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Useful Guide for Aerial Photography

Useful Guide for Aerial Photography

This aerial photograph was taken from an airplane flying over Cape Town. It was a nice clear day. Thanks to photoshop the photos look wonderful. This photos were taken while landing at Cape Town International Airport coming from Lanseria Airport in South Africa.

Here is another photo of Crepuscular Rays taken a few minutes earlier:

Photo Technique:

The two main issues with aerial photography is:

  1. Vibration
  2. Haze

When shooting aerial photos the shutterspeed always need to be high to compensate for the movement and shake of the airplane, especially when landing or taking off. Using a shutterspeed of 10 times the focal length will usually ensure a sharp image. It is okay to use a big aperture but a smaller aperture will help with image sharpness. It is important to find the balance between increasing the ISO and increasing the aperture to improve sharpness and quality of the photo. Some form of stabilisation also helps a lot. It is very important not to rest your camera or lens on any part of the airplane as this will cause much more vibration.

To get the photos to look good without haze you will need to use photoshop a lot. I always shoot RAW and process most of my photos in Adobe Camera Raw.

How I did the editing for these photos.

Here is a screenshot from the basic settings from Adobe Camera Raw for the first photo:

The white balance was fine straight out of the camera so I left that untouched. I decreased the highlights completely and increased the shadows completely. I decreased the blacks and increased the whites to reduce the haze effect. I increased the clarity slider almost all the way. This helps even more with the dehazing. I only added minor vibrance and saturation. In the new Adobe Camera Raw there is a dehaze slider in the effects tab that could have helped but ACR did not have that option at the time of editing. 

After all the moving of sliders the sky was still overexposed in the photo so I added a +0.5Ev gradient filter over the clouds to even out the exposure of the photo. 

After I got the photo looking good I sharpened the photo a bit and added a slight bit of noise reduction. 

These photo was taken in July 2014 with a Canon 5D MkIII and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.

Camera Settings: f/8.0, 1/400 seconds and ISO 500

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