Wings Over Camarillo - August 17, 2019

August 03, 2019


 I suggest purchasing a general admission ticket and VIP parking in advance online 
the plan on arriving at the Eubanks & Aviation Gate shortly before opening at 9:00 AM
so we can secure a good place to sit on the flight line.

(See guide at upper left on map for location red marker dot identification and instructions)

I can be reached at [email protected]  or (805) 390-5371 but ring can be hard to hear at the show


  • Wide angle and normal zoom lenses for ground shots
  • ​Zoom telephoto 200mm minimum - 300mm or more preferred for in air shots
  • Extra flash cards and batteries
  • Portable camping chair (with removable umbrella)
  • Water (also available on-site for purchase) - I freeze several bottles the night before
  • Sunscreen
  • Tripod/monopod optional (not recommended)
  • Regular parking may be by shuttle  


(Also checkout my award winning PSA Journal article on "Photographing Airshows" at

After serving on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier and more than 15 years photographing air shows I started to question, “why go again”.  Seen it all before, have many images of just about every aircraft and not likely I'll get a better shot.  I guess it’s similar to why an aging golfer keeps going back, even after scoring a hole in one.  There’s just something about hitting a good shot and exhilaration when the club head's sweet spot hits the ball. 

Air show photography presents a myriad of challenges.  Among them, choosing the right shutter speed to keep propellers blurred so a plane doesn’t look like a toy hanging from a string.  Or the challenge of keeping a fast moving jet in sharp focus. So what are the techniques that contribute to successful air show photography?

First and foremost is using the following proper shutter Speeds:

  • Aerobatics / Turbo Prop planes: 1/200 – 1/400
  • Warbirds / Civilian prop planes: 1/125 – 1/320
  • Rotor Craft – Helicopters: 1/50 – 1/100
  • Jets: 1/1500 +

Shutter Priority mode should be used when shooting propeller planes with consideration for the type of aircraft and specific situation.  When some of the old Warbirds are really cranked up to full speed, the shutter can be pushed a little faster.  Conversely Idling planes on the ground may need to be slowed below the minimum.  The sound of the engines and type of aircraft can often give a hint. 

Slow shutter speeds requires a smooth panning technique, without a pause when squeezing the shutter.  Using a camera’s burst mode often results in a sharp second or third image where the push of the shutter might be a factor. 

Image stabilization or vibration reduction can often be helpful when there is no panning, such as aircraft approaching from a near direct angle or overhead aerobatics.  If available, use a lens panning mode when shooting fast moving planes passing by.

Generally, the fastest shutter speed possible is best for shooting jets.  A fast shutter combined with a long focal length, however, will result in very shallow depth of field.  Unless a camera and lens autofocus system is very quick and accurate, fast moving aircraft can easily end up out of the range of acceptable focus.  Set your camera’s Aperture Priority mode between f/8.0 – 11.0 with high enough ISO to maintain a minimum 1/1,500 sec. shutter.

The static displays at airshows also provide a multitude of great photo opportunities.  Arrive early and take turns with friends saving a good spot to shoot on the flightline later.  Some shows provide up close, early access with "Photo Tour" passes providing opportunities for shots such as the image below and other benefits throughout the day!

Just as that afore mentioned golfer has good days and bad, weather influences, etc., so goes my air show photography.  Regardless, there's always the pure beauty of just watching those old war birds fly and memories of my time working on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.  More airshow images by “Hutch” can be seen at


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