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Aerial Photography

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Ray52

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Aerial Photography
« on: March 18, 2008, 05:34:16 PM »
Weather permitting, I'll be going up in a small plane on Thursday AM to photograph work in progress at a shipyard in Orange.  I shot a free lance gig before in a cockpit for a pilot and copilot but this will be my first opportunity to lean out of the window and shoot what's below.  Does anyone have any experience or advice?  I'll take my Canon 5D and a 24-105 f4 lens (my only one for that camera) and also may bring my Sony Alpha 100 with an 18-70 kit lens.  The Sony isn't a full frame sensor so the 18mm setting is really no wider than the 24mm on the Canon so it may get left behind.  The only tip I've received so far is that we'll probably be at 1000' or slightly less and I can ask to go higher if needed for a wider view.  It should be fun but I also want to get some nice shots so will appreciate any thoughts you can share.

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Offline presidio

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Re: Aerial Photography
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2008, 07:19:35 PM »
this will be my first opportunity to lean out of the window and shoot what's below.  Does anyone have any experience or advice?  I'll take my Canon 5D and a 24-105 f4 lens (my only one for that camera) and also may bring my Sony Alpha 100 with an 18-70 kit lens.  The Sony isn't a full frame sensor so the 18mm setting is really no wider than the 24mm on the Canon so it may get left behind.  The only tip I've received so far is that we'll probably be at 1000' or slightly less and I can ask to go higher if needed for a wider view.  It should be fun but I also want to get some nice shots so will appreciate any thoughts you can share.

a) Don't brace against the airplane, lots of vibration there.

b) Don't get the lens so far out you get slipstream buffeting...vibrati on again.

c) Shoot with a fast shutter and small aperture (but you already knew that).

d) Higher altitude produces less apparent motion across the frame.

e) If you really are going to be holding the camera outside the plane, make sure everything is secure.

f) Don't shoot through the plexi windows, use a slider if the plane has one.

g) If plane doors are removable, take them off for the shoot; that may allow you to shoot from inside and have a wide field of view.

h) If doors are off and the plane has only the old style car seat belt buckle (like most current commercial aircraft) or has the military-style latching lever (ball bearing detent), duct tape the buckle lightly so it cannot be snagged with a sleeve or camera strap and inadvertently opened. Don't tape it so heavily it can't be opened in an emergency. It's bad form to fall out of a banking airplane with no doors.

i) A sustained 30-45 degree bank will reduce ground motion to a minimum as you circle a point of interest. However, you will feel the Gs, and looking through a viewfinder while doing this may reveal any tendency towards airsickness or vertigo.

j) If not circling, a polarizing filter may be of some benefit, especially since you will have a lot of water in the view.

k) Have fun.
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Aerial Photography
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2008, 07:25:06 PM »
Well, I've shot from about 100' up in a swinging crane basket. I did what I could to maximize shutter speed (ISO 400 (which is totally doable with a 5D), f/8). f/8 isn't helping, but it's the largest small aperture I dared to get the DOF I wanted (I was shooting about 45 degrees down from a level horizon). Didn't use a polarizer either.

I didn't use the railing to steady my shots, as the whole rig was swaying around constantly. I just held my camera as still as possible with my elbows tucked somewhat in (and prayed that my safety harness would hold if I got tossed out the basket).

I imagine it will be similar in a plane, but you'll also have some nasty vibrations running through the whole thing. You might want to totally avoid contact with the window frame.

If you plan on shooting straight down (i.e. perpendicular with the ground), then you could probably stand a shallower DOF and shoot with f/5.6 (a stop down from wide open to get closer to that sharpness sweet spot). But that would mean putting your head and shoulders outside the plane or having the pilot bank the plane over  :icon_biggrin:

I'd also set the camera for burst mode and fire off 3 or 4 at a time. You will sometimes find that the second or third shot is the sharpest just because the camera was moving a bit less as your body somewhat stabilizes during the burst.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Aerial Photography
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2008, 08:12:37 PM »
I couldn't resist sharing my aerial photography adventure:


How's this for a tripod? It's big. It's red. It goes anywhere (almost).


Barge loaded out with our subsea equipment. Houma, LA.

 :icon_lol:

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Aerial Photography
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2008, 07:31:31 AM »
Also TJ....did you eat at Savoie's in Houma?  If not, make it a point to on your next trip for some genuine Cajun comfort food.

Wow, no. I can't believe I missed that one. I've spent about 12 weeks total in Houma in the past year and half. I'll have to remember that one for the next trip.  :icon_smile:

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Offline presidio

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Re: Aerial Photography
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2008, 09:08:41 AM »
there isn't enough duct tape in the state of Texas to hold me in the seat if the door is off the plane.  If the door stays in the hangar so do I.  I'm being paid to do this, but not enough for that :icon_eek:

It's all in your mind. Take a look at an aircraft door and note how incredibly thin it is. Probably .032" of aluminum. Not much more than a beer can. So, the door is not what keeps you in. Besides, flying with no door is pure fun, unless you are sitting in the hellhole (that's the rearmost, side-facing seat) of a Huey where the wind buffeting is rather high (but the view is worth it).
_____________
<  presidio  >
_____________
Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Aerial Photography
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2008, 10:11:57 PM »
Cool! Is that a Navy vessel in the lower right corner of the 3rd shot?

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Aerial Photography
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2008, 01:13:21 PM »
Wow, that's interesting. I've never heard of that ship, even after Rita.

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SHANEA

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Re: Aerial Photography
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2008, 09:38:42 AM »
Ah, so you are now on the FBI's watch list too!

Would have been horrid had you have gone swimming.  The FBI would have really been suspicious then. 

Do Blackberry's float?

 


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