Sponsor Message:
Aviation Photography Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Question On Air To Air Photos  
User currently offlineLGB Photos From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (14 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 3258 times:

This is a question for anyone who has done air to air photos. I am scheduled to maybe shoot a learjet air to air next year along with some Beech 18s. Does anyone use a gyro when shooting? Or do you just take the photos as you would on the ground? This will be my first time doing it, so any imput from experienced people would help. Thanks


9 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineAndyEastMids From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 1107 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (14 years 5 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3186 times:


A well executed air-to-air trip is not a trivial matter and needs more than a simple reply to do it justice, particularly where high-speed jets are concerned.

You don't say what your camera platform will be... Obviously, a Learjet is a pretty slick airplane so you'll need a reasonably quick platform airplane. In general, I prefer to shoot through an open door or window, though speed and altitude may make that not be possible. Professional air-to-air photography involves shooting through a plane window that has been specially installed with optically flat glass to ensure that there's no distortion. If you can't shoot through an opening or through optically flat windows, you could have a problem with the quality of the results. If you have an open window or door, firstly make sure eveything is well tied down, and DO NOT put the lens out into the airflow, as the results will be shaken however fast your shutter speed.

Yes, in an ideal world you'd need a gyro stabalised camera, but reality says you might not get it.

The main issues are:

(a) Come up with a plan BEFORE you depart so that the camera ship and the subject will be positioned correctly for as long as possible (remember you want the sun behind you for the most part), particularly if their speeds are different, as this may mean the subject repositioning / formating on the camera ship on a number of occasions, and airspace restrictions may mean you have limitations on manouevering room. You need to agree angles, positioning etc, so the pilots handling the subject know where you want them, at what angles of bank, etc.
(b) Come up with an agreement BEFORE you depart regarding how the camera ship and the subject are going to communicate with each other - if you're doing this seriously, you will need those conversations.
(c) Have a thorough briefing with BOTH sets of pilots, who should be familiar with fairly close formation flying, so that you and all the pilots understand what the plan is, what is expected of them, and what to do if any problems arise. Planning a safe air-to-air trip is NOT a trivial matter and needs time and a lot of forethought, particularly with high-speed airplanes like a LearJet.


User currently offlineRWY-16 From Switzerland, joined Dec 2000, 106 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (14 years 5 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3173 times:

Andy, what kind of lenses do you normally need for air-to-air pictures? Is 300mm enough?

Regards, Andi

User currently offlineSukhoi From Sweden, joined May 2006, 384 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (14 years 5 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 3165 times:

Having sat in on an air to air briefing I can go along with Andy's points its all about preparation.

You need to have everything planned in advance what type of picture your looking for how you want the aircraft to be posed in the pictures and what you actually want out of the shoot. Formation flying is never easy and takes a lot of planning in itself and when your talking about something fast like a Lear the safty margins are even greater. The last detail has to be gone through and your be amazed at what you need to discuss in the planning stages.

Its all about communication both on the ground prior to the sortie and in the air. As Andy points out you need to be in contact with all pilots and they need to hear you too.

Good luck and i hope your not paying the bill!



User currently offlineLGB Photos From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (14 years 5 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 3150 times:

Hi Andy. My photo platform will be a T-28 so we could probably fly with the back of the canopy open. I appreciate your input a lot. Thanks


User currently offlineAndyEastMids From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 1107 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (14 years 5 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 3138 times:


Yes, I've heard of a T-28 being used quite a few times. You need to decide whether the canopy is clean and distortion free enough to shoot through, or go with the canopy open. Open obviously limits you to fairly low levels. If the canopy is open, you'll need a good head set connected to both the intercom system in the T-28 (so that you can hear and speak to your pilot) and connected to the aircraft r/t (to talk to the pilots of the subject). You'll need to check into this respect the aircraft r/t - is a none-radio licenced user allowed to transmit on aviation frequencies (in the UK this would be illegal). As you're in the US, you can look at the possibility of using 123.45 for air-to-air communications (also illegal in the UK!).

Other than that, plan, plan, plan, and allow plenty of time for a thorough briefing including yourself, both sets of pilots. As I said, this brief will need to cover shoot expectations, procedures (particularly safety), communications, positioning. You'll need to consider where the sun is going to be, and the empty airspace you have available. Remember with a Lear you'll be batting along quite a bit, but even with a T-28 you still need to look at the numbers as I'd imagine the Lear will be somewhat faster unless its pilots are pushing the envolope a bit at the bottom end - I may have to accept passes rather than a period in formation.

As to lenses (Andi asked), just think about what sort of lens you'd use on the ground. A Lear isn't that big and if the relative speeds work out more than a few knots different, the pilots won't be getting that near. A long lens is a must, 300mm may do or it may not, and it'd be difficult to make any definitive decision on that until you've had a chance to discuss the trip with the pilots. Whatever you decide on lenses, remember that changing in the air isn't going to be easy in a small rear cockpit with an open canopy.

Good luck!!!  Big grin


User currently offlineFlygga From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (14 years 5 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 3132 times:


I would check with Jan and Tommy Mogren (I think you know them). They have done a lot of air to air stuff.

BTW, I am jealous. Do you need an assistant?


User currently offlineLGB Photos From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (14 years 5 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3114 times:

Thanks Andi. We will have to wait and see about that assistant.....hey Richard, do you know what flygga is in Swedish? It means - to fly. And I know what you are refering to about it........FLY Golden Gate Airlines.  Smile


User currently offlineFlygga From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (14 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 3087 times:

Does it really mean to fly??? If so that is cool.

User currently offlineStaffan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (14 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3080 times:

I have to jump in and make a correction, it is spelt "flyga" in Swedish, sorry Richard...  Sad

Does anyone of you guys know what LGB is? It's the brand of those large model trains you can have in the garden, check out www.lgb.com

Staffan  Big grin

Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
One More Time On Air To Air. posted Thu Oct 19 2006 18:05:37 by Fiveholer
Dummy Question On The Photos Here posted Sun Jan 29 2006 00:42:23 by MarshalN
I Need Help On How To Edit These Photos posted Fri Aug 12 2005 00:34:01 by Boeingfan71
Standards On Air To Air Pics posted Sun May 22 2005 17:02:46 by Pilot kaz
3-4 Hours On Sunday In AMS - Where To Take Photos? posted Mon Aug 23 2004 23:39:12 by Patroni
Once Again Allegiant Air Steals Photos posted Tue May 4 2004 01:56:43 by LGB Photos
Where To Host Photos On The Web posted Wed Nov 21 2001 18:25:15 by BA777
Question About How To Avoid Jaggies posted Tue Aug 29 2006 13:24:58 by Coninpa
First Photo Accepted! Question On Two Rejections posted Wed May 24 2006 16:12:35 by Kmonroe
Links To Your Photos posted Fri May 19 2006 00:15:05 by Interpaul