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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 27 Aug 2006 (Sunday) 06:13
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Shooting landscapes from a heli - what would you bring?

 
Lightstream
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Aug 27, 2006 06:13 |  #1

I might have the opportunity... no, gonna make the opportunity.. to take a short flight by helicopter over some truly beautiful scenery in the near future. Naturally, I'm doing it for the photo opportunity.

What glass would you bring, and why? I don't want to blow it especially since I get one shot at this. I'll primarily be shooting landscapes. Yes, I know, apart from the glass a great deal rests on my shoulders.

The 17-40 is my usual landscape lens, but I'm aware I might not need an ultrawide since I will be much higher up. I'll bring it anyway, but do you think I would be best served by a 24-105 or something longer? I read one article published by Canon about a professional documentary photog who shoots from the air and usually packs a 70-200 Big White with his EOS 1V (film). I'm using a 5D for full frame digital.




  
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Kinger
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Aug 27, 2006 07:50 |  #2

I have done it once, and took my 17-40 had the focus meter set to infinity and got some great shots with it. (Vegas to Grand Canyon). Don't worry about being too wide, you can always crop. My thinking was better to have to wide then not wide enough with a once in a lifetime oppertunity.


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JaertX
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Aug 27, 2006 07:59 |  #3

others might correct me here, but you might want a haze or c-pol filter to cut through the atmosphere. I'm one of those "anti-filter" people, but this is definitely a case where I'd break one out. I've seen some very poor heli-photography and it looked like the problem was atmosphere.


Jason - I use Canon and stuff

  
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Jaime
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Aug 27, 2006 08:02 |  #4

Do you mean asides from a Parachute and a lot of insurance???

KIdding aside that should be an opportunity of a lifetime, and as Kinger said, I rather shoot as wide as I can and crop if I need to later, as always the worst thing is to be in a position to regret not having what you need for a shot and with landscapes I am going to be looking for width rather than zoom, IMHO.


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https://photography-on-the.net …php?p=6253713#p​ost6253713

  
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Lightstream
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Yoda
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Aug 27, 2006 08:16 |  #5

Thanks for all the tips guys :)

Initially I was thinking I might not have time to mess with a polarizer in flight, but it's the one thing we shouldn't leave home without. A B+W MRC CPL follows me all the time. I'm thinking I'll mount the 17-40 on the camera to start with, after reading all the recommendations here. Of course I will have all my other hardware with me anyway, but just getting an idea of what will be the most important lens on the flight.

Insurance? I'm not worth that much... ;) The gear on the other hand... :lol: :lol:

Other comments still welcome.. not the end of the thread yet!




  
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calicokat
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Aug 27, 2006 09:06 |  #6

The 24-105L would be my choice, IS will help alot on a helipcopter, just don't touch the lens to anything vibrating on the heli


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olz
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Aug 27, 2006 09:12 |  #7

http://www.websiteopti​mization.com/speed/twe​ak/stabilizer/ (external link)

From the above link:

Aerial Photography Tips


  • Isolate yourself from contacting the aircraft, the only thing that should touch the aircraft is your rear end. Sitting on a pillow or other soft object can help isolate your body from motor and wind vibrations.
  • Avoid shooting perpendicular to the aircraft's motion. Shooting forward or rearward minimizes the lateral motion.
  • Use the highest shutter speed you can. 1/500 and above is the rule. The lower in altitude, and the longer your lens the faster your shutter speed.
  • Use a gyroscopic stabilizer or an image stabilized lens. Even better, combine them for sharper photographs and videos.
  • Stay loose. Tensing up will transmit more of the aircraft's motion to the camera. Use your arms to isolate your camera from the motion of your body.
  • Stay out of the slipstream. Keep your camera inside the plane, turbulent air can grab lens shades and shake your shots.
  • Have the pilot slow down or fly around a fixed point, once you've reached your target. Even better, rent a helicopter for low and slow precision or use a blimp or balloon for a more leisurely flight.
  • Use a wide angle lens. Wide angle lenses aren't as susceptible to motion blur as telephoto lenses are. However, a stabilized lens (like Canon's 28-135mm IS lens) or a gyro lets you use longer focal lengths to zoom in on your subject.
  • Use high contrast film. Some aerial photographers use Velvia (now available in 100 ASA) pushed a stop with fast prime lenses, while others use faster slide or print film for higher shutter speeds.
  • Filter haze aggressively. The higher you go and the more oblique the angle, the more air you must shoot through. Haze is a big problem aloft. Use aggressive haze filtering or warming polarizers for color photography.

Cheers
Kristian @ www.kindanatural.com (external link)
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clicky
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Aug 27, 2006 09:12 as a reply to  @ Lightstream's post |  #8

Keep in mind that changing lenses inflight (either in helicopter or airplane) will cost you several seconds of photographing. And before you know it you'r motive is behind you.

It's noisy and sometimes unstable, remember to use high shutter speeds. My tips is go for a telezoom or use two camera's with wide/zoom on one and tele/zoom on the other.

I'd choose the telezoom if I had to. 70mm is pretty wide when you're 600-1000 ft or more above.


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red ­ hot ­ sheep
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Aug 27, 2006 09:16 as a reply to  @ clicky's post |  #9

I would have thought 24mm would be plenty wide enough with full frame.


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calicokat
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Aug 27, 2006 09:17 |  #10

If you are using a 200mm lens and the pilot spins the helicopter abruptly while looking through said lens, find air sick bag immediately. I speak from experience. We were taking a heli trip over Kilauea and the pilot kept spinning 180 degrees to get different views. Looking through a tele-photo while this was going on was no bueno


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PhotosGuy
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Aug 27, 2006 09:35 |  #11

What glass would you bring, and why?

Well, what's the minimum altitude he can fly at? Altitude restrictions differ.

Ask the pilot to take the door off.
Keep the neck strap ON! ;)
Tell him to fly straight if you have to change lenses.
If you take a bag, make sure it's bungeed in. Have fun!


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
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Lightstream
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Yoda
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Aug 27, 2006 10:05 |  #12

I see IS can be a lifesaver.. thanks for the wonderful article! Didn't know shutter speed was such a huge concern. I wonder how my 24-105 f/4L will fare - it seems to be the lens of choice in this situation.

The guy who shot "Earth from Above" is the one I read about.. dang, I just let a 70-200 IS go this morning. Maybe not such a pity though, because I don't intend to use a long telezoom and I won't be working at the same heights he does (think this is going to be a low flight).

24mm is wide indeed on FF, but some of us are crazy about our ultrawides. After reading the article though, I suspect I might not need a UW.




  
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neil_r
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Aug 27, 2006 10:16 |  #13

He won't take the door off for you so take something to clean the plexiglass with.


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Dorman
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Aug 27, 2006 10:19 |  #14

I think your 24-105 is the lens to take, especially since you're shooting full-frame. The IS would be a great help in a shakey aircraft. Perhaps take your 350D with 70-300 IS mounted as well? Two bodies, both IS, no lens changing.



  
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PhotosGuy
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Aug 27, 2006 10:30 |  #15

I see IS can be a lifesaver..

Almost forgot, you're going to be shooting focused close to infinity most of the time, so you don't need to worry about DOF too much & can try f/5.6-8 to get a higher shutter speed.


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
New Image Size Limits: Image must not exceed 1600 pixels on any side.

  
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Shooting landscapes from a heli - what would you bring?
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