Tokyobling's Blog

More Blue Impulse Air Show

Posted in Places by tokyobling on November 11, 2010

Some more shots of the wonderful Blue Impulse Air Show at Iruma Base up in Saitama prefecture, just north of Tokyo. Shooting air shows is a tricky thing, it demands not only that you know the optimal mix of settings on your camera, but also that you know where and how fast the airplanes are going. Waiting until you see the perfect shot is not an option, and unless you have a really fast camera, just shooting mindlessly is even less of an option. This was my second visit shooting this air show so I was lucky in that I knew what kind of formations they would be flying in an what kind of loops and angles they would be using. Of course, having the same kind of weather as the last time didn’t make things more difficult either!

I used a 50-500mm tele-zoom Sigma lens, set a very high ISO and and a quite tight f-stop to get a broad DOF. Of course, I made sure I had shutter speeds way above 500 at all times, preferably at around 2000-3000th of a second is optimal for this. Sometimes you can track the formation, sometimes you compose the picture as you follow a moving air craft with a plume of smoke, and sometimes you just shoot like crazy to catch things that happen at 2 or 3 times the speed of sound, like when two air craft move towards each other. I still haven’t been able to get that exact instant. Anyway, I hope you will like these photos better than last year’s. I think they’ve improved a little. Enjoy!


Iruma Base Air Show 2010

Posted in Places by tokyobling on November 10, 2010

It’s this time of the year again, the annual Iruma Base Air Show! I try to go every year but this year and last we were able to enjoy fantastic weather and a brilliant blue sky with just enough clouds to make it interesting. Iruma City is in the south of Saitama prefecture, north of Tokyo. It is one the biggest Japanese Air Force bases and houses both fighter squadrons, helicopter battalions and Patriot Missile batteries. Quite interesting! Every year in November they stage a small festival and open their gates to interested visitors from Japan and abroad. There’s usually not that many foreigners though. It’s also one of the few places (the only one I think) in the Kanto region where you get to see the Blue Impulse Air Show, flying their distinctive Kawasaki T-4. As usual, their performance was perfect and a great time was had by the staggering number of 300 000 visitors! With numbers like that, you realize that this is not a day to just stroll on the train and get of at the nearest station.

More photos to follow tomorrow! Shooting air shows is, despite what you first think when you see the other photographers there, not just a question of long lenses. Sure, I had my 50-500mm Sigma lens but I took many photos with it at 100mm or 200mm. 500mm was definitely overkill for this task!

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