What to Think Of When Photographing from a Plane or Helicopter

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Besides photographing from a hot air balloon, photographing from a plane or helicopter is probably the most exciting way of capturing the beauty of Africa. To make your photographic bird view adventure a success, think of the following simple tips when going air born.

Make sure that you are not shooting through a window! There are helicopters without doors and for the rest with lots of glass for the perfect view. They are the perfect match for your bird view photography. If you are choosing for example a Cesna, make sure you can get the door on your side removed for the flight. Usually sky diving planes have the door already removed and otherwise ask the pilot, if he/she can arrange that the door gets removed for the flight.

If you can, choose a helicopter. Helicopters are steadier in the air for photography. A plane can be bumpier depending on the weather. Helicopters are also more flexible and can stand still for you, if needed.

Take off or secure everything you could loose easily during the flight like earrings, shawls and other loose or possibly getting loose things. Try not to wear glasses/sunglasses while photographing. It is disturbing your photography and you might loose them. Secure your camera, but do NOT hang the strap around your neck. The gravity will pull your neck down, you will get tired very quickly and it might slide over your head and then the camera is gone. Have the strap diagonal over your shoulder like you would do with a shoulder bag (the way it doesn’t slide from the shoulder).

Don’t be afraid. Although there is no door, you won’t fall out, unless you want it. But don’t do it when you are afraid of height, you will not be able to control the fear in that situation and you might fall. It is all more a question of psychology, imagination and having seen to many Hollywood movies. Secure yourself on your seat and relax.

Now shoot away!

Ute Sonnenberg for