Landing aircraft

Last weekend I was again at one of the runways of our airport to watch, experience and photograph landing airplanes. It is always a thrill to stand between the runway lights and the landing aircraft is passing over you extremely low. You can hear and even feel the power of these machines. I love to be there! Last time I took photos there was in January.

20mm  f/10  1/640sec  ISO100
This time the weather was much better. I had a blue sky with some clouds, which gave a perfect background. For the image composition I framed the scene in away that both the landing lights and the airplane are visible. This increases the impression of being near the touch down point. With a short focal length you get the scene a bit malformed. The airplane appears longer with shorter wings. When shooting airplanes you typically use fast shutter speeds to get the airplane sharp. This is what I did first. The result turned quite nice. The plane is sharp and the runway light as well. I love that plane because it had a special livery with lots of hearts all around the fuselage and wings. Lovely one. For those who are interested: It's a Boeing 757-200 from German airline Condor.

45mm  f/32  1/20sec  ISO100
After some time I got the idea to try out something different. I wanted to know how it looks like if I choose a lower shutter speed and let the airplane being motion blurred. This could increase the impression of a moving airplane. So I switched my camera into Tv mode and selected the lowest possible shutter speed without overexposing the image. This resulted in very high exposure values. Since I had not tripod with me I had to stabilize the camera by pressing it to some fence. I wanted the runway light to be sharp and the airplane motion blurred, so I tried to not move while the plane was passing over me. With a longer focal length the airplanes appears larger and therefore more blurred. As I already mentioned in my former aperture experiment post the extremely high aperture value comes with some disadvantages. One is diffraction of light at aperture blades. This results in lightly blurred image. You can correct it by re-sharpening the image. The biggest disadvantage is the appearance of dirt spots. High aperture values make all the dust particles on your sensor visible. I had a lot of work with this photo in post-processing to remove all the dark spots. But in the end the final image turned out perfect. I love that motion blurred plane, even if I cannot identify it anymore.

The photos were shot with my EOS 600D and my EF-S 18-55mm kit zoom lens. For the first photo the camera was set into P mode and calculated aperture and shutter speed automatically. Due to the sunny sky I chose a fixed ISO value of 100. For the second photo I switched into Tv mode, as I already mentioned. In this mode you can adjust shutter speed and the camera calculates aperture value. I selected the lowest possible shutter speed without overexposing the image. Overexposing is signaled by a blinking aperture value in you cameras display. I stabilized the camera at a fence and tried not to move while taking the photo.

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