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Author Topic: Aerial San Francisco  (Read 5681 times)
Send_Y
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« on: December 12, 2005, 02:17:23 AM »
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I will be travelling to SF in February and as this is not my first visit this time I would like to experience it from the air.

Could you kindly give me a recommendation whether a helicopter or a seaplane tour is preferable? I would also appreciate your comments on what to consider (best seat, temperature, lens...).
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2005, 07:46:09 AM »
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I did the 15 minute heliocopter tour from Fishermans Wharf over Alcartaz and the Bay area a long long time ago.  The problem is shooting through the plexi window - you're at the mercy of scratches condensation etc etc.  Reflections can be minimized by cupping the lens as close as possible to the window with your hand.  In a seaplane this will be unavoidable, but some heliocopters have sliding windows that open - obviously you need a seat by the window.  The copter I was in had one seat up front and 3 in the back - so the middle seat had no window.

I don't know what your budget is or how much effort you're willing to go to - but if you're willing to invest a fair amount of both my suggestion would be to try to find a local skydiving club - they will have access to a (likely) Cessna without a door, and if your stomach can take it you could shoot through the open door as well have have more of a say in terms of where to go.

My lens of choice would be the 70-200, but I'd bring my 100-400 as well as the 24-105 - IS being a key requirement - there's lots of vibration - there's no reason you can't change in the air.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2005, 07:48:24 AM by Tim Gray » Logged
kbolin
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2005, 11:18:01 AM »
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Tim is right if you can find a skydive club you can usually gain access to their plane for a reasonable price.  I used to skydive many years ago and did use the plane for airial photography.  With a door that opens up to the wing you will have to wear a parachute and have some ground school on its use before departure.  They'll also tether you inside the plane as well.

I'd also recommend using a Gyro for rock solid shots.  The KS-6 model is ideal for what you are looking at doing.

Kenyon Laboratories - Gyro Stabilizers

Good Luck
Kelly
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kbolin
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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2005, 07:46:50 PM »
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And another thing.... IS lenses are mandatory too.

Kelly
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bobglass
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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2005, 11:02:01 PM »
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Hello,  
I'm currently scheduling a photo shoot of the San Francisco Seaplane Company for their publicity, and would be more than happy to give you all the details of how to go about the most personalized flight.  Their large (6 passenger) plane has a roll down window in the front passenger postion and it can fly at about 50 with a full load and apparently is very stable.  If you wish I'll report back to you if your still interested.  We'll hopefully be doing the shoot in early January.
Bob Glass
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Send_Y
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2005, 01:32:43 AM »
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Hello, 

I'm currently scheduling a photo shoot of the San Francisco Seaplane Company for their publicity, and would be more than happy to give you all the details of how to go about the most personalized flight.  Their large (6 passenger) plane has a roll down window in the front passenger postion and it can fly at about 50 with a full load and apparently is very stable.  If you wish I'll report back to you if your still interested.  We'll hopefully be doing the shoot in early January.
Bob Glass
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Bob,
It would be very kind to let me know how your shoot was and how to contact the San Francisco Seaplane Company. Do they have a website, as I live in Austria (Europe)?
Gerald
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saiine
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2006, 06:27:21 PM »
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Hey man, the girlfriend and I are going Feb 11th for a week, you going to be there around then? I'm also looking for tips in SF. I am getting nervous because I hear the weather might suck. I live in San Diego so I'll be driving the coast (which will provide some amazing shots I hope!)

Quote
I will be travelling to SF in February and as this is not my first visit this time I would like to experience it from the air.

Could you kindly give me a recommendation whether a helicopter or a seaplane tour is preferable? I would also appreciate your comments on what to consider (best seat, temperature, lens...).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=53294\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Gemmtech
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2006, 02:33:52 AM »
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I went on a trip to San Francisco in 2004 and my wife's cousin took us up in his private plane, I took some great shots (he slowed the plane down so I could open the window) up and down the coast.  Go down to Santa Cruz and Monterey, great photo opportunities.  Big Sur is also very nice.

Not sure about the tours but we flew out of Palo Alto flying club
« Last Edit: January 08, 2006, 02:34:37 AM by Gemmtech » Logged
Send_Y
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2006, 05:35:24 AM »
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Hi,
Unfortunately not, I will be around starting Feb. 20th and will go to Big Sur area first, so I plan to do my aerial shots on the following weekend. Weather is not my biggest concern, the worse it is now the better it will be in February  !
Hope to get some last minute tips after your return.
Gerald
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bobglass
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2006, 02:53:37 PM »
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Gerald,
Sorry for the late reply, but if is not too late you may contact the owner of San Francisco Seaplanes, Steve Price, at 415-332-4843.  They are located in Sausalito, just across the Golden Gate Bridge.  You may contact me if you have any further questions at 415-454-0634.

I would like to contact you, when you return, in regards to a trip to Austria we are planning for 2007.  My grandmother did a etching portfolio of Max Reinhardt's Salzburg.  I would like to find the same sites and create a photographic portfolio, only 75years later.  You may contact me at the above phone or my email bob@bobglassartist.com.  
Make sure to use my name as the refferee when you talk with Steve.
Bob
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SeanBK
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2006, 10:54:31 AM »
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Sad to see this thread get idle  . So I am trying to resuscitate, but has anyone shot some pics that they can post. How was the trip? What @ shooting pics from air in Napa. Other than gyro, poloriser and required zooms, anyother suggestions?
    Generally what does it costs per person? just the range, as I realize that it would vary a lot. Thanks
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2006, 03:25:37 PM »
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I will be travelling to SF in February and as this is not my first visit this time I would like to experience it from the air.

Could you kindly give me a recommendation whether a helicopter or a seaplane tour is preferable?

I've flown in both and they're very different experiences.  Comparing helicopters and airplanes because they both fly doesn't even begin to touch the differences.  It depends a lot on what you're looking for.  For one thing, helicopters can travel MUCH slower, down to hovering, which planes obviously can't.  OTOH, that flexibility comes with a loss of stability as the rotors induce a certain amount of shake.  I've seen portable gyroscopic stabilizers, but I don't know if you can rent them and they're pretty expensive to buy.  Also, unless you're going on a pre-packaged sightseeing tour, to rent a helicopter will probably run you over $1000/hour.

Small planes such as Cessnas have side windows that open; in slightly larger planes the cockpit windows open so you don't have to shoot through the plastic.  A 'high wing' plane (wings over the cockpit) is obviously better - otherwise your only shots are of the wings below you.  Depending on turbulence they tend to be more stable for shooting than a helicopter with less shake.  You'll be traveling at speed though, so you'll need to use high shutter speeds to compensate.

Mike.

P.S.  I remember one of the Twin Otter pilots I used to fly with told me once that he had a guy up with a Polaroid camera.  The guy pulled down the side window to take some pictures, but it seemed as if it wasn't working.  What took him a minute to figure out was that 130 knots the film coming out of the front of the camera when he pressed the shutter release was whisked away instantly in the draft.  Almost as embarassing as the pilot (not the same one) who leaned his head out the window and lost his headset.  Had to pull it back in by the cord.  Anyway, I digress...
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