Machias Community Church

Don't stop the prop 

Posted by Pastor Ron Thursday, August 18, 2011 6:00:00 AM

When photographing an airplane in the air, one should not stop the prop. It doesn't look right.

Keep the prop spinning enough to show a full 'propeller disk' for a two blade prop or  three separate but motion blurred blades if it is a three blade propeller.

How do you do that? Well first off, you don't put the camera on auto and just bang away. Second, don't put the camera in aperture priority like I did on the first picture.  I chose f/7.1 and let the camera set the shutter speed ~ it chose 1/1600 of a second and stopped the prop.

Ooops! I realized my mistake and made an adjustment:

As the next plane came in for a landing I put the camera in shutter priority and selected a shutter speed that would show the correct prop motion ~ in this case a much slower 1/200 of a second. The camera chose f/22 for the aperture and all was well.

Below is one of my favorites taken when I was just a beginner learning to make adjustments myself. By accident of uninformed choice I was in shutter priority at 1/800 of a second.  A shutter speed of 1/1600 would have stopped the prop.

However... and this was just the serendipitous choice of a rank beginner... if I had picked 1/400 for my shutter speed to get a wider blade blur then the blades would have appeared to bend back even further since the plane was close and moving fast toward me. Even at 1/800 they look a bit rubbery.

Moral of the story? Details are important if you are trying to get it right but most folks really aren't interested in the details. They just want to point and shoot.

Moral of the Moral of the story? If you don't pay attention to the details you might need lots of serendipity to get it right.

Moral of the Moral of the Moral of the story? The spiritual implications are staggering! When it comes to faith, do you care about the details? Do you really know what you believe and why?

Or are you just flying by the seat of your religious britches with a stopped prop? Thinkaboutit.