Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My New Project – Aerial Photography from an R/C Helicopter


This is the first post of what I believe will be a long series as I pursue a new objective of aerial photography taken from a radio controlled (RC) helicopter.  One of the beautiful things about photography is the endless number of challenges to take on with just a bit of imagination.  As I have observed some of the new and creative avenues being explored by the current crop of photographers, I have noticed some terrific technical and artistic approaches to aerial photography – particularly in that “no mans land” just above the ground up to around 100 feet.  This is the area that is very difficult to shoot from traditional platforms (real helicopters, booms, cranes, etc.).  The RC helicopter is a versatile, promising, and challenging platform for this unique altitude and perspective.


So this is my first installment on what appears to be a lengthy (and expensive) path toward aerial RC helicopter photography.  To begin my journey, I went to the local hobby shop and explained my objective and the fact that I was starting from an experience level of precisely one degree above nil.  I have flown real helicopters, but I realize this has little bearing other than knowing a helicopter goes up, down, left, right, and rotates around it’s central axis.  The gentleman at the hobby shop listened to my goal of attaching a 6 pound load to a three axis gyro stabilized mount attached to a very substantial RC helicopter.  He then outlined the progression of helicopters I would need to master to achieve my goal.

Helicopter-2 The first step in this process is the tiny, 6” long helicopter you see in these photographs.  I decided to take the opportunity to do some lensbaby – macro photography with my new toy.  This helicopter is truly small and intended for indoor flight only.  Any slight wind, even that of an air-conditioning vent, can send it into a tizzy.  For the last couple of weeks, I have been flying this mosquito around my living room and practicing controlled landing on various pieces of furniture.  My skills have improved rapidly, and I look forward to the next upgrade in a couple of weeks.

I look forward to reporting on my progress toward mounting a Canon 5D MKII on an RC helicopter while completely encased in bubble wrap!

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


1 comment:

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