I have been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. And have experimented with many different forms. Among my favorites are photographs that I have taken from a unique perspective such as a single engine airplane or glider. These are among my most fascinating accomplishments in the field of photography. And I have learned that aerial photography can lend some assistance to your personal creativity.
Aerial photography is defined as the taking of photographs from the air with a camera mounted or hand held on an aircraft, helicopter, spacecraft, balloon, rocket, kite, skydiver or similar airborne vehicle. Aerial photography is an important artistic and commercial skill, which was first developed by a French airman by the name of Felix Nadar who took his first aerial photos from a hot air balloon 1858.
This new technology was first used extensively during World War I where in 1918 units in France took as many as 10,000 photos per night during peak activity. Throughout World War II aerial photos where used extensively for military operations to spy on the enemy and assess their installations and ground fighting capabilities. These photographs provided updated and realistic impressions of the topography as well as troop movement on the ground and potential targets. Once an attack against the enemy was complete aerial reconnaissance photographs were used to assess damage and to form an opinion as to success of the mission.
In 1957, aerial photography reached new heights with the Russian’s first satellite launch of the Sputnik. This was the beginning of satellite imagery. Then in 1972, with the first launch of Landsat satellites by NASA satellite imagery was sold commercially for the first time.
There are many potential commercial and non-commercial uses for photographs taken from above. Today they are used for developing topographic maps, planning land use, archeology, production of movies, espionage, environmental and weather studies, commercial color advertising for magazines, billboards, posters and postcards, hobbies, and many other fields.
The use of technology has also crawled into this field of photography. Advances in radio control technology have allowed for the use of aircraft models which are controlled from the ground to conduct low-altitude photography. This solution is primarily used for advertising and in the real estate industry to address safety regulations that prohibit manned aircraft from flying at low altitudes over populated areas. These radio-controlled aircraft work well in this environment and offer a low cost solution to the photographer.
Aerial photographs are considered public domain because the pictures are taken from aerial views which are considered public places. As a result you will find that there are many ways to view aerial photographs on-line. One of the most popular today can be found at Google Earth, which provides satellite imagery as well as aerial photos of the planet. You can actually use the service to search for places in a given area such as parks, restaurants, schools and hotels. It can also be used to identify the best routes for reaching a given destination. You can also view the aerial photographs from different angles by tilting and rotating them on screen.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic you can browse through some basic materials at your local library or use the internet, which offers a wealth of information on the history, benefits and commercial service providers. Additionally, if you are just starting out or wish to expand your hobbies as a photographer just stop by your local community airport. There you will find a number of flight schools and other flight services where for a reasonably small investment you can enjoy a one hour flight and add many interesting photos to your portfolio.
To Your Success as an Aerial Photographer!
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