redcoat78
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 10:54 pm

Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:57 am

Hi to everyone,

is there here anyone that is well experienced on shooting aerial photography (cabin, cockpit and window view, air to air) on board helicopters?
I will be taking a ride very soon and I wonder which parameters could I use. Please note that I would bring with me a first body equipped with Sigma 10-20 (for cabin and cockpit views), and a Canon 100-400USM IS mounted on a second body.
Any suggestion?
 
N51
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 1:04 am

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:12 pm

Make sure you have for flash with you for the cabin shots (preferreably an external flash so that you don't catch the lens shadow on your 10-20. You'll be able to get cabin shots without the flash, but you'll need your aperature so far open that you'll overexpose the view out the window. To get the best shot, set your exposure based on the view out the window, and then use the fill flash to light up the cabin. (You should also clear the use of flash in flight with the pilot before you take off too!)

Best of luck on the shoot!
 
RonS
Posts: 726
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:22 pm

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:16 pm

If you're planning on Air to Air find out if you're shooting out an open window, or through the window. Through the window, attempt to clean the window.

I've only done heli shooting once, but I used higher Shutter Speeds than normal, and higher ISO to get the higher shutter speeds, along with IS.

Get close to the glass as possible. At times I would put a filter equipped lens right against the glass.

Don't be afraid to tell the pilots exactly what you want to shoot and how you want to shoot, but do so beforehand. If there is any type of safety briefing, tell them then, not during flight ot during the loud conditions.
All opinions expressed by me are my own opinions & do not represent the opinions in any way of my employers.
 
Philthy
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 10:13 am

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:12 am

Quoting RonS (Reply 2):
At times I would put a filter equipped lens right against the glass.

Mate: be very careful! The windows are plastic, not glass. Bung your lens up against it and you will scratch it! Especially if you're using a filter with a milled edge. This is a sure way to piss off your pilot/heli owner.

When I'm doing this I either make sure the lens doesn't touch the transparency, or I put my hand on the window and hold the tip of the lens so it doesn't touch.
 
redcoat78
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:47 am

thanks everyone for very useful info.

In fact my worst concern is to avoid to get o/b and once on air realize that cabin shots are over or underexposed. I own a Canon Flash that I will bring too. Thanks N51, in fact I wonder how this photo has been taken

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Italy...d=f796dc8082049dd6ca9cf89bcf036890

I guess this is the climax I would like to reach.

I am not still sure which helicopter I will be flying on, it could be NH500 or AB412 (both from It. Forestry Dpt.). I will ask the pilots all my needs before take-off for sure! I wont be blamed for something especially when related to safety issues... 

Ciao!
 
bottie
Posts: 244
Joined: Sun May 30, 2004 12:53 am

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:35 am

Just follow N51's advice for cockpitshots. Use a flash and set your exposure on the outside view:

http://www.airteamimages.com/105136.html

Equipment: Canon 7D, 17-40 lens and a 430II-flash.
 
redcoat78
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:51 am

Quoting Bottie (Reply 5):

Thanks Bottie, great shot! Do you also suggest to use manual focus? For exposure I will try to exercise at home by shooting a window with exterior light and lower light inside, could be a worthy exercise?
How will you set your exposure on exterior light?
 
gavinconroy
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:14 pm

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:59 am

Another way to learn the exposure technique is to get in the back seat of your car and take a photo of the dash and outside the windscreen.
It worked for me.

[Edited 2010-08-07 04:00:15]
Never stop believing.
 
bottie
Posts: 244
Joined: Sun May 30, 2004 12:53 am

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:15 pm

Quoting Redcoat78 (Reply 6):
Do you also suggest to use manual focus?

Autofocus worked fine for me
 
RonS
Posts: 726
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:22 pm

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:58 pm

Quoting Philthy (Reply 3):
I put my hand on the window and hold the tip of the lens so it doesn't touch

Yeah now that I think about it, I did that too   Thanks.

