Zoom with your feet!

Just after I got home today, I noticed the sunset was lovely and warm. Warm in colour, that is. It was −4° outside and the temperature was dropping fast. I noticed the angle was just right to have the sun reflect off the tail of the aircraft that had taken off from the airport moments earlier, but my attempts to photograph the departing aircraft left much to be desired.

IMG_0133.CR2: 30D, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/2500, f/8, 800 ISO, 50% crop

IMG_0133.CR2: 30D, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/2500, f/8, 800 ISO, 50% crop

I was simply too far away.

There’s an adage among photographers, especially told to those who are trying prime (non-zoom) lenses for the first time. Zoom with your feet. I didn’t have the lens length to bring the planes to me, so I went to the planes.

Witness an Air Canada Embraer ERJ-190 taxiing to the end of runway 25, preparing for take-off.

IMG_0231.CR2: 30D, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/100, f/5.6, 800 ISO

IMG_0231.CR2: 30D, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/100, f/5.6, 800 ISO

And just after take-off, I caught the departing aircraft with another in the sky.

IMG_0278.CR2: 30D, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/200, f/5.6, 800 ISO, 50% crop

IMG_0278.CR2: 30D, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/200, f/5.6, 800 ISO, 50% crop

I look with increasing jealousy at those who have newer cameras. The high-ISO capabilities of newer models puts mine to shame! Next time, I’m going to have to visit the airport earlier in the day. As much as I like evening lighting, the fading light pulls my ratio of acceptable images way down. I could use the taxiing image only because reducing it enough to appear here hides the noise in the image. You can already begin to see the noise in the sky. Viewed much larger, it’s simply not acceptable.

But I still like it.

I love visiting the airport because I wonder where everyone is going, or where they’re arriving from. Everyone’s starting an adventure, or returning with stories to tell. Even if I don’t go into the terminal, it feels like an incredibly dynamic place.

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