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.

Aerial Photography

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 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, foremost pilots will eliminate a door, leaving a massive potential shooting location to be had. This may be very beneficial as you could pan the camera to keep the body’s challenge while journeying in a simple path. Helicopters also have very striking 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 high cost, easily $500 consistent with an hour or so for a Robinson R22 to $1,500 or greater for a massive jet. It’s beautiful how much you can shoot in a few hours; however, the credit score card can take a significant hit when you land. Do you want a jet helicopter for most uses? I have used both the more diminutive Robinson’s and massive jet helicopters and have had excellent 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 they can have a bonus if you are traveling significant distances. Secondly, vibrations may be trouble relying on a variety of factors. Mine enjoy been that an excellent 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; forward motion plays a part.

Aerial Photography

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 sure 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 pretty extensively open to limit the depth of discipline. Window tint may additionally be trouble, although this will usually be wiped clean up in Photoshop or a few other editors. I recommend shooting RAW for that reason. Whatever you do, do no more extended 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 complicated 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, and 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 optimistic the tail rotors might make short work of a misplaced lens coloration, probably with dire 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 feasible; however, I have had reasonable achievement around 1/500. If this indicates growing the ISO as the mild fades, I have relatively blurred pics. This should allow for an aperture of about f5.6 in maximum circumstances, although because of the gentle fade, you might be searching at f2.8 or so, an excellent 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 photographs had been accomplished from helicopters as much as that point. I expected a considerable amount of vibration and stormy wind buffeting but turned into in for a surprise. Ultralights are, in reality, perfect aerial pictures platform beneath the practical situations while you tend to fly them. 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:

Aerial Photography

Likely the bulk of aerial pictures is performed with a constant wing plane. While no longer as maneuverable as helicopters, they can still take photos of systems beneath the right conditions. Try to get an aircraft with an excessive wing like the Cessna 172 Skyhawk to get a high-quality view. The low-winged plane restricts the view underneath! Even with high winds, the wing strut will probably be inside the way; it’s simply now not typically placed in a perfect role for images. I’m sure 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 the aircraft may be significant to line up the photograph, so an excellent pilot, preferably with the revel in working with photographers, is necessary. What’s the most crucial 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 much cash you spent without really accomplishing whatever. Do your studies in advance and get a great idea approximately what you want to photograph and how you may achieve it. What side of the aircraft will you be capturing from? What altitude or one-of-a-kind altitudes are required? When will the mild be the first-class? Often you will find that one flight will 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 crucial choice right here, and what type of plane is to be had? Hire an excellent pilot, ideally one who has enjoyed working with photographers! Pilots do a range, and a few are better at others regarding expertise in the requirements of aerial images. Go over a flight plan and stay with it. The top 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!

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