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Aviation photography: Tips from the pros

How do AOPA staff photographers Mike Fizer and Chris Rose capture those breathtaking shots that grace the cover and pages of AOPA Pilot and Flight Training magazines? The two shared tips on equipment, digital photography, lighting, and image manipulation in their forum “AOPA and the art of aviation photography,” Nov. 13. They also covered how to take panel and interior shots, ground shots, and air-to-air shots.

Fizer and Rose not only covered the type of cameras and lenses to use but also the equipment needed to keep the camera stable, including a tripod, image stabilized lens, a cable release or camera self timer, and a gyro stabilizer for aerial shots.

While digital cameras offer a number of advantages over film, from instant feedback and editing to an unlimited lifespan and color palette, the two pointed out some disadvantages, including the need for frequent software updates and “weight gain due to time in front of a computer.”

After learning practical tips for selecting the right gear, attendees received tips from Fizer and Rose on how to take stunning photos. The season and time of day affect the pictures, so “pick your time of day carefully,” the pros cautioned.

All of the right equipment and perfect weather and lighting conditions won’t do a photographer any good if he or she doesn’t know how to use what’s available. The best advice from Fizer and Rose? “Learn, understand, and use the tools to get the most from your images,” they said. “But, use them wisely.” —AOPA ePublishing staff

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