Radio Control Aerial
I have been self employed as a photographer for almost 12 years now, and the longer I do it, the more I want to make sure it is both fun and interesting. I know too many photographers who make decent money, but they have gotten in a rut of doing the same thing, day in and day out, and it gets boring, like a job. That’s where radio control aerial photography comes in. I have radio controlled vehicles of all types, I have planes, helicopters, cars and surfers. I even have a little micro helicopter I can fly around the living room in the house! In addition to making my work fun, I am able to make some of my flying machines a business expense.
Because of the postcard business, I am always looking for new shots and angles, and the cost adds up to hire real airplanes to go up and do aerials of various targets on certain days. In addition to the time and cost, some other problems are that I usually only need a shot or two, and I always want the plane to fly lower, but the pilot has to stay above a certain altitude usually. There is a certain altitude between about 50 feet, and 300 feet or so, that is higher than a pole or ladder, and lower than a conventional aircraft, that is what I call “the impossible zone” for photography. The longer you do photography, the more motivated you become to make photos no one else can do. That makes “the impossible zone” very interesting to me, especially for postcards. Using radio control photography, I can make photos not only from angles that no one else has, but in fact that have never been done, of the scenes I am shooting.
I started a little over a year ago, using a Draganflyer X-PRO quad rotor lifting platform by RCTOYS.com. For my purposes I found it to be too difficult to fly, I had some initial success, but then I had one particularly disheartening and expensive crash that sent me back to the drawing board. Next I built my aerial photography airplane, and have begun to produce some usable images. One thing I love about building radio control aircraft is that it gets you right back in touch with your tinkering and model building skills, which most of us developed as kids. I have also learned to solder pretty well. I lift a 7 megapixel Sony Cybershot camera with a servo trigger I control from my transmitter with my thumb. I point it by sight, and I sometimes spot it by doing one flight with the camera in video mode, then land it and watch the video, then I adjust my next flight accordingly to get the shot I want.
Included in this RC photo gallery are photos of my flying camera machines, and all of the aerials were taken with these, at altitudes I am guessing between 100 and 200 ft. Also included is my first Santa Barbara postcard I shot with the RC plane, I have more in the works for summer. Thanks for looking, feel free to contact me with any questions, and if you do RC aerial photos I would love to see what you have done! I will post new work as I do it.