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Flying technique for aerial photography

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Flying technique for aerial photography

Old 5th Dec 2011, 06:02
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Flying technique for aerial photography

Hi.

I was wondering if anyone could shed light on the best way to fly for a passenger wishing to do professional aerial photography in a 172. They obviously don't have the precision and viewing angle potential one could get from a helicopter, and the photographable area would be quite small due to the wing strut. It might not even be a practical aircraft to do it in. Hence this post I suppose
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 06:24
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I recall listening to a presentation on aerial photography by an operator out of Moorabbin. From memory, they used a larger twin engined a/c with the camera mounted on some sort of rail system and shot through the floor. When it was time to take the shot the camera quickly but very briefly moved forward on some sort of sliding system in an attempt to compensate the forward speed of the a/c. Allowed for some very clear shots as I recall.

But that is a long way from hanging out the door of a 172.
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 07:12
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Make sure the windows are clean and try and give yourself as much movement as (safely) possible. Use a constant shutter so you can take three or four of the same photo (you never know which will turn out best)
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 07:14
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I've done some aerial photog flying before, so I maybe able to help.
Some more info would be useful though.
Whats the intended subject of photo-shoot? What altitude? Is it air - air or air - ground? ETC.

Feel free to PM me.

Knox.
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 07:33
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When I started a few years back now I was put into some photo flying. Listen to what the camera man says about positioning and you cannot go wrong. Most of the time the best way is to push in some rudder to get the strut out of the way of the camera... Watch for wingtip getting in their shot though.
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 07:47
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I've done a fair amount of aerial photography flying in a 172 recently.

As far as the aircraft configuration is concerned, we take the latch/strut off the window. As long as the photographer is careful they can open it up in flight and it stays open parallel to the wing. Photos are quite easily taken by keeping the camera pointed just ahead of or behind the wing strut. The photographers I fly with have never mentioned having a problem with the strut.

As for flying the aircraft, I normally extend 10 degrees of flap- enough to slow you down a bit, but not enough to get in the way of a picture.

Taking photos of subects on flat ground is relatively simple- fly straight and level. However when the subject is higher such as including a hill in a scenic shot or an air-to-air shot the wing itself can sometimes be in the way. I was always told not to, but in these cases I fly with slightly crossed controls- lift the wing with aileron and keep heading in the same direction with opposite rudder. Just don't let your speed get low!

That's how I do it, I'm sure other people will do it differently though
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 07:51
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Forgot to add, if you're flying with the window open either get the pax to take their headset off completely or just unplug the mic part. Otherwise when they stick their head out the window with the camera you won't be able to hear yourself think let alone listen to a controller.
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 08:03
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Danger

Sideslip prolonged to get the shot can find you with a quiet engine at low level.

Not a good look.

Go do some research on the C206 up near Proserpine about 7 years ago.

Don't want to put a bucket of cold water on your ops, but it could kill you in a perfectly serviceable aeroplane
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 08:21
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I've done obliques with both a PA28 and a C172 and if it's oblique photos you want, a PA28 with the door off is the only way to go. No wing struts or wheel struts to get in the way, no need for any out of balance flying.

Sitting in the front seat of the PA28 puts you just in line with the leading edge of the wing and flying a nice gentle arc past your subject gives the photographer an excellent field of view.

AMI photography were based out of Christchurch I think, many years ago, all they did was oblique photos of farms and farm homesteads, all they ever used was a PA28.

If it's verticals you want then any aircraft with a hatch in the floor will do.

Edit: remembered name of operator.

Last edited by 27/09; 5th Dec 2011 at 20:24.
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 10:07
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Why not just use a 172 with a door off STC?

Simple.
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 10:57
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.. and of course you need to comply with:

Originally Posted by CIVIL AVIATION REGULATIONS 1988 - REG 206
Commercial purposes (Act, s 27 (9))

(1) For the purposes of subsection 27 (9) of the Act, the following commercial purposes are prescribed:

(a) aerial work purposes, being purposes of the following kinds (except when carried out by means of a UAV):
...
(iv) aerial photography;
...
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 20:21
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Why not just use a 172 with a door off STC?
Because removing the door on a C172 doesn't get rid of the wing struts and wheel struts that get in the way nor the wing which also tends to obscure the view since the best shots are often to be made while flying an arc around the subject.

