Looking for tips on aerial landscape photography from airplanes. Not surveying type images but landscape images. Will be looking to do a several aerial photography flights in the future. Have a pilot and plane lined up which we will be pulling a door off of and giving me a harness to hang out a bit.
I have a Pentax 645D and a complete kit of lenses as well as a Nikon D700. Probably looking to use the Pentax the majority of the time. Figure there isn't a massive need to stop the lenses down very much as the foreground won't be close allowing for a higher shutter speed and targeting and ISO of about 400. I don't need the full resolution of 40mp and I am fine cutting the resolution in half post.
What should be the minimum shutter speed target? 1/500th?
What focal lengths will be most used (lets keep it as a 35mm reference point for simplicity)? Figuring between 35-85mm. My concern is with a long focal length of 85mm if it will become difficult to achieve sharpness.
Daylight? I presume a couple hours after sunrise will be best time to start so there is plenty of light to use a faster shutter speed. The probably I foresee is the airplane shadow unless photographing perpendicular to the light. Midday would be best to avoid the shadow and fully light the scene but not sure how well that will work out with the harshness.
Communicating with the pilot? Just work out hand signals?
Vibrations? Probably not that much of an issue in a plane as opposed to a helicopter, my bigger hurdle will be that the plane is that the subject will be moving through the frame.
Altitude? Probably just trial and error. Pilot will fly low if I want but that makes the landscape move even faster across the frame...
Lens changing, probably keep that to a minimum if at all...
What else am I missing? Any good links with tips? Any insight is helpful.
The same rules apply in aerial photography as they do on land. Shutter speed and iso will depend on conditions, I don't like going below 1/500th but I have done on several occasions without problem. It will also depend on how your camera performs regarding vibration.
Just the same with lens choice, it's still the same as being on the ground, only if it's from a Cessna 24-28mm is the widest practical lens.
Landscape shooting regarding light surprisingly is just the same as on the ground, not knowing what you want to achieve as an end result limits any advice here.
Gyro stabilisers are good in low light, but mid day sunshine not necessary (I have several, I only use them for night shooting or video) If you feel the urge to use one, a KS8 is the best compromise a KS 6 is good as well, less than that I wouldn't bother with. I doubt the first few times using one will help you much as you need to adapt to how they work.
If you are shooting in mountainous terrain, unless your pilot is very very familiar with mountain flying, the best advice is DO NOT do it.
Nothing changes in the air, you adjust to the conditions as you do on the ground, some days it will be smooth, other days it can be like being in a spin dryer.