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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 25 Jul 2011 (Monday) 10:42
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Aerial Photography Tips?

 
Bioshock
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Jul 25, 2011 10:42 |  #1

Hi Guys,

This weekend I have scheduled a helicopter flight to get some shots of the Chicago skyline. Does anyone have any tips on how I can most effectively use my flight time?

Has anyone done this before and have any advice they wish they had known before they went up?

When is the best time to go up? Right now I'm scheduled for a evening flight to get some shots of the setting sun but would it be better to go for sunrise? I'm just assuming during the day the light will be too harsh. I'm also worried about the haze I might encounter because of it being a hot summer day.

Thanks much for any help.


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n0w0rries
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Jul 25, 2011 15:05 |  #2

If you plan on shooting video, don't rest or brace your camera on any part of the helicopter. The vibrations will give you a jello look. Hold it and your body will absorb most of the vibration.


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Leftcoast_Mike
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Jul 25, 2011 15:16 |  #3

n0w0rries wrote in post #12820131 (external link)
If you plan on shooting video, don't rest or brace your camera on any part of the helicopter. The vibrations will give you a jello look. Hold it and your body will absorb most of the vibration.

I shot a quick video on Saturday from the back seat of a Harvard II and you can EASILY tell where my elbow touched the bodywork of the plane haha


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quiksquirrel
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Jul 25, 2011 17:22 |  #4

Best tip must be to not fall out :P

I'm not sure if it works the same on a helicopter, but a few years ago I had to shoot from the back of a military lorry (the uncovered flatbed kind) going over rough terrain. I found that a improvised steadicam with a remote shutter release taped to it, worked great. For the improvised steadicam, I simply used a monopod at minimum length, with a weight on the the bottom (sock filled with sand).




  
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ssim
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Jul 25, 2011 19:22 as a reply to  @ quiksquirrel's post |  #5

If at all possible make sure that you can open a window or door. I refuse to go up and shoot through a window. While the plexiglass windows can appear clean over time they get little scratches in them that refracts light when the sun hits it a certain angles. The same rules apply up there as when you have your feet firmly planted on the ground as far as sun placement, shutter speed, etc. I still tend to work in AV mode or if the light is very constant I will get a reading and go manual. While you want a higher than normal shutter speed you can still get very good shots at 1/250th or above. This is really user preference. All in all shooting from a helicopter or aircraft is no different than shooting on the ground its just that first step that is a little longer.


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PhotosGuy
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Jul 26, 2011 08:42 |  #6

ssim wrote in post #12821503 (external link)
If at all possible make sure that you can open a window or door.

Some chopper guys will take the door off for you. If he won't, find another one who will. I once got stuck with one who wouldn't go below 2000' in open terrain?
Links: Shooting helicopters... from helicopters


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MikeFairbanks
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Jul 26, 2011 08:53 |  #7

Don't drop your camera.


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Bioshock
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Jul 26, 2011 08:56 |  #8

Thanks for the tips guys. I'll put all of them to practice. Especially the not falling out or dropping my camera ones. :D


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Harm
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Jul 26, 2011 13:28 |  #9

Ask for the doors to be removed:

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Leftcoast_Mike
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Jul 26, 2011 15:27 |  #10

dont wear a hat

if you intend to stick your head out the window/door - remove your headset (if you're wearing one).


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Bioshock
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Jul 27, 2011 08:35 |  #11

Thanks guys. I just got confirmation that the doors would be removed. :)

If I can only take one lens would the 70-200 or 28-75 be better? (The 10-20 would probably be too wide right?)


Kevin: 5D Mark III, Canon 7D
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, Canon 50mm 1.4, Tamron 28-75mm 2.8, Canon 100mm 2.8L IS Sigma 10-20mm,Kenko Tubes, 430ex
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PhotosGuy
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Jul 27, 2011 09:13 |  #12

For the Chicago skyline, wouldn't the 28-75 be better? More skyline & less haze. But it's going to depend on where you shoot from, right?


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Bioshock
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Jul 27, 2011 09:25 |  #13

PhotosGuy wrote in post #12830799 (external link)
For the Chicago skyline, wouldn't the 28-75 be better? More skyline & less haze. But it's going to depend on where you shoot from, right?

That's kinda what I was thinking since we should be able to get pretty low over the water.

Thanks


Kevin: 5D Mark III, Canon 7D
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Curtis ­ N
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Jul 27, 2011 10:00 |  #14

You asked about time of day...
I'm thinking shortly after sunrise. Head west and shoot the skyline looking east, with the sun in the frame along with its reflection on Lake Michigan. This would produce a cool silhouette of the skyline if you expose it right. Then fly around the south side and out over the lake until you're straight east of the city, shooting the skyline with varying amounts of direct sun and shadow as you fly around it. One of those is bound to turn out cool.

If you're flying without doors, don't even think about changing lenses up there. If possible, borrow a second body so you can have one long lens and one short one. Use of neck straps is recommended.;)


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Harm
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Jul 27, 2011 13:54 |  #15

Curt! Long time no see....

I had no issues changing lens up in the air without doors. Just make sure that if you do, you are leaning right into the middle of the helicopter. Then nothing will fall etc. Just make sure you put things securely away. Oh and, don't even bother attempting to "lean out" of the window for that extra inch of a better view.

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Aerial Photography Tips?
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