Checkboard makes some good points. Not sure if you intend to do this commercially or privately.

Last edited by 27/09; 6th Dec 2011 at 07:41.
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 20:44
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checkboard

There was another thread running here suggesting that rule was not meant for hand held cameras but belly mounted ones. The interpretation got lost in the transfer from ANR's/ ANO's to CAR's.
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 21:48
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In the USA the EAA use a 210 with the baggage door removed for air to air The camera man lies down in the back shoots out the door.

to use this method you would have to check weather it is permissible to fly with the baggage door removed, and also have the camera man return to his seat for take off landing and any flight below 1000'
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Old 5th Dec 2011, 21:56
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When I was a CPL in OZ it used to specify photographs taken at an angle of less than 45 to the vertical.

Dunno where it says that anymore.
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Old 6th Dec 2011, 03:10
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Wow lots of useful replies thanks! I comply with the CARs so it's all good.
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Old 6th Dec 2011, 05:30
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The ugly head rears again...

Photography.
Quote from the court case, by a prosecutor, not under oath.

"No person can take an aerial photograph from an aeroplane in Australia
without an AOC or a CPL" Its bullshit of course.

Or you could be Dick Smith in his helicopter.!! (See.! CASA : no balls)

That bastard, "bad law", "buggers muddle" Reg 206 lists, as a commercial operation..Photography.
It does not state why you do it or how you do it, or what the photography is to be used for... if there is money involved, then it is unsafe and illegal.
If there is NO money involved then it quite safe and legal.
Que??? Any safety case validity for the reg??? Sorry..there isnt one.!!
But dont let that stop the regulatory loonies from being allowed out of the asylum.

And CASA can do you twice. Reg 206. No CPL, no AOC
27(9) allowing an aircraft to be used for a commercial purpose.

And CASA is a "safety" regulator specifically and under the Civil Aviation Act
NOT a commercial regulator. But it is, and does control commerce, illegally.

The original poster wants to fly for a professional photographer so money is involved somewhere along the line. SO ...WATCH OUT.
Lots of zealots out there, looking for brownie points and thus saving the world from falling aeroplanes.

There's plenty of books about for info on the technical side of aerial photography.

FYI... osmosis.. the fixed vertical mapping cameras have the techo to dial in the flight speed, camera and film parameters, and during exposure the film moves in concert with the image movement. In earlier cameras you were limited to film speed/exposure and aircraft speed. High res aerial film is normally very slow. If you were down low, you had to fly slow.
With IMC/Image Movement Compensation...that didnt apply.

Damo...just dont crash into a schoolhouse... CASA are very big on that as an occurrence during aerial photography!. (their quote)
They are so full of it they say anything in the name of "safety"
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Old 6th Dec 2011, 05:41
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correction...

second time around was 27a or somesuch... commercial use.

Fabulous logic dont you think, that a professional photographer making money doing professional photography using his aeroplane is somehow unsafe.

And that dear people, is why GA is fcuked today...and has been for years.
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Old 6th Dec 2011, 06:38
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the fixed vertical mapping cameras have the techo to dial in the flight speed, camera and film parameters, and during exposure the film moves in concert with the image movement.
...you still use FILM???
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Old 6th Dec 2011, 06:44
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Several years ago, I designed an under floor aerial camera system involving a standard off the shelf DSLR, GPS leads, a GPS and a small commercially available box that the pilot could control the frame rate etc depending on the speed/altitude and overlap. The Camera cost about $2K, and the rest of the parts sub $1k. CAR35 design, however

As for techniques, think light, think sun angle. Discuss this with your photographer. The perfect angle is nothing without the right light. Can you do prolonged sideslip to get the wing somewhat out of the way in your 172?

What sort of shots is he looking for? Ultra wide angle or zoomed in cropped shots? The latter is fine; the former, well he's in trouble in a 172

Also, consider the time of day, particularly in summer. Dawn and dusk offer smoother conditions, and more diffuse light (as it's coming through more atmosphere) but this needs to be offset with any of higher ISO, wider aperture or slower shutter speeds but new technology seems to be overcoming this in leaps and bounds.
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