Our friend Jim Richardson, in his blog, has a nice account of taking this picture, and of planning aerial photographs in general. Jim's blog takes pictures mostly from his work for National Geographic and tries to give a down to earth, nuts-and-bolts look at how they were made.
"The latest," he writes, "is about an aerial photograph of wheat harvest for our 'Great Plains' story, in which I go into considerable detail about the rigors of aerial photography from a small plane. It also emphasizes the importance of capturing moments (even from the air) by studiously predicting when they are going to happen. It's not a romantic view of photography, just what you have to do to make it happen."
(Thanks to Jim)
Featured Comment by Hugh Crawford: "When I was in high school I would take aerial photos of crops on my family's farm. We would take the doors off of a Citabria and I'd take pictures out the door. Between the placement of the doors and the struts and me in the backseat and 120mph of wind buffeting me, the pictures sucked for any other purpose than seeing how the center of the sunflower field was doing. In retrospect I think it was all just an excuse to go flying with the doors off the plane. I hadn't thought of that in years, and now I can distinctly remember the smell of avgas and the farm."
Featured Comment by Hikari: "I had once the chance of taking photos from the window of a small plane and got sick after 30 min. smelling the gasoline and looking through the viewfinder. From that day I really appreciate the work of these kind of photographers."
Featured Comment by Tim F: "Tip from someone who has done this all of once: do not ask the pilot to fly as low as he can if you only have one pass. I was looking up at telephone poles."
Featured Comment by Jim Richardson: "Any discussion of aerial photographers would be incomplete without giving full credit and fawning admiration for my own aerial hero, Georg Gerster. Long before Yann Arthus-Bertrand took the world by storm Gerster was showing us what art aerial photography could be. He has built up an enormous body of work of simply stunning images.
"Once, years ago, I had the honor of working with him, when we were doing the 'Day in the Life of America' and I was one of the assigning editors. Georg Gerster was assigned to me and I remember sitting there asking him what he wanted to do. Simply and professional he said, 'I want to do what you need done.'
"Quite a guy, and not a bad photographer."