Nikon D750, Sigma 50-500mm / f4.5-6.3 APO DG HSM

Ok, if you are tired of wildlife photography, here is something different for you. While paddling again on the Mississippi River I saw this airplane flying by twice. The pilot of this 1938 Luscombe 8A enjoyed probably the nice weather as much as we did. 

During his second fly-by the light on the fuselage was just great. This is finally my favorite shot, with the Luscombe, the clouds in the background, and the light coming all together nicely. The pictures are tack-sharp, at least on the much larger originals I’m able to count every rivet in the airplane.

There was only one big flaw. The propeller was sharp too and it looks like it came to a stand still. Not good at all, but this is due to a fast shutter speed of 1/3200 s. I shoot 99% in aperture priority mode in order to control depth of field and the camera selects the shutter speed for each picture on its own. In order to get the propeller blurred it needs something slower than 1/125 s and the camera must be set to shutter priority or manual mode. I have done this before. It works well, but it requires a good panning technique while following the airplane with the long lens. Well, there was just no way that I could do this on a windy day while shooting from a kayak…

So how did the prop finally got blurred? Photoshop came to my help and I used a filter called Spin Blur. It took me a few minutes to figure out the best settings but it isn’t difficult.

Looking at this airplane we expect the movement of the propeller, because that’s the way we see it flying. Otherwise it looks like the plane is parked in front of a museum and the stick that holds it was removed in Photoshop. Well, that’s not the story I like to tell with an image like this…