The good, the bad and the ugly of aerial photography - Part 1: Why shoot aerials?
Man has always had the dream of flight – but so has the photographer. It’s a unique experience to shoot from the air, and it has some incredible benefits in many senses. But as one might discover, it often carries a number of problems and a hefty price tag. I personally started my romance with serious aerial photography about three years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. My experiences have mostly been amazing but admittedly not always so, and I’ve come to wonder what makes photography flights in different settings so… well, different.
In this series of articles I’ll try to survey my own experience with aerial shooting, including the different aircrafts to shoot from, what equipment to use, what technicalities to put an emphasis on and of course, the prices. I’ll talk about some of my aerial shoots, and explain what distinguished them and what I learned. Aerial photography can be wonderful and exhilarating, but it can also be disappointing if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. I hope the following articles help with this.
So what makes aerial photography so darn good? A great many things. First of all, it allows for a new – and extremely different – angle of shooting. There’s a huge difference in the angle of view when shooting from the ground, or even from a mountaintop, and when shooting from hundreds of meters above the landscape. The same scenery gains another dimension, and the viewer gets a much better understanding of the surroundings. Perspective deformations are also less pronounced since there’s less of a difference in distance to the subject’s different parts.
|An aerial shot of Deadvlei, Namibia. It’s incredible to realize that most of the clay pan is actually devoid of trees - which is hard to perceive when you’re down there.|
It can be claimed that only from the air, one can see the landscape for what it really is. Unseen parts of the setting can be exposed, for example ones that are obscured by mountains, and with good visibility, one can see and shoot much farther than from the ground. In the image below, shot from a helicopter in Holuhraun, Iceland, several of these advantages are demonstrated: first of all, when shooting from the ground, it was impossible to get a shot of the lava which includes the caldera itself. Secondly, this angle allows for inclusion of the lava river in the background, which contributes a great deal to the composition.
In addition, some landscapes are hard to get to – not to mention shoot – from the ground, especially close enough to make them interesting. A good example of this is an erupting volcano. If the lava flow is strong, it can be impossible to go near the eruption point itself, but from the air, it can often be seen quite clearly.
But it’s really not limited to volcanoes. Instead of traversing miles and miles on foot, camping, climbing and struggling, one might take a short flight, shoot a location and fly back in time for dinner. Sounds enticing, and it truly is. Moreover, it’s quite addictive, so much so that when visiting a new location, I often feel like I have to shoot it from the air, even if there isn’t much sense in it. One mustn’t forget that aerial photography is an experience to cherish, not to be taken for granted. Do it when you must, when it offers real benefits, and not just as a means to shoot without making an effort.
|The terminal of Ilulissat glacier, Greenland.|
In the next article in the series I’ll talk about the two most popular aircrafts for aerial photography.
Erez Marom is a professional nature photographer, photography guide and traveler based in Israel. You can follow Erez's work on Instagram, Facebook and 500px, and subscribe to his mailing list for updates.
If you'd like to experience and shoot some of the most fascinating landscapes on earth with Erez as your guide, you're welcome to take a look at his unique photography workshops around the world:
Land of Ice - Southern Iceland
Winter Paradise - Northern Iceland
Northern Spirits - The Lofoten Islands
Giants of the Andes and Fitz Roy Hiking Annex - Patagonia
Tales of Arctic Nights - Greenland
Saga of the Seas and The Far Reaches Annex - The Faroe Islands
Desert Storm - Namibia
Selected articles by Erez Marom:
- Behind the Shot: Dark Matter
- Mountain Magic: Shooting in the Lofoten Islands
- Behind the Shot: Nautilus
- Behind the Shot: Lost in Space
- Behind the Shot: Spot the Shark
- Quick Look: The Art of the Unforeground
- Behind the Shot: Watery Grave
- Whatever it Doesn't Take
- Winds of Change: Shooting changing landscapes
- On the Importance of Naming Images
- Hell on Earth: Shooting in the Danakil Depression
- Parallelism in Landscape Photography
|scrum break away by al booth|
from Sport competition
|Chinese Acrobat by lim yau tong|
|Parking Deck by Olaf R|
from Your City - Parking Garage
|Communication Tech by alberto_b|
|With & without by OBellini|
from Empty - Full
In this weeks' Throwback Thursday article, Simon raises a toast to the Sony Digital Mavica FD71 - a little camera which used really big memory cards.
