Shooting Military air craft with the Canon 600mm f4L

Got a chance to play around with fellow photographer in Okinawa Jim Blankemeier's big Canon L glass the other day. We headed out to the lookout tower over looking the flight line at Kadena Air Force base.

Unfortunately we got there a bit late and missed most of the fighters taking off. When one F15 Eagle did fly by eventually I couldn't get it in my view finder with the1344mm focal length I was shooting with 8(.. Need more practice!

I was mostly shooting with the Canon 600mm F4L with Canon 7D and 1.4x extender attached to really get up nice and close on the air craft. Also played around with the super rare Canon 200mm f1.8L.

Having not shot with my Canon gear for a while (use Nikon most days for work) I was having trouble making the quick adjustments necessary for exposure etc.. as the planes whizzed by but I still managed to get a few I was pretty happy with. Especially with my panning efforts.

For those who are not familiar with the technique panning it involves using a relativity slow shutter speed to emphasize speed by having the background all blurred by the motion of the lens while at the same time keeping the subject crisp and sharp. This can be quick a difficult effect to pull off, especially when your working with 1000+mm of focal length and shutter speeds in the vicinity of 1/30th of a second!

Here are a few of the results I came away with.

Landing Panning 2

F15 climb

Rare 47 Up close and personal


Me trying to catch a F15
Photo by Jim Blankemeier


very nice shoot. Its really tough to capture a thing, which is in motion.

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