Aerials!

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Happy Friday, everyone!

7 responses to “Aerials!

  1. As always Superb capture

  2. Scott: So many people are shooting aerials today. From kites, drones and real planes. Can you tell us how you shot this. It’s a capture that you just can’t get from street level. Excellent!

  3. Bea, this was done the old-fashioned way: fixed-wing aircraft (Cessna 172), open the window, lean out, shoot. Helicopters are MUCH better, but expensive.

    I’ve been flying with the same pilot for a while now, and he knows what I need. We locate the subject, circle once or twice to check out the angles (that’s the equivalent of a walk-through) and then when we’re in that part of the arc, he’ll lift the wing for me while I make shots.

    The best thing to do is to rent a Gyro stabilizer (Google: “Kenyon gyro”), which mounts to the bottom of the camera, or the lens, and really reduces vibration. But you can get away with an image-stabilization lens and a fast shutter speed. I go with 1/1250th.

    Lastly, in the image above, I’ve applied a fake tilt-shift miniature effect in photoshop to blur the surrounding houses and draw attention to my subject. Jury is still out on whether that was a good idea.

  4. It looks great no doubt about it. If I were just shown the picture with no explaination i would have said it was a model. I cannot put my finger on it ..it just does not look real.

  5. Scott,
    As a photographer who has a commercial pilot license, I’ve thought about trying to do some aerial work like this. I don’t own my own plane (and never will), but I have a friend who has a single engine Piper. I’ve thought about trying to convince him to attach an external mount for my camera. You’ve obviously figured out a way to get a good photo by just shooting through the window opening.

    Anyway, this photo has really piqued my interest in aerial photography once again. I wonder, though, if there’s any money in it once you pay for the plane/pilot, the camera mount and necessary additional gear. Perhaps it would be viable if a photographer were to treat it as a loss leader, so to speak, that can differentiate his work and generate interest in his more profitable real estate photography services. Any thoughts you care to share on this would be appreciated.

    I like your photo a lot. If I owned that home, or were considering buying it, that image would be very appealing to me. I personally like the tilt-shift look but I suppose some people would disagree.

  6. Bob, there is absolutely money in it. I don’t do loss leaders! You have to charge appropriately for the work you’re doing, or don’t do it. (end of lecture)

    There’s no need for a external mount for a camera (you’d need a gimbal and remote liveview/focus pull etc. etc. which is VERY expensive stuff). Just rent a Kenyon Labs gyro and use an image stabilization lens with a high shutter speed, and you’ll be fine. Don’t know what model Piper your friend has, but it needs to be an overhead wing (most Pipers aren’t, I think).

    Even better, though, is a helo. They can just take the doors off and you can compose and shoot in a very relaxed way. Around here I can get an R44 for about $450/hour.

    • Scott, I’ve begun to do some more looking into this, and thanks for your input. It looks like there are likely to be hassles with FAA approvals for mounting cameras externally on aircraft, although some people do it anyway. And you’re right, my friend’s Piper is low wing. I’ve been finding many examples online of aerial photographers who do what you described above–using a Cessna 172 or other high wing aircraft and shooting through the open window. I don’t think it would be too difficult to find a pilot with a plane who would fly me around for an hour to shoot aerials, and although a helo would be fun, this would cost about half as much. As a fixed-wing pilot myself, I could also figure out a way to log some flight time as well.