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  1. #11
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    As a veteran aerial photographer, I must agree with all of the above. The way you shoot will depend on the helicopter, windows and seating. I had the luxury of opening the cargo doors and stepping out on the skids to shoot with no windows. I did wear a harness for safety though.

    I guess you can't do that, right? Makes for good clear photos though. Canopy reflections and flare are real problems. However, even with them these photos will be valuable someday. Don't worry, just shoot! You can see these defects on just about every photo in my gallery posts of air to air photography and I feel that the photos still "work". Vibration and focus are your real bugaboos.

    PE

  2. #12

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    It's not hard, really. Infinity focus, 125/250 shutter speed & appropriate f stop= good to go.
    As mentioned, don't rest anything on the machine itself & your body absorbs the vibration.
    Be nice if you get a door open though.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  3. #13

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    Does a polarizer help? I've never shot frpm a choper but when I did try from a smaller plane, I found the polarizer helped with the color saturation where and without colors were muted to washed. I did not have time to focus, meter and adjust the polarizer back then but, with newer automatic evedrything, I'd think there may be more time to work the polarizer.

  4. #14
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    I haven't shot from helicopters, but have from a variety of planes. I don't usually use zoom lenses, but this is a situation where zoom lenses are very helpful. You want to spend you time watching and shooting, not changing lenses as the scenery changes. You may not have any place to safely set the extra lenses either unless you recruit someone to hold them for you.

  5. #15
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    Actually, if using color, a UV filter would help. A polarizer would not hurt.

    PE

  6. #16
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    The last time I photographed from a chopper was when I was in the Seabees, I photographed a beach invasion sitting facing out with my toes over the edge.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  7. #17
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    I've done this a lot for work, and all of the advice above is good: fast film (400), fast shutter speed, focus on infinity, don't let the camera touch the helicopter. I've usually used a zoom with my F100 (28-80) with an F65 as a backup and to use while changing rolls in the F100 in case something really good comes up while changing film. Put fresh batteries in before you go up. You can tell when the glare and/or reflections on the window will be a problem. Really wide angle lenses will often get part of the helicopter in the picture and movement is exaggerated with a telephoto of course, but you won't have any control over the altitude the pilot is flying at, so a mild telephoto might be useful to have along. Take lots of film (36 exposures) and lots of pictures. Keep the exposed film in one pocket and the new in another.
    Enjoy the trip and don't worry about what the pilot is doing. In any case, he won't be hot-dogging with 6 people on board. If you think you might get motion sick, take something before you go. Don't drink too much coffee before the flight, bathroom space is limited.
    Fight for the right-hand seat in the front. Have fun!!
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284

  8. #18

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    the most important thing is fresh bateries and extra bateries. the chill factor will drain them real fast, especially if you get the chance to shoot without a door in the helicopter. it happened to me once.

  9. #19
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    I worked for 3 years as airophotog here in Switzerland and recomand to use a camera as heavy as possible and the neg format as huge as possible and ask the pilot if he could fly with a camera door or without the door on your side, as I did it all the time!
    If the tracking of the Heli is okay it should work with 35mm at fast speeds 1/1000 and shorter if you can use one of the Nikon lenses with VR then use them at activ modus! Do at least one MF film!

    Cheers Armin
    Good light and nice shadows!

    www.artfoto.ch

  10. #20
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    This was done with my Hassleblad 501CM, 80mm lens w/hood. I put the camera against the plexi, gently, and took this shot.
    It was a nice bright day, If I remember it was at a 1/250 or 1/500th sec. and I used Fuji 160C.
    It appears quite sharp on the negative.


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