Aerial photography in Iceland

Are you afraid of heights? Don’t be. Aerial photography can be really daunting and intimidating at first, but if you let your fear get the best out of you, you are bound to miss out on a lot.

Why fly?

Aerial photography provides you with a bird’s eye view – one you won’t get anywhere else. Sure in cities you can maybe get up to the rooftop and have a good view of the urban landscape, but in nature it’s an entirely different, terrifying, thrilling, exhilarating and exciting experience altogether. Seeing things from air provides you with a totally different perspective. There’s nothing like it, trust me. I’ve been fortunate to fly out and take landscapes from the air several times now, and it gets my blood pumping every single time.

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Getting started

So here are a couple of pointers that might help you out when you fly out to shoot:

  • It makes sense that since you will be putting your life in you pilot’s hands, pick a good pilot. Communicate well with him. Tell him what you want to do and don’t force something that can’t be done – you may want to get that money shot, but if winds or other weather conditions don’t cooperate, defer to your pilot’s wisdom.

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  • Personally, I don’t bring a lot of equipment. Space is limited and you really don’t want to waste precious time in the air fiddling with a plethora of lenses and other gear. Visualize what you want to shoot and bring the minimum (don’t forget that your gear could fall out too).your gear could fall out too). A all in one zoom would help as you can get wide vistas length to zoom in for intimate landscapes. Usual lenses will be 24-105mm or 70-300mm lenses.

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  • Speaking of gear falling out, make sure you secure everything before changing lenses or switching cameras and whatnot. Also make sure that you yourself are secured, and that you follow your pilot’s instructions on this to the letter. Don’t needlessly put yourself and your other companions on the aircraft in danger.

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  • Settings-wise, pick the ones that will enable you to shoot fast while getting your whole image as sharp as possible (unless a bokeh-slash-miniature effect is what you are going for) and get proper exposure. There is no room for multiple long exposures here – you have to get it all in one shot. Plus, you’ll be constantly moving, so take that into consideration too. As a rule of thumb for faster and sharper photos, shutter speed must be double the focal shutter speed should be 1/200.

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  • Shooting grand scenes in aerial photography would entail shooting details. An aperture of f8.0 to f11.0 will get you good depth of field, for lesser noise ISO 400 to 800 would also be a good choice.

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  • Finally, enjoy the moment! Not everyone gets to fly often – even I wish I had more chances to fly out and take aerials. You don’t even need a high-end camera (although that’d be nice to have). Just work with what you have and make the best out of the whole experience. Take some time to put down your camera and take in the view yourself as well, and it’ll be an experience you’ll keep for a lifetime.

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