« The World's Shortest Camera Review: The Sigma DP2 | Main | An Aerial for Your Portfolio »

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I like that.

dear Mike et al.,

In addition to this aerial photographer, may I recommend the work of William Garnet. I have a copy of his book and he was (and perhaps still is?) an exceptional photographer with an eye for the abstract. His sand dunes are sensual, the ice on a lake bed could be a small town, a farmer's random plow patterns a painting by Miro...




Addendum to my last post: I have found a link on Amazon for William Garnett's book:

And here is a short obituary from the New York Times:



Wonderful article! For me this underscores the value of being well disciplined in one's approach. It feels like so many photographic "artists" leave far too much to chance, so they can, perhaps, "get in the flow" and be more "arty". Some of the finest work (in all art disciplines) were planned with clear forethought as to the desired/required outcome.

Ahhh, aerial photos. I've always had a 'thing' about them. Yes Garnet was one of the masters, however John S Shelton remains one of my all time top guys, see his 'Geology Illustrated', poor printing but now and again someone will put one of his images well printed in a magazine, he was a teacher and took aerial shots for his class. For sheer quality Brad Washburn remains unbeatable, his technique and eye combined to great effect.

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.

Very impressive work, and a good explanation of the how. His "Heartland" photos are great. That part of Kansas, Flint Hills, is really beautiful. (I have family near Wamego)

Like Hikari, the hour I spent shooting out the window of a small plane, didn't lead to cleaning the plane, but I do have an aversion to small planes. At least I got paid for it.

We do aerial photography a couple of times since we do mapping of geologic features. It's really hard work peeking through a K10D viewfinder placed on the floor of the plane (a nomad military plane) at 7500 feet for 90kms one-way. We also had to sync the shots manually to obtain stereo photos. The worst is when a tail wind shakes the small 7-sear plane up-down and sideways!

"It also emphasizes the importance of capturing moments (even from the air) by studiously predicting when they are going to happen."

This is a terrific tip for photography in general. Predict. Do not rely on your burst mode to pull you out of a tight spot.

I tried aerial photography once and the scum of our pilot in a little Cessna didn't want to open the window behind him. He could have, but he didn't want to. So all the photos came out blurry from the scratched Persplex. Some of them can serve as "art", though. :-)

In his favour, that was the smoothest landing I've experienced. And on a lumpish meadow at that. Better than a commercial jet on flat tarmac.

Brad Washburn was the guest speaker at the Randolph Mountain Club annual meeting shortly after one of his last books was published. One of the questions in the Q&A concerned his technique. As Brad said, "Pretty simple, I leave the lens wide-open in order to get the highest possible shutter speed." Much of his aerial work involved using a Fairchild aerial camera which was about as big as he was.

Growing up in rural Indiana we more than once had a pilot/photographer come by the house selling aerial photos of our house, barn, and other out buildings. Sometimes when they showed up you'd remember a couple of weeks back a light plane circling the house and then moving on to the next farm down the road. The proofs were always B&W and the finished photo, usually anywhere from 8X10 to 16X20 was hand colored. You got real nice green grass in the yard that way. Fall scenes with all the colored leaves on the trees were popular too. These guys just shot the photos on speculation hoping owners would buy a nice enlargement. Many of them did, you saw a lot of these aerials when you would visit friends and relatives around the county.

Oh two other things,

If anyone offers you a hot air balloon ride, take it because there is no better platform for taking photos straight down, and check out what the Kite Arial Photography people are doing.

Aerial photography...with a pilot. How old-school quaint. See this video in PDN.

Seriously, though, Jim's is beautiful work. His blog piece may even understate the complexity and effort that go into capturing even a single successful image, based on what I've seen of such work.

Renowned photographer, and friend, Terry Evans has been using aerial photography to document man's impact on the prairie landscape, and the Chicago area's expansion, since 1978 using mainly medium format film cameras. This slight-sized grandma dynamo has probably logged more air hours than an Air Force pilot. (She's now working on documenting the remaining steelworks in Indiana.)

Would you go to this extreme to keep your aerial photo business afloat ?


If you find yourself hooked on aerial photography and don't mind shooting film, then check out some of Peter Gowland's specialized aerial cameras, especially his 8 lb. 8x10 creation (about halfway down the page):


The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007