Friday, April 29, 2011

Reflections on Aerial Photography

Aerial photography is an area that many people have little knowledge of.  What actually makes a good aerial photo?

The most important aspect of a good aerial photo is to pick a day with good visibility and minimal haze.  A conversation between the photographer and the client is exptremely important to get exact locations and acreage to be included in the photos.  GPS coordinates of the property (if obtainable) are ideal. The photographer and the pilot need to work as a team, and both need to be knowledgeable of the assignment.  A lot of pilots have taken photographers up in the past and are familiar with what angles and views make for good images.  If the pilot is not familiar with flying for an aerial photographic shoot, it will make the job much more difficult.  Also, the orientation of the buildings in the photographs is important to know so that the photographer and pilot know whether to go up in the morning or afternoon. 

Another common question I get is airplane or helicopter.  A helicopter is good as it has greater maneuverability and can fly at lower altitudes which give you better angles for aerial photos.  Another benefit of a helicopter is that it can move forward very slowly to get the perfect view.  A plane has to turn around and come back. The downside of helicopters is simply higher costs.

Avoid shooting through airplane windows as they will distort your photos when using a telephoto lens.  I use a very fast lens (usually f/2.8) with image stabilization and a professional high-resolution digital SLR camera.  

The most important part of aerial photography, however, is a good conversation of expectations with the client.  Understanding the exact angles and views that the client wants is always the number one priority before going up in the air. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New look at!

I'm pleased to announce the launch of my new website! The new site features interactive slideshows for each area of photography I specialize in–weddings, commercial (architecture, aerial, advertising), portraits (business, family, student), and fine art.

A BIG thank you to Amy Porter, our in-house Art Director who worked on the design development to create a look and feel that reflects our evolving direction in the world of photography.  We've been working hard on this redesign for months, and we're so happy (and relieved!) that it's finally launched.

Here's a snapshot of our new site, and a link!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

State of the Art Gallery

In order to maintain a fresh eye in the commercial sector of my business I need to recharge my creative batteries on a weekly basis.  This involves working on my personal vision and presenting my iconic quirky images at my gallery or in juried exhibits.  A photograph that I submitted to the juried photography show at State of the Art Gallery, Ithaca, New York won a cash prize in March 2011.  The photo was part of an on-going series I call Social Studies which documents the American Social landscape. The image: Right Turn Only was one of many taken at the Veterans Day parade in November 2010.  I find covering the getting ready portion of the parade as fascinating as the parade itself. Going back to my roots as a social documentary photographer renewed my interest in candid people photography.  Patience and timing are the key as the people are constantly moving in and out of the frame, acting, and re-acting.  It is wonderful when everything falls into place for a split second and you get it.  Which photo is your favorite?