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The smaller the aircraft or helicopter, the more vibrations you will feel when flying and this can cause your photographs to appear blurry regardless of the settings selected. Using a lens with image stabilization helps a great deal. The trick to reducing the problem is to separate yourself from the aircraft as far as possible. When shooting through an open window, resist the temptation to support your camera on the window sill, or even rest on it with your forearms. Thrust your lens through the window without touching any part of the plane’s sides. This ensures your major contact point with the airplane remains exactly wherever you are seated, and if there are any vibrations, it’ll be reduced by your arms and torso before they get to your camera. However, ensure the front of the lens isn’t touching it at all if you’re shooting through a closed window.
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Your very first priority in aerial photography in the exposure triangle (ISO aperture, shutter speed) will be shutter speed except you will be in a hovering helicopter. If you are in an onward helicopter or a plane flight, you have to choose a shutter speed that will freeze the motion and deliver a nice sharp image. Shutter speed is very important and that’s the reason I won’t recommend making use of a fully automatic exposure on your camera as you won’t be able to control what the camera is selecting in terms of shutter speed.
The lens is so important that it can either make or mar the quality of pictures obtained from your flight. I recommend that you first make use of a zoom lens in order to rapidly cover multiple focal lengths. My favorite lens for aerial photography is the slightly older 24–105 f/4 L IS but nowadays I use the Canon 24–70. This lens not only has a wider zoom range, it also has the feature for image stabilization which is priceless for managing slower shutter speeds and aircraft vibrations. Also, Nikon has an exceptional 24–120mm option that can stabilize images as well and this is my first choice for that camera system.
There are two major things to put into consideration as regards choosing a camera for a flight such as this; Resolution and high ISO performance. There are no limited number of megapixels you ought to have, but for aerial photography, I say the more the merrier.
This is another secret to capturing great aerial photography. It is extremely important that nothing falls from the aircraft thus, at any time you’re sticking your camera equipment out of an open aircraft door or window, make sure it is firmly attached to you.
When making your flight arrangements, be sure to factor in the angle of the sun and what time of day it is. The light needs to be softer, just like the usual ground level landscape photography, and create more contrast at the crack of dawn and at sundown. You must steer clear of midday flights at all costs!
1. Consider the time of day
You’ll learn the type of settings required to capture sharp images, the lenses that’ll work best and also discuss the comparative advantages of using either a helicopter or a plane.
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