# Can I take pictures of skydivers from the ground?

I'm completely new to photography (beyond using my phone). I have been wondering (and googling) if it's possible to take pictures of people jumping out of airplanes from the ground. A typical skydiving plane is 38', flying at 80mph at 13,000ft.

I did a little bit of math based on the info above and I think a 1800 mm is the right choice, but then finding the actual airplane will probably be a very big plain. Is there some kind of computerized system available that can track an object (like telescopes do?). Should I go with a larger field and then crop down? Or is this simply not possible?

I'm doing this purely for fun and am open to all solutions at this point.

I know I'm probably missing some obvious stuff. Thanks for your patience.

• Because I have used a 500mm lens with a 2x teleconverter on an APSC camera (1500mm equivalent on full frame) I suspect your math is off by a bit because 13000 ft is more than two miles. Maybe you dropped a decimal…anyway, when I first built that rig I practiced taking pictures of Cessnas making touch and goes at about 1000 ft, so 1800mm would be just a matter of practice. Acquiring the subject by first sighting along the hot shoe before framing through the viewfinder was what I came up with. My success rate was reasonable that way Oct 25, 2022 at 3:19
• Shooting high up in the air is difficult. And you are shooting at the underside of things so unless this is done very early/late in the day you are shooting at shadows against a rather bright background. So IMHO forget about shooting the skydivers that leave the plane. Find a spot where you can shoot at them closer to the ground. Oct 25, 2022 at 7:59