Aerial Photography made easy- Owen Wilson Photography

Arial Photography in Sydney
Nikon D800 camera, 1/500 sec exposure, f5.6 aperture, ISO 200, 24-70mm lens using Shutter priority

To shoot aerial photographs you will need a good SLR camera with a couple of fast lenses’ say 2.8. Camera sett to 100-200 ISO. A clear day and the time.

Aerial photography is not cheap, unless you have a plane stashed away or a pilot’s licence and a hire plane at the ready. To hire a plane, it costs roughly $450.00 upwards and a helicopter $1200.00 and up per hour. A cheaper option is a drone, but you are limited as to where and when you can fly them, you don’t have the ability to use your 35mm digital SLR camera and drones aren’t cheap either if you want quality images. You also need a licence to fly it.

Arial Photography in Melbourne
Nikon D700 camera, 1/1000 sec exposure, f5.6 aperture, ISO 200, 24-70mm lens using Shutter priority

I personally prefer to hire a helicopter and let them deal with all the complicated stuff, while I shoot to my heart’s content. All I need to do is concentrate on the photos I want and the angles I need. No filters required but a polariser is useful when capturing water to cut the glare. I basically use the Polariser filter all the time when shooting aerial.

Joy flights are a good way to scout out the area you wish to capture, before hiring a helicopter and shooting for real. It is not practical to shoot during a joy flight as you have other passengers to contend with, and you are not grantee to get the best seat.

Aerial photography can be quite enjoyable and it gives a different perspective to photography. Choosing where and when to photograph is another important decision you will need to make. I shoot images for a calendar company and they can be very picky about the angle and so forth. The direction of the sun, shade and bright lighted areas can be a problem. Cloudy days can be great for shooting city area or heavily built areas, but not so great for water shots such as these of the reef.

Photo Library NSW
Nikon D700 camera, 1/1000 sec exposure, f2.8 aperture, ISO 200, 70-200mm lens using manual exposure

This is a great example when deciding on the angle, the best angle of Heart reef is straight on, if you shoot from the side it doesn’t look anywhere near as good. Always have the door removed where possible when shooting because you don’t want to be shooting through a window. Especially if you want to sell your images.

Photo Library in Canberra
Nikon D800 camera, 1/1000 sec exposure, f3.2 aperture, ISO 200, 24-70mm lens using Shutter priority

Island s are great to shoot on a clear sunny day, you can capture the reef surrounding the island and sometimes you capture the mainland in the background, with some wonderful puffy clouds to add to the scene. What you don’t want is a windy day, as this can cause you to have movement in your images, not to mention air sickness.

Photo Library Tasmania
Nikon D800 camera, 1/500 sec exposure, f4 aperture, ISO 200, 24-70mm lens using Shutter priority

I always love the patchwork effect you can capture when shoot over farming areas, A nice river or stream is great too it leaves you to image where it could lead to.

Nikon D700 camera, 1/1250 sec exposure, f2.8 aperture, ISO 200, 70-200mm lens using Shutter priority

This image was captured during a shoot around Cairns Queensland. I wanted to be able to look straight into the Lagoon and have the buildings lead me into the town.

Photo Library in Cairns Queensland
Nikon D700 camera, 1/500 sec exposure, f5.6 aperture, ISO 200, 24-70mm lens using manual exposure

There is another thing to take into consideration when photographing waterways and land masses, which is, the need to consider the low and high tides, because this particular area Hill Inlet and White Haven Beach, is absolutely awful when in low tide as the brackish water gives a horrible brown stain when seeping over the sand. The best time is 2 hours either side of high tide. If shooting beach scenes, it’s always best to shoot at the high tide.

Like Cairns where there is a 4-meter tide and at low tide there is no water, all you get is mud flats, and that would look terrible for a touristy shot.

Nikon D800 camera, 1/500 sec exposure, f5.6 aperture, ISO 200, 24-70mm lens using Shutter priority

Look how pristine it is when the tide is high.

Nikon D700 camera, 1/1000 sec exposure, f7.1 aperture, ISO 200, 24-70mm lens using Shutter priority

My once in a life time shoot, the super V8s on the Gold Coast. I was lucky enough to be shooting in the area and also so lucky to be able to hire a helicopter during the race.

Another lucky shoot was in Sydney when the 3 big ships The Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth II where all in Sydney Harbour at the same time. An early morning chopper ride was possible, I managed to secure the last one for that particular morning.

This shot has The Queen Mary 2 docked at HMAS Kuttabul Cowper Wharf and The Queen Elizabeth leaving the Harbour while the Balmoral enters.

photo library in australia
Nikon D700 camera, 1/1000 sec exposure, f5 aperture, ISO 200, 24-70mm lens using Shutter priority

And of course, the outer Reef was an amazing experience.

Nikon D700 camera, 1/500 sec exposure, f4.5 aperture, ISO 200, 24-70mm lens using manual exposure

If you have the chance go, go see the Great Barrier Reef, enjoy and be amazed as I was.

For more of my amazing images go to www.owenwilson.net.au Let me know what you think.

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