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Fighter Jet Photography Inspiration

Photographing a Fighter Jet With 30000W of Flash Power

By Joseph Cha on November 14th 2013

Fighter Jet Photography

Fighter Jet Photography

Photographer Yuri Arcurs wanted to shoot a fighter jet, but this posed many unique problems. The biggest problem was the speed, this particular fighter jet can fly up to 750kmh (466mph). So how do you freeze a fighter jet in midair? Flash, and a lot of it, approximately 30,000W. To give you an idea of how strong this is, normally in the studio you shoot around 300-500W, so this would be about 100 times stronger than a studio lighting set up. When you’re shooting this much power at once you can actually feel the heat from the lights.

[Rewind: Amazing NASA Photographs Fighter Jet Shockwaves]

Fighter Jet Flash

All of the lights are going to be aimed at a specific point in the planes trajectory. The high speed of the plane makes it extremely difficult to frame, but there’s also another problem. Yuri’s Digital Medium Format Hassleblad can only take photos 1 second at a time, so he only has one chance to capture the perfect photo every time the plane passes. Watch the video below to see how he overcame these problems, and how he captured the perfect shot.

Yuri Arcurs Shoots 30000W Flash and Lights up a Fighter Jet Video


As photographers we’re always faced with problems, especially when trying new things. Whats one problem you faced and overcame on a shoot? Let us know in the comments!

[Source: Arcurs]


I’m a photographer and cinematographer based in Southern California. When I don’t have a camera in my face I enjoy going to the movies and dissecting the story telling and visual aesthetics.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. 30.000 waty na letadlo | FishFoto – magazín o fotografii a tak …

    […] Zdroj: […]

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  2. wolfi

    If there is time for Yuri,
    I will show him how to make photos of yets with nearly 1.000km/h free hand made!

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  3. Bryce

    Seems like he was creating a problem to fit his solution. People have been photographing jets for decades with much better results using only a camera and the sun. I’ve shot photos of the Blue Angels which make this thing look like a slug, and all you need is a little sun light and a steady hand. It’s an interesting project for sure but I don’t see anything ground breaking happening.

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  4. nox nox

    I hate to be negative, but all that work and its not that great of a photo. The bottom where the lights are is all blown out and completely distracts from the hard work to get the plane in focus.

    Maybe it looks better when not presented at 650×353.

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  5. chillywilson

    I really didn’t like the fact it was composited at the end.

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  6. Jim Sefton

    mmm, I have to agree, not a bad result but silly choice of camera for this work

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  7. W

    Yikes! I wonder if the pilot feels that heat too! @[email protected]

    I have trouble following runners, let alone a plane that’s going nearly 500mph! @[email protected]

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  8. Mike

    Good idea but very bad choice of camera. Hasselblad is top shit but not for shots like tis. The lag and everything is a problem. Would do better job going tighter with a “action sports” camera (DSLR) then going wide and cropping.

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    • apollo

      Look at the video at youtube and then comments, you see the reason why Hassy. 1/800 sync speed.

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