It's been half a decade since Canon first debuted the original 6D and finally its successor is here. So what does five years of innovation look like?
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II brings more resolution, better autofocus and faster continuous shooting to Canon's entry-level full-frame camera. And we've had the opportunity to shoot with one.
The Canon 6D Mark II will ship to consumers in August, but we've been able to do some shooting with a pre-production unit well in advance.
Rumors have been swirling around for a while, and Canon has just unveiled the long-awaited successor to the popular and long-serving EOS 6D. Read all about it in our hands-on preview.
Canon's latest entry-level DSLR is here. The new Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D) is the belated successor to 2013's Rebel SL1, billed at the time as the smallest and lightest DSLR on the market.
Nearly five years after the announcement of the EOS 6D, Canon has finally replaced it with the EOS 6D Mark II. The Mark II features an all-new 26.2MP Dual Pixel AF full-frame sensor, 6.5 fps burst shooting, a fully articulating touchscreen, 1080/60p video and much more.
Canon has announced the EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D), which replaces the aging SL1. This ultra-compact DSLR features a 24MP sensor, DIGIC 7 processor, Dual Pixel AF system and a 3" fully articulating touchscreen LCD.
When one of his friends got a filter stuck on his $1,700 Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L, former MythBuster Adam Savage removed it using an unlikely, terrifying tool: a band saw.
The New Yorker asked Magnum's famed photographers, in town for the agency's 70th anniversary, to go out and capture 'the fleeting beauty of New York City's golden hour.' This is what they shot.
Roger Cicala is a difficult man to impress, but he's been waxing lyrical over at Lensrentals about Sony's new 12-24mm wide zoom.
Glassware is one of the most challenging subjects to photograph, especially against a white background. This tutorial shows you how to do it with hardly any gear.
Handevision is now shipping its all-metal Iberit 90mm F2.4 short telephoto lens for Leica M-mount 35mm and full-frame cameras.
Isocell comprises four sub-brands: Bright, Fast, Slim and Dual which are tailored to specific mobile device market demands.
The new store will be located at the Fotografiska center for contemporary photography in Stockhom, Sweden and carry the full range of Hasselblad products.
A recent vacation gave Richard a chance to think about the needs of travel photography – and how our reviews might recognize the perfect travel camera.
Need more evidence that 2017 is the year analog begins its comeback? Well, welcome another new film stock to the world.
The winners of the 10th annual iPhone Photography Awards have been announced, and they're striking.
If you were disappointed by reports that the Sony a9 struggles with adapted Canon glass, you might be able to take some comfort from Metabones' latest update.
Blackmagic Design has dropped the prices of its Video Assist external monitor/recorders for a limited time. Prices of the SD card-based recorders will be reduced in all markets, while supplies last.
Instagram has started testing a new feature called 'favorites' that enables users to share photos with only certain people. Only a small number of users have access to the feature at this time, though it may roll out to everyone in the future.
Lensbaby has announced the Velvet 85 F1.8 for interchangeable lens cameras. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony E, Sony A, Pentax K, Samsung NX, Fuji X and Micro 4/3 mounts.
It's the end of an era. Parent company Micron has announced that they are discontinuing the Lexar retail brand. This includes 'memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives.'
Youthful trainspotter turned adult photographer, John Sanderson has traveled across the United States, documenting the country's railroads. But you won't find any trains in his pictures.
Sony's new CMOS sensor is backside-illuminated and offers an all-pixel global reset function which should drastically reduce rolling shutter effect when panning.
Shoulderpod has converted its offerings into a lego-like modular system by offering all individual parts of existing products separately, allowing users to build exactly the rig they need for a specific project or simply replace a damaged part.
Photographer Felix AAA has spent the past ten years touring the world with a variety of musicians, capturing behind the scenes shots and portraits. He talks about some of his favorite images on the FujiFilm Blog.
A roll of film discovered in an Argus C2 from an Oregon Goodwill turned out to contain some incredible images – and has been re-united with the original owner's family.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.