Here are some shots of Boston taken from a Helicopter:

http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/11330921_yivza#795588048_WGMzg
All opinions expressed by me are my own opinions & do not represent the opinions in any way of my employers.
 
redcoat78
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:38 pm

Quoting Bottie (Reply 8):

Do you suggest to set on TV or AV mode on my Canon?
 
aviopic
Posts: 2423
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 7:52 pm

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:56 pm

Quoting Redcoat78 (Reply 10):
Do you suggest to set on TV or AV mode on my Canon?

Manual.
Measure light at the lightest point with the aperture you want to use then dial given numbers exp. time and aperture into manual mode.
With an UWA lens aperture isn't very important in relation to DOF so keep it fairly wide to reduce exp. time.
Switch on flash.
Keep camera up side down, Canon like all others have mounted the flash shoe on the wrong side of the camera as there is enough light from above but not enough from below so that is where you need to flash.
You can also use a flash cord to be more flexable.
Use an omni bounce for a more even exposure and softer light.
Stop the flash down somewhere between 1 and 2 stops.
Try the procedure a few times and you can't go wrong.

Oh... leave the 100-400 home, it's way to big for a cramped chopper.
Something like a 24-105 or 24-70 will do just fine.
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
redcoat78
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:27 am

Quoting Aviopic (Reply 11):
Oh... leave the 100-400 home, it's way to big for a cramped chopper.
Something like a 24-105 or 24-70 will do just fine.

I meant to bring it with me for air to air shots to other machines. Do you think my Canon 28-135 is most suitable?

[Edited 2010-08-09 02:28:43]
 
aviopic
Posts: 2423
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 7:52 pm

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:51 am

Quoting Redcoat78 (Reply 12):
I meant to bring it with me for air to air shots to other machines.

If you need an 100-400 for A2A you might aswell stay on the ground and shoot from there.  
Quoting Redcoat78 (Reply 12):
Do you think my Canon 28-135 is most suitable?

I am not a great fan of the 28-135 but yes it is more suitable range wise.
All(but a few) my A2A's in the database are done with 24-70 or 24-105.

http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?album=2551
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
redcoat78
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:52 am

Thanks Willem for your kind help!

Just another couple of doubts. Since I don't have any wireless flash (I use a Canon 430SL), should I point it upwards or in normal direction?

Which is the best way to exercise at home? As said by GavinConroy sitting on the back of my car and taking shots of the dashboard?

Congratulations for yur amazing shots gallery!
Simone
 
redcoat78
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 10:54 pm

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:22 pm

Quoting Aviopic (Reply 11):
Keep camera up side down, Canon like all others have mounted the flash shoe on the wrong side of the camera as there is enough light from above but not enough from below so that is where you need to flash.

I cant get you...what do you mean in other terms?

Thank you
 
aviopic
Posts: 2423
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 7:52 pm

RE: Suggestions For In-flight Heli Photography

Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:42 pm

Quoting Redcoat78 (Reply 14):
Since I don't have any wireless flash (I use a Canon 430SL), should I point it upwards or in normal direction?

I don't know a 430SL but anyway don't point it in the direction of a window, the reflections will be horrible.
It needs to be up or down.

Quoting Redcoat78 (Reply 15):
I cant get you...what do you mean in other terms?

In most cases light is coming from above, outside that will be the sun.
But also inside an aircraft the upper half is usually light enough because that's where the windows are.
Which is why I keep my camera up side down so the flash is pointing where light is needed most, the bottom half.
A 1D series camera or a vertical grip does make it easier to do.
You can also operate the camera as usual and use a flash extension cord which enables you to keep the flash anywhere you want.
Something you can also do with your wireless flash of course.

Quoting Redcoat78 (Reply 14):
Which is the best way to exercise at home? As said by GavinConroy sitting on the back of my car and taking shots of the dashboard?

Gavin gave you a perfect exercise tool.
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist

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