July 15, 2004
Filling the frame with the plane

I'm turning over in my mind an introductory essay about How To Be One Of The Billion Monkeys, which will probably end up being called something less cleverly cryptic and more helpfully informative, like: What I Have So Far Learned About Cheap Digital Photography. I don't plan to do much in the way of introductory reading of rival essays in a similar vein. Plenty of time for that later. But I did check out this guy. (I did a Samizdata posting a while back linking to his brilliant photos of SpaceShipOne.)

I found my way quickly to this essay, which lead to this further essay which included an enticing link to a piece on airshow photography. Follow that link, and you get to this ultra-cool photo:

BlueAngelsHeadOnPass.jpg

This man knows what he's talking about. Wow!

He starts what he says about airshow photoing thus:

The only special piece of equipment which is required for airshow photography is a long lens. You don't need an auto-focus camera and you don't need image stabilization or vibration reduction, but if you can't fill the frame with the aircraft then your photos will lack impact.

You got that right mate. I love airplanes, and London has a constant supply of them, on their way to land at Heathrow or taking off from the airport in the City. I keep photographing them, and they keep ending up either like insects crawling across huge deserts, or, if I zoom in close with Photoshop, like the work of a spy in a great hurry. Far too blurry, that is to say.

Which illustrates one of the points my Big Essay will probably contain, which goes: get a cheap camera first, and use it to learn, and in particular to learn just what sort of more expensive camera (which itself will be as cheap as your first one in a few years time) you should be getting next.

My next camera will have a lens enabling me, provided the price is right, to photograph the Great Wall of China from the moon.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 07:52 PM
Category: Photography