of civis or a T-6 that I have tons of pics of, I go simply for the crazy movement blur of 1/60th or slower and hope I snag a shot or two.
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AndyMedic
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Post by AndyMedic » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:52 pm

I like prop blur on takeoff and taxi shots. Its always good to challenge yourself if you have the chance to drop the shutter speed. Usually shows for me are a few days long so I can see what I have.

ImageIMG_4900 by Andy Backowski, on Flickr

This was the first day of a show for me and I really wanted this shot. It was shot at 1/320

ImageIMG_1002 by Andy Backowski, on Flickr


This was a taxi shot on its bajillionth pass on its 4th takeoff of the morning so I decided to challenge myself. It was shot at 1/25.

ImageIMG_9826 by Andy Backowski, on Flickr

Being able to drop that shutter speed takes some practice and skill. You can even just practice doing it to traffic passing by on the roads around you. Props disc give a nice sense of motion in the shot. There is nothing worse then a nice vintage warbird flying with a frozen prop.
Last edited by AndyMedic on Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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