A Photographic Puzzle

One of the goals in photographing prop driven aircraft is to get the full circle effect of the prop. This eliminates the ‘plane on a string effect’ that happens if the image is taken with a very high shutter speed. It is more difficult that it looks and I am posting an example.

The two images in this post were shot at the same Shutter Speed (1/160) and approximately the same distance from the camera. The differences are:

  1. Time of day. The white plane was taken in the afternoon. The copper one was in the morning.
  2.  Number of Props. The white plane has 2 props. The copper plane has 3 props. Add the copper plane had stickers on the prop which picked up the light and gave the 2 concentric circle effect.

The white plane also made a pass back over the air strip and I lowered the shutter speed to 1/100– the prop disappeared.

3. Molly shot the copper plane as it taxied at 1/200 and got a full circle as well.

Question: Why did we get a full circle on the one plane and not on the other? Slowing the shutter speed as the white plane zoomed the field ( and then facing into the light) made the prop disappear.

Is this like steering into a spin when driving on ice?

Years ago , I photographed an air show and a good friend told me to photograph the prop planes at 1/320. I did with mixed results. The best ones gave an “iron cross” effect that was pretty good but not the “holy grail– full prop circle”.

Any ideas on developing a relatively ‘standard’ approach to getting full prop circles for this type of photography would be appreciated.

For larger image click the thumbnail.

We Are Back

Yeah, I know no one knew we were gone but we are back from a road trip. We went to Gaston’s On The White River and then to my brother’s in Oklahoma. We returned to an A/C unit that would not cool but we were able to get a very busy A/C guy in New Haven to work us in. We had indoor temps in the 90’s so this was a high priority for us. Cathedral ceilings helped and a lower lever that had cool air was most welcome. All is well now.

About 30 years ago, my old friend Sam Hampton and I would go to Gaston’s to fish for trout. Then Molly and I went there nearly every year for anniversary trips–I fished– she read and relaxed on shore. Then we went to photograph blue birds and other little birds.

About 5 years ago we were snowed out and then life got in the way and we were busy getting ready for retirement and selling house etc. Last year we went to The Black Hills. This year we decided to stay closer to home so, we decided to go to Gaston’s.

There has been some very high water with a resulting high water table. All the standing water allowed for a major mosquito hatch. This is unprecedented because usually there is no mosquitoes at all. The high water also cut off some of the areas we normally go and get our photos. We made lemonade and had some memorable photo opportunities.

Here are some of Molly’s photos. The peacocks and turkeys are free range but they tend to hang around a permanent enclosure with pheasants, guinea fowl and other peacocks. The chipmunks are wild LOL.


Ok, technically, it is still Spring but the old habit of calling anything after Memorial Day,  Summer still is in effect here. We have plans for day trips, week-long trips and also tending the raised bed gardens. Trips to St Louis, Collinsville, IL, various covered bridges, photo safaris with the Jefferson County Camera club (http://www.jeffcophoto.com/index.html) are on the ‘schedule’. Add a trip to Gaston’s on the White River (https://www.gastons.com/) and then to see family in Oklahoma. Our nephew,Zachary, is attending a cross-country running camp near New Haven in late June, so he will end up staying here for an extended time and I will attempt to help him learn to drive (Lord…help me LOL).

We had business out-of-town and took the cameras with us. Here are some photos from Molly’s 40D and the 500 with 1.4 extender.

Click for larger image:

Mystery Bird

After each fledging class of blue birds, I remove the old nest to try and keep the box clean and parasite free. This bird has tried to take advantage of the clean box and set up house keeping. We are not sure what bird this is.

Our best guess at this point in time is Bell’s Vireo but since we have never seen a Bell’s Vireo and the Cornell Bird site pictures show a bird that has more yellow in the belly, we can not be sure.

Any help is appreciated.

You can click each image for larger image

(click lower right link to get to the 1000 px by 800 px image ( largish crop images))