Aerial Photography – What Type of Aircraft?

Aerial photography is as challenging as it receives for the expert photographer. Many selections need to be made to get stunning results, the whole lot from kind of plane to situation rely upon and time of day. Teamwork is likewise required because the photographer and pilot need to talk well so as for the photographer to get the favored photographs. This article covers aerial pictures systems with a small amount of photography technical statistics. Part 2 will cowl the technical and artistic facet of aerial work.

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While aerial photography has been accomplished with the whole thing from warm air balloons to area shuttles for maximum people we’re a touch restricted in the resources we have to be had. I actually have used helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and ultralights for my work and I’ll cowl those in a little more detail in my non-public order of choice.

Aerial pictures from helicopters are probably the perfect platform to work from beneath maximum situations. When used especially for pictures maximum pilots will allow the elimination of a door leaving a massive potential shooting location to be had. This may be very benefits as you could actually pan the camera to keep the challenge in the body while nonetheless journeying in a simple path. Helicopters also have very dazzling turning characteristics so that you will locate that there is a way much less lost time as you circle returned to shoot from an exceptional altitude or perspective.

There are some downsides to taking pictures from helicopters but. Firstly is the big cost, easily $500 consistent with an hour or so for a Robinson R22 to $1,500 or greater for a massive jet. It’s very wonderful how much you can shoot in a few hours however the credit score card can take a large hit when you land. Do you want a jet helicopter for most uses? I actually have used both the smaller Robinson’s and massive jet helicopters and have had very good results with each. Some will argue that the larger helicopters are a little safer but I’ll leave that up to the professionals. Jet helicopters are extensively faster so in case you are traveling big distances they can have a bonus. Secondly, vibrations may be trouble relying on a variety of factors. My enjoy has been that an awesome pilot can often hit a “sweet spot” in which the helicopter settles right into a truly clean ahead motion. This generally isn’t always even as you hover, ahead motion plays a part.

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Helicopter images from a technical viewpoint may be each a venture and an exciting revel in. If you can not cast off the doors wear dark clothing and make certain to have a lens color set up. Most of the windows are Plexiglas and tend to have scratches so that you will in all likelihood need to shoot fairly extensive open to limit the depth of discipline. Window tint may additionally be trouble despite the fact that this will normally be wiped clean up in Photoshop or a few other editors. I recommend shooting RAW for that reason. Whatever you do, do no longer vicinity any part of your body or camera towards the edges of the helicopter as the vibration will transfer over to the digital camera and cause unsharp images. Life is less difficult without doors however be aware of the turbulence if you lean out a bit to ways. The buffeting may be pretty sturdy. All tools and other system wishes to be securely fastened on your frame or a harness, you don’t need to think about what may manifest if you drop a lens or digicam out the door! I move as a way as taping the lens hood to the lens as a protection precaution as I’m positive the tail rotors might make brief work of a misplaced lens coloration, probably with bad consequences. If at all possible use a few one of a kind cameras so that you can maintain changing lenses and reminiscence cards down to a minimum.

I try to maintain my shutter speeds around 1/1000 or faster if in any respect feasible however have had reasonable achievement around 1/500. If this indicates growing the ISO as the mild fades I do that in the choice of having fairly blurred pics. This should allow for an aperture of about f5.6 in maximum circumstances although because the mild fade you might be searching at f2.8 or so, a very good purpose to have speedy lenses.


I first did aerial pictures from an ultralight in Costa Rica some years back. I must admit I genuinely didn’t recognize what to anticipate as all my preceding aerial pictures had been accomplished from helicopters as much as that point. I expected a big amount of vibration and bad wind buffeting but turned into in for a surprise. Ultralights are in reality an extremely good aerial pictures platform beneath the right situations that’s whilst you tend to fly them besides. They do get tossed around a touch bit however commonly the vibrations are not as bad as helicopters. While they are not as maneuverable as helicopters they are better than constant wing aircraft. Possibly the simplest downsides are, they’re truly slow and you have to sense relaxed in them as they’re very naked bones and seat of the pants!

Fixed-wing aircraft:

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Likely the bulk of aerial pictures is performed with constant wing plane. While no longer as maneuverable as helicopters they are still very capable taking pictures systems beneath the right conditions. Try to get an aircraft with an excessive wing just like the Cessna 172 Skyhawk to get the high-quality view. The low winged plane absolutely restrict the view underneath! Even with high winds, the wing strut will probably be inside the way, it’s simply now not normally placed in a very good role for images. I’m certain some humans fly with the doorways off, however, in general, you will be flying both taking pictures through a small starting window or via the glass. Either manner, positioning of the aircraft may be very important to line up the photograph so an awesome pilot preferably with revel in working with photographers is a need to. What’s the largest gain of a set wing platform? Cost! Likely 1/four or much less of what the helicopter will fee.

Getting prepared:

Flying in circles searching out pictures may be very interesting and exciting until you land and find out how good deal cash you spent without really accomplishing whatever. Do your studies in advance and get a great idea approximately what you want to photograph and the way you may accomplish it. What side of the aircraft will you be capturing from? What altitude or one of the kind altitudes are required? When will the mild be the first-class? Often you will find that one flight will now not produce all of the required pictures because of some of those decisions and a second or third flight is probably required.

Once you have got completed your homework it is time to discover your aircraft. What’s your budget is probably the most important choice right here as well as what type of plane is to be had? Hire an awesome pilot, ideally one which has enjoyed working with photographers! Pilots do range and a few are better at others with regards to expertise the requirements of aerial images. Go over a flight plan and stay with it. The maximum essential part of the shoot is the pilot calls the pictures and has the final say in what will be achieved. They understand the guidelines, safety troubles, and the lowest line; they are answerable for you, the plane and the human beings on the floor!

Lee Hogan

Gamer. Twitter fan. Unapologetic analyst. Award-winning beeraholic. Subtly charming explorer. Cyclist, follower of Christ, drummer, Saul Bass fan and collaborator. Operating at the nexus of simplicity and elegance to save the world from bad design. Concept is the foundation of everything else.

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