AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY PROCESS
I keep my Cessna 206 at Centennial Airport just south of Denver because it is a good jumping off point to easily reach much of Colorado. The airplane is known for being able to carry a large load into short unimproved airstrips, yet is easy to fly and goes moderately fast. I fly over the Eastern Plains often, sometimes several times week. I depart early in the morning and it takes about 30 minutes to reach many of the locations I like to see. Once I get away from the airport and any traffic, I engage my autopilot, prepare my camera, attach it to my shoulder harness and start looking for compositions. When I find something I want to photograph, I open the window and point the camera down at the landscape, look through the viewfinder and start shooting. I like to see my subject from all angles, so I direct the autopilot to turn, generally to the left so I get a better view of the landscape. My first priority is to fly the airplane, so I always keep an ear out to hear any potential change that would indicate a problem. The airplane is obviously moving quickly, turbulence bounces the airplance around, and the cameras can be persnickety. It is a balancing act keeping the camera steady in my hands while getting the best composition, I can’t put the lens too far out the window as the slipstream will vibrate it. A lot of things have to come together to make a good picture, and some days go better than others.
I fly over some places again and again, just to see how things change. I also like the challenge of arriving at a new location and looking at it to see what is important, then try to capture that with my camera. Sometimes I do GoogleMaps research beforehand to help me previsualize what I might see when I arrive at a new location. There are a lot of variables that control how a picture turns out, that’s why I like to see things repeatedly to get the best picture possible.