I know from experience that aviation photography is not the easiest photographic subject. For a start the subject is moving meaning that before anything, good panning technique is required. Then there is the matter of getting your camera settings correct, not easy when lighting conditions are not constant and are ever changing due to weather. Also there are other factors such as creating a dynamic image to think about too. I will try and write this critique with all this in mind. So then onwards to the photograph itself.
The first thing I notice about this photograph is that good motion of the propeller has been captured. This has made the aircraft look less static and much more dynamic. The photograph was shot with a shutter speed of 1/250 and for propeller driven aircraft this is spot on. Any shutter speed slower than 1/320 would have done, but the slower the better, so long that it is within the photographers panning limitations.
Clearly such a slow shutter was well within the photographers panning limitations as this photograph has great sharpness. This is no easy task when shooting at a 400mm focal range. I know how difficult it can be to pan with such a large lens at full extension so very well done indeed.
I think that the photograph also has good exposure. The aircraft is not only dark itself but is also seen here against a moody sky. Both the aircraft and sky have no exposure problems or loss of details so this is very good.
Now then onto the criticism and where I believe the photograph could have been better.
One of the things that springs to mind is the use of such a narrow aperture. The photograph was shot at F.18 which in my experience is far narrower than is necessary for airshow photography. I would have personally chosen an aperture between F.8 and F.11. The aircraft would still be within the depth of field and will be sharp, however the slightly wider aperture would have allowed more light into the camera meaning ISO-100 could have been used rather than ISO-200. This would have reduced the possibility of digital noise. The noise levels are not bad anyway but I still think it is advice that could be useful in future shoots.
The only other thing I think could be slightly better is the position of the aircraft in frame, which to my eyes is slightly too far over to the left and to the bottom of the frame. I don't know if this photograph is as shot or if it has had some work done. Either way I think the shot would benefit from less space behind the tail, and a little more space underneath rather than above. A simple crop would resolve this I believe. Of course everybody is different and this is purely a personal opinion.
Overall I think this is a wonderful shot of a beautiful and historically important machine. The photograph shows good camera inputs from the photographer and a good understanding of the technical knowledge of how to capture the subject well. Obviously no photograph is immune to criticism so I hope the points of criticism I have brought up can be of use for future airshow shoots. All in a great piece of work.
Thank you my friend. But don't knock yourself, sure some of us have had a little more practice but I remember when I used to be where you are now, don't let that get in the way of perfecting your art. Keep shooting and learning. Hell I learn new things every day and I will continue to learn till the day I can no longer hold my camera.
You are most probably right on that fact. The indentification on the tail does identify it as an F4U-1D probably with an /FG-1D stamped inboard somewhere inconspicuosly...LOL! I took much joy photographing this beauty. Just as much fun as the F4U-5/FG-1 I photographed at NAS JAcksonville last November.