Helpful Posts Helpful Posts:  0
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Aerial Photography Discussion

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    3

    Aerial Photography Discussion

    Hello!

    I was wondering whether any of you habitually or occasionally shoot from the air?

    How do you do it? What do you photograph? Are there any advice, tips, considerations, cautionary tales, examples of your work that you could share?

    I'm especially interested in how do you determine which lens to use and how would a calculator, such as the one present on this website, be of assistance? For example, when shooting an estate, what exactly is "subject size" and what distance I suppose not the height from the ground, but rather the distance from the helicopter or other aircraft to the particular estate?

  2. #2
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    1,009
    Real Name
    Lex

    Re: Aerial Photography Discussion

    The only way I could pick up aerial photography with my current equipment is to set a delay shutter and stick my camera in a trebuchet. Equipment generally doesn't like that.

    One of my mates has done some aerial film work. This advice assumes the camera's carried in a craft with no photographer on board. The trick seems to be knowing as much as possible about the conditions, subject, and equipment beforehand. Knowing your lens's field of view and mounting angle can give you a pretty good idea of how high or far you need to go to capture your subject (this is where high school trigonometry or a dimensionally accurate sketch is handy). Setting the camera to manual focus will remove a considerable variable, and requires knowing how to use the focus scale and/or calculate the hyperfocal distance. Using a time-lapse technique (Magic Lantern or an intervalometer) will let you get lots of shots without worrying about triggering at the right moment. You could use an IR trigger, but it'll probably be tough to keep an aircraft in IR range. A radio trigger like a Pocket Wizard might be a more solid option, but even that could get out of range, depending on the application.

    In my experience, RC aircraft are quite temperamental. Never forget that if the craft fails, your camera gear is probably toast. Don't rig it up if you haven't accepted that.

    What exactly are you up to?

  3. #3
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    4

    Re: Aerial Photography Discussion

    My grandfather dabbled in this practice for awhile. He was actually in the plane, rather than radio-controlled. The reason I mention this is because a strap was once the only thing that KEPT him in the plane. So, my only advice is to be sure to wear a seatbelt/harness!!!

  4. #4
    Ady's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Cambridgeshire
    Posts
    179
    Real Name
    Adrian Asher

    Re: Aerial Photography Discussion

    Not so much about the photography, more about getting up there.

    Get down to your local aerodrome/small airport/flying club and talk to the PPL holders. In the UK a good number of Private Pilot Licence holders, particularly ones based at rural aerodromes, are constantly looking for ways they can keep themselves in the air. A group of PPL holders will often joint own an aircraft so costs such as maintenance and storage fees can be shared, but each flyer will also need (at a bare minimum) to fund their PPL renewal requirements or their progression to a Commercial licence. While the PPL renewal requirements are not huge there are minimums for logged flight time and number of take off/landings.

    Obviously a PPL holder can't recoup the costs by charging travellers or sightseers, that would be considered commercial flight. However most PPL holders seem to be quite happy to negotiate a deal on some fuel and take off/landing fees in exchange for a bit of a spin.

    We are still not talking pennies but it is one of the cheapest ways of shooting from the air on your schedule and taking in the sights that you want to photograph.

    With regard to the photography the only thing I would recommend is lenses (or body) with good IS, many light and ultra-light aircraft can be prone to a 'touch' of vibration. Some of them are little more than a VW Beetle with wings, only not as sophisticated!

    HTH,
    Ady

  5. #5
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    30,668
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Aerial Photography Discussion

    Only from an airplane window. Would like to do it from a helicopter but most of the tour packages are too quick and I believe the one over the Grand Canyon has been discontinued.

  6. #6
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    1,009
    Real Name
    Lex

    Re: Aerial Photography Discussion

    Plastic windows tend to scratch and fog more easily than plastic. Before hitting the air, see if you can clean (or have cleaned) the window you'll be shooting from. Sounds pretty basic, but I'm sure you've run into the same problem shooting from a car. Catch is, you can't roll down most airplane windows.

  7. #7
    Ady's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Cambridgeshire
    Posts
    179
    Real Name
    Adrian Asher

    Re: Aerial Photography Discussion

    Most light aircraft do have windows that will open, it's not going to be quiet or particularly comfortable but it does allow for a clear shot. In smaller aircraft such the Cessna 172 the windows tend to be hinged at the top with a restraining bar so don't give a great deal of a gap to work through but others have sliding windows. You may even be lucky and find someone with a 182 fitted with a 'jump door' that can be opened completely during flight, just remember to keep your belt on!

    Cheers,
    Ady

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •