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jfrenaye
05-25-2010, 12:51 PM
I have a Nikon D70s SLR and admittedly do not know it (or photography) as well as I should or as well as I want to.

My quick question is...if anyone is familiar, what do you suggest the best settings for photographing the Blue Angels tomorrow?

I am using a Tamron 70-300mm 5.6 lens. And they will be close by with not too much notice to shoot off the shot so changing settings is not going to be the greatest option.

Auto? (I Know Ned will veto that) but I am trying to keep it as simple as possible where I can hear, see, aim, zoom and shoot.

Ned
05-25-2010, 02:29 PM
You're right, auto is out, out, out. That said, you can still have the camera work essentially automatically, but you can have the control to help you take the photos.

So here goes on your settings:


White Balance: Auto
Meter: Probably Matrix, but you've got to watch out, especially if the sun is in front of you, as that will probably result in a silhouette. If the sun is behind you the photo should be fine. If the sun is in front of you try spot metering, or set your EV (exposure compensation) up, perhaps starting at +1.
AutoFocus Mode: set it to continuous AF-C so that it will keep adjusting the focus as long as the shutter release is pressed halfway down so that as you pan the moving planes they will stay in focus.
AutoFocus Area Selection: since the planes will be moving you should set the area to Dynamic Area. That will make it easier to keep the shots in focus.
Exposure Mode: set this to shutter priority (S). You want this because you are taking pictures of moving objects, the planes. By setting the shutter speed yourself you'll be able to control if the planes show motion, if they are caught suspended in air, if propeller planes at the show, if any, show the props blurred (moving) or still, which will look strange. If you also set your ISO to something specific, then the camera will choose the aperture automatically according to the meter reading, so you do have a kind of an auto. If you want to catch prop planes suspended by have the propellers look like they are in motion then set your shutter speed to about 1/250th through 1/325th and 1/500th. Set the shutter speed slower if you want to capture the planes themselves somewhat blurred to show speed and motion, or higher and you'll get the props to be still. For jets you might want to go higher to have them still, but a lot will depend on how close they are to you. Further away and you can use slower shutter speeds, than up close. A fast moving fighter jet will require you to use 1/1000th. This is why auto is no good and you want to use "S." The camera won't know you're shooting moving planes and it is doubtful it would ever set your shutter speed properly. You'll still be able to mostly just press the shutter release, but with your brain behind the photos.
I'd tend to set the ISO to around 200 which will give you the chance to set good shutter speeds resulting in decent apertures for reasonable depth of field. You might even set the ISO a bit higher, 320, if necessary, but start at 200.

Those are the main settings. You might want to consider continuous shooting mode too. The D70 can take shots at 3 frames per second. I'd use jpg, definitely if you use continuous shooting mode, otherwise jpg or nef. Personally I'd try to use nef, as long as it's not a problem with the storing speed of the images. They will give you the most latitude in post processing.

Let me know if I forgot something or if you have questions.

I have a Nikon D70s SLR and admittedly do not know it (or photography) as well as I should or as well as I want to.

My quick question is...if anyone is familiar, what do you suggest the best settings for photographing the Blue Angels tomorrow?

I am using a Tamron 70-300mm 5.6 lens. And they will be close by with not too much notice to shoot off the shot so changing settings is not going to be the greatest option.

Auto? (I Know Ned will veto that) but I am trying to keep it as simple as possible where I can hear, see, aim, zoom and shoot.

jfrenaye
05-25-2010, 06:37 PM
What about manual setting the shutter speed (as desired for effect) and taking the AF off and just locking it on infinity (75'+ whihc they are) and then just clicking away and zooming?

Ned
05-25-2010, 08:11 PM
What about manual setting the shutter speed (as desired for effect) and taking the AF off and just locking it on infinity (75'+ whihc they are) and then just clicking away and zooming?

Turning your focus to manual then setting your focus to infinity would work as long as the planes are far enough away. I don't know the distance scale of your lens, but I'll assume they aren't all that different than mine. All my telephoto zooms and standard zooms are Nikkor.

There is a down side to that. Many telephoto lenses don't hold manual focus settings when you zoom, so watch it to be sure as you zoom for the next shot, either longer or shorter, that your focus is maintained at infinity.

Many consumer level Nikkor lenses and 3rd party lenses have focus/zoom slip. The pro lenses don't, thank goodness. Even so I check my focus when changing my zoom if I'm focusing manually.

When you use Shutter Priority (S) you set the shutter speed, as desired, to get the desired effect. You will have already set the ISO to keep the noise low and give enough speed to get good exposures. The D70 will then set the aperture properly according to the meter reading.

This way you get the desired effect based on the shutter you set, and you let the camera do the rest so you can concentrate on the photos.

jfrenaye
05-25-2010, 09:27 PM
makes sense...thanks

Ned
05-25-2010, 09:39 PM
Any time John.

makes sense...thanks