This coming weekend marks the 54th National Championship Air Races. Lots of great planes, great people and great fun which has already started with planes arriving last week getting qualifying done and practice in on the course. For aviation photographers the Air Races provides a unique set of opportunities.
The best part of the races, like most aviation events, is the chance to see your favorite planes flying by multiple times. But how do you go about getting those great shots of your favorite planes? The big one to start with is try to keep your gear clean. It’s really hard to do in the dry environment at Stead Airport combined with all the wind but you’ll thank yourself later if you clean it every night. Dealing with those dust spots in post can drive you crazy. Now this plays true with prop planes more the jets since you need that slow shutter speed to get a prop blur. Slower shutter means greater depth of field, hence more spots. Next is panning. Good panning is crucial but practice helps. The best way to practice here is to photograph the different aircraft classes that might not be as exciting to you so that when the ones that are exciting come up you’re ready to go.