Sunday, April 12, 2009

Airfest 2009-Cross Purposes


One of the aerobatic treats that you often see at these airshows is two planes flying towards each other at a high rate of speed, then they pass with seemingly no space between them right at show center. Every year I see this, and every year I try to get shots of the two planes as close to each other as I can. Here are three shots of the Thunderbirds I got in this situation. The top one is the best, but it's far from a perfect picture. The plane in focus is the one I was tracking, the blurry one is moving in the other direction at several hundred miles per hour, so you can perhaps understand the blur.

In the shots above an below, the planes weren't headed straight at each other, instead they were coming together from 90 degrees apart. That made it a lot easier for me to get both planes in the shot, and may explain why I got two pictures like this, and only one of the other type. To get these shots, I predict when we're going to get a pass like this, track one plane, and as they approach show center, I lay down on the shutter release and let fly with the shots until any possible pass is over. I wind up with 10-20 shots taken less than a third of a second apart, and I either got the picture or I didn't. If I wait until I see the second plane in the viewfinder, it's too late to take the picture. Trust me, it's that fast.

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