Plane crazy

N-Photo reader Mal­colm Brunt shares his amaz­ing im­ages of model planes soar­ing through the night sky – and through ex­plod­ing fire­works

NPhoto - - Over To You | The Apprentice -

When I first joined a model fly­ing club and started fly­ing, I was in my 50s. There’s a lot to learn and plenty of time wait­ing be­tween train­ing flights so I started to take my old point and shoot cam­era to the fly­ing field. This led me to an even greater pas­sion – pho­tog­ra­phy.

Ev­ery year I visit the We­ston Park Model Air­craft Show, fea­tur­ing the world’s top model plane pi­lots. This gives me the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate im­ages that show the beauty, ex­cite­ment and skill of fly­ing. In 2014, the or­gan­is­ers of We­ston Park put on a unique show, with dare­devil pi­lots will­ing to risk their model planes, which cost more than a Nikon D5, by fly­ing them in the dark, lit only by LED lights, lasers, py­rotech­nics and fire­works from the ground – all ac­com­pa­nied by mu­sic.

My first at­tempt at pho­tograph­ing this unique op­por­tu­nity was with my Nikon D7000 and a Nikon 18-105mm kit lens. I chose Nikon be­cause the D7000

was a break­through cam­era at the time, pro­vid­ing pro fea­tures at a com­pet­i­tive price. De­spite up­grad­ing I still have my D7000, and use it as a sec­ond cam­era.

Ini­tially I took long ex­po­sure im­ages last­ing any­thing up to 30 sec­onds on a locked-off tri­pod. While this cre­ated some colour­ful im­ages, they didn’t show the mod­els clearly. I needed to in­vest in faster equip­ment that would per­form at a high ISO.

With this in mind, I pur­chased the full-frame D750 and a Tam­ron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens to go with it. At the fol­low­ing year’s show I shot in RAW with my D7000 set to man­ual, but I needed to find the op­ti­mum set­tings. Ini­tially I had mixed re­sults, but I soon got into the groove. The key is to cap­ture the planes close to the fire­works, and to strike a bal­ance be­tween freez­ing the plane, and show­ing move­ment in the pro­pel­ler.

N-Photo says

These pho­tos are quite the treat for us, Mal­colm, as we haven’t ac­tu­ally seen pho­tos quite like this be­fore. They’re ex­cit­ing, dy­namic and full of tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise. To at­tain re­sults like these you must def­i­nitely have prac­tised a lot in the field with your Nikons. Your tim­ing is ex­cep­tional.

The ex­plo­sive red shot [1] is truly out­stand­ing and by far our favourite. It mixes the tech­niques of us­ing a high ISO and a wide f/2.8 aper­ture with a shut­ter speed of 1/320 sec to freeze the ac­tion mid-flight. The fire­works ex­plod­ing in the back­ground are the same colour as the soft red smoke that pours from the plane’s wings. The ex­tra sparkle around the plane

Dare­devil pi­lots are will­ing to risk their model planes by fly­ing in the dark, lit only by LED lights, lasers, py­rotech­nics and fire­works

adds an­other wel­come tex­ture to the black night sky. You can see the plane’s di­rec­tion sim­ply from the smoke bil­low­ing out be­hind it, and the wind di­rec­tion blow­ing it cam­era-left. It’s such a vivid photo that we can prac­ti­cally taste the fuel be­ing burnt by these in­cred­i­ble mod­els.

Your next shot [2] shows us the pi­lot sil­hou­et­ted by the model plane, which in­stantly pro­vides a sense of scale. With the planes in the air it can be hard to tell whether they’re small enough to fit un­der your arm, or full-size planes. Here we can see just how im­pres­sive the dis­play must have been up close. As with the first two. the last shot

[3] is pin-sharp, and demon­strates your abil­ity to track the move­ment. You’ve used the clas­sic set­tings we would have used – push­ing your ISO up to 1600 is fine on the D750. Yes, there’s a lit­tle noise in the cloud at the bot­tom-left, but the ac­tion at the top-right dis­tracts from this. What a unique se­lec­tion of pho­tos!

The ex­tra sparkle around the plane adds an­other wel­come tex­ture… It’s such a vivid photo that we can prac­ti­cally taste the fuel be­ing burnt

1 Nikon D750, Tam­ron 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO1600 2 Nikon D750, Tam­ron 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO1600

Nikon D750, Tam­ron 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO1600

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.