Aerial Photography History

Aerial photography has come a long way from its inception back in the 1800s. In the quest to take a photograph from an aerial perspective, lots of different things were attempted.

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One of the first attempts was to use ladders and high towers to go above ground level and get an aerial view. This was followed up by the construction of elaborate scaffolding and the raising up of cameras mounted on poles, and even poles mounted on vehicles. Then raised platforms were erected so the photographer could get a bird’s eye view of the scene below. But the thirst for more height kept these pioneers of aerial photography searching for bigger and better ways to get more height fotografie.

One innovative photographer attached his camera to a kite along with a lighted fuse. When the fuse burned through to the end, this triggered the camera shutter causing a photograph to be taken.

Then there was the fellow who mounted a tiny camera on homing pigeons. The camera took a picture every thirty seconds in the course of the pigeon’s flight home.

But these photographers weren’t satisfied with sending their cameras up while they stayed earth-bound. So of course, it wasn’t surprising when hot air balloons became the vehicle of choice for aerial photographers. Initially, these balloons were tethered to the ground, but eventually they were used to take photos over longer stretches.

From there the next step was to use airplanes as the platform for aerial photography. And for a long while, that’s as far as things went. Advances in the quality of the equipment were making aerial photography a valuable tool. But airplanes were really putting a limit on the areas where aerial photos could be taken due in part to safety constraints.

So it was a logical step when helicopters were enlisted for aerial photography. They were able to fly at a lower altitude so could be used over large cities safely, could navigate into areas that planes couldn’t reach, and could both hover and go up and down vertically.

But even helicopters are limiting to some extent by their size, and the cost involved in aerial photography projects using planes and other aircraft can quickly wipe out a budget. That led to the use of remote controlled planes and helicopters for taking aerial photographs.

There are different classes of remote controlled aircraft, some of which are suitable for commercial purposes such as inspecting power line transformers, making low level flights over farm fields, or taking a photograph for an aerial view of a property which is being listed for sale. These RC vehicles tend to be larger and will produce better picture quality due to the increased stability they offer.

A big advantage of remote controlled model aircraft, aside from the cost savings, is the fact that it allows amateur enthusiasts to get involved in low altitude aerial photography. All that’s really needed is the right camera and a remote control model aircraft and you’re ready to go.

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