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Author Topic: Aerial Photography - Helicoptor  (Read 3692 times)
francois
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« on: July 06, 2005, 06:02:56 AM »
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I'd choose a lens like 70-200 IS (or VR). The IS system would help with the vibrations you'll get during the chopper ride.

Graham, you're a lucky man  :cool:

Francois
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Francois
wolfnowl
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2005, 01:00:46 PM »
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My low leve flying experience is more with fixed wing than rotary wing, but some of the same ideas apply.  As has been mentioned, I'd go with a wide angle to moderate telephoto lens as small choppers do tend to have a lot of vibration and it all gets magnified through the lens.  IS would be plus.  Since you're not going to have a 360 deg clear view (and what the pilot can do for you depends in part on what air traffic control will allow him to do), you are going to end up shooting through plastic at least part of the time.  You'll have a four-way safety harness if you're sitting up front; sometimes you can lean a bit into it and use the harness for a bit of stability.

One more thing.  In my experience (and depending on the pilot), if s/he asks if you've ever been in a helicopter before, always say yes.  On a first flight they are sometimes tempted to show you what a helicopter can really do, and you may not be able to keep your lunch.

Then there was the guy who was in the copilot seat of a Twin Otter, side window down, taking shots with his Polaroid camera.  He couldn't figure out why the camera wasn't working, until he realized that at 150 knots those automatically ejected, self-processing films were being sucked out of the camera and blown away in the prop wash...

Mike.
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~ Jean Cooke ~


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Hank
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2005, 09:09:45 PM »
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When shooting doors-off, we never change lenses.  Simply carry a body for each lens.  Our lens of choice for our Nikon systems is the 24-120mm IS.  Nice range from wide to tele without changing lenses.  Wider, as in a 12-24, and you start to run into bits of helicopter in the frame.

Wear a vest for accessories, and use a longer camera strap so you can put your neck and one arm through the strap for a little more security.

Shooting doors-on?  You've already got good advice here.
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Graham Welland
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2005, 03:13:16 AM »
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I have the opportunity next week to have a dedicated 30 minute helicopter trip around New York/Manhatten along with another photographer friend of mine. However,neither of us has ever done the aerial photography thing before (other out of the window of an airliner) and I was wondering if any of you experts can lend some advice on what best to use and techniques to get the most out of the session. I'm sure it'll feel like 5 minutes so we'd really like to get it 'right' first time if possible.

Lens choice? Wide or super wide?
Polarizer or not? Filters to use?

Unfortunately I'm certain we won't have access to open windows so we'll need to shoot through the perspex. Any suggestions?

Thanks.
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Graham
Peter McLennan
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2005, 10:02:22 AM »
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Don't shoot with a polarizer unless you can take the doors off. The plastic windows will cause coloured patterns. Most doors have small sliding windows that you can open and shoot through. You get clear pix, but at the expense of angular freedom.

If you have both a wide and a zoom tele, definitely take both. Consider renting a second body so that you can avoid lens changes. If you can only take one lens, something like an 18-70 would be best.

Use high shutter speeds, at least 1/500th. That'll take care of the "vibrations". (it ain't the helicopter, it's you)

Relax. It's an intimidating, target-rich environment. It's easy to become overwhelmed with sensation.

Take more cards than you think you'll need.
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fotor
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2005, 08:20:46 PM »
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I have been an aerial photographer for nearly 20 years with almost all of my work done from helicopters. My advice is to keep your hands and arms away from the body of the helicopter which will cause a lot of vibration.  No polarizer through plexiglass. I use a gyro stabilizer, but an IS lens would be fine too. Lens choices mentioned are great.  I tend to use slightly wide to slightly tele.  If you can get them to fly low, there is less haze and the shots tend to be more dramatic. When shooting, pan your shots just as you would with any moving object, continuing the pan after releasing the shutter. If the door is off, then duct tape your buckle with a loop at the end to pull in case you need to exit quickly (on land). Use a UV filter. Relax and have fun!
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Graham Welland
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2005, 02:51:17 AM »
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Thanks everyone for the helpful advice. It's very much appreciated!
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Graham
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