Tag Archives: Aerial Photography Leicestershire

Aerial Photography Hinckley – What it is – How it can be used

Martin Neeves - Leicestershire Professional PhotographerPosted on Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Aerial Photography Hinckley

Aerial Photography Leicestershire
Wollaton Hall – click image to see large version

The term aerial photography is one that gets misunderstood because it gets used for several types of photographic purpose.  The conventional view of aerial photography is of an aircraft flying over a stretch of land and taking between one and a hundred photographs.  The camera may be fixed to the fuselage or handheld by a crew member.  In truth there are quite a few types of elevated photography that can be useful for different purposes.  To help understand the value and limitations of aerial photography, I thought I would highlight a few of the main types of this form of photography.

Photo reconnaissance.  This is used by the military to oversee a conflict zone or conduct intelligence gathering.  This can be done with all types of aircraft and is often done using cameras fixed to the fuselage – as this  is not going to be available for commercial use I will not cover it further.

Satellite Imagery.  This is provided by commercial and government agencies.  Images can be purchased from “stock” imagery.  It can also be commissioned from the satellite owners, but is very expensive and beyond the means of small and medium business owners.  The quality of the imagery is very high resolution and the majority of high-resolution commercial imagery is provided by satellites operated by DigitalGlobe, GeoEye and ImageSat International.

Elevated Pole Aerial Photography.  This is a fairly recent innovation, but it is increasingly available.   Elevated photography which is often referred to as mast or pole photography.  This involves a digital camera being elevated above an area on a telescopic mast and remotely controlled form the ground.  In general this gives an image from above a site, but at an angle.  It can be useful for capturing aerial views of shows, schools, archaeological sites, architectural sites, road traffic accidents, golf courses, properties that are not easy to access and many more.  Depending upon the material used for the pole, then winds can affect s the ability to use this equipment.

Balloons for Aerial Photography HinckleyUsing a very high building.  Occasionally in big cities it is possible to get the shot you require from the top of a very tall building.  This relies on a number of factors, such as a suitable building being in the right location, being able to access the building and there being a suitable platform at the top of the building to take photographs from.

Balloons for Aerial Photography.  This can take 3 forms, firstly, flying the camera using a helium balloon (using it is a similar manner to the elevated pole aerial photography. This type of aerial photography is weather dependent for obvious reasons.

The second form of balloon photography is to use a hot air balloon; the problem with this form of photography is that it is very dependent upon wind speed and direction.

The third form uses a combination of kite/helium balloon but is classified by the Civil Aviation Authority as Kite Aerial Photography.

Un-manned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Drone Aerial Photography.  A recent innovation is the UAV or drone which can operate up to 400 feet.  They are effective where there is limited aerial access to full sized aircraft, but an aerial option is still required.  This is great if exact positioning is not important, but you require a general aerial view, or one from high level.  The use of a fixed wing aircraft can be weather dependent.

Un-manned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Drone Aerial PhotographyRemote-controlled quadcopters are becoming increasingly popular as prices for the cheaper models have decreased.  However, it is still expensive to operate quadcopters safely and within the law and there are many photographers and videographers who are using them illegally and without an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC).  Used legally, quadcopters are particularly effective in producing low-level video footage, bringing a real intimacy between the viewer and subject.  To do it properly, the operator must have had the correct training and they must hold an AOC.  There must be two people controlling a quadcopter – one to fly the aircraft and another to take the photos or to shoot the video.  Also, they must monitor very closely every cell of every battery and have a battery replacement plan within their business plan.  Currently, the batteries are very expensive and hold their charge for only short periods.  Some larger quadcopters use two batteries and can still be flown if one battery fails, however, the smaller models only use one battery and they will fall out of the sky (potentially killing someone) if the battery fails.  The CAA are actively looking for videos on the internet that have been taken illegally from UAV’s showing (for instance) the aircraft being too close to people or vehicles not under the control of the operator, so look out for reports of prosecutions soon.

Commercial Aircraft Aerial Photography.  This can be quite expensive if the aircraft is specially fitted, but is very effective to a number of solutions. The photographs can be taken from an oblique viewpoint or vertically.  Most vertical aerial photography requires the use of a specially fitted aircraft. It works well for PR, corporate, architecture and construction photography. If the aircraft is not specially fitted, the cost can be quite reasonable (and cheaper than helicopters, unless a twin-engine aeroplane is necessary for the area to be covered).  I regularly take aerial photos out of the open window of aeroplanes.  The disadvantage of using fixed-wing aircraft, is that they have to continually bank around the subject as they can’t be hovered, so accurate positioning is impossible.  Naturally, there is a sub-set of this form of aerial photography using radio controlled models.

Aerial Photography LeicestershireHelicopter Aerial Photography.  There are helicopters specially fitted with gyroscopes for aerial photography and video, but these are expensive to hire.  While these are essential for video, they are not generally necessary for stills photography, so I normally hire small two-seater helicopters that I can remove the door to give me a better view.  Helicopters allow the photographer to capture an image in an exact location.   I am regularly given old aerial photos and asked to take new ones of the same view.  Sometimes, I may be given an artist’s impression of a new sites (that has yet to be built) so that images can be taken of how the landscape looks now.  This form of photography can be weather dependent, as the ideal lighting conditions are a sunny day with very little cloud cover (as clouds cast shadows on the ground).  Winter can be great for aerial photography because the visibility can be outstanding on a cold, clear, sunny day.

So you can see that aerial photography takes several forms and all have their place.  I specialise in the helicopter or fixed wing aircraft options  for Aerial Photography Hinckley.  This gives me a lot of flexibility to provide the solution you require.

Call me now on 07973 638591 or on 01455 271849 or CONTACT ME for an estimate or to discuss an aerial photography shoot by the Aerial Photography Hinckley.

Drone aerial photography – a new solution or potential problem?

Written by Martin Neeves – Aerial Photographer Leicester

Drone aerial photographyUnmanned Aerial Vehicles have been around for many years with model aircraft. However, you will have noticed that sales of drones that can take photographs have really been one of the growth areas over the last few months. This is not just for a hobby or amateur photographer, but many professionals see it as one of the “next new things” that can be used to make money. Many amateurs have got quite good at flying these drones and have also decided that this would be a “fun way to make money”. There are people promising that “drone aerial photography is democratising aerial photography”. But I believe it is going to result in a lot of disappointed people. Whilst I like the idea of drones, my research tells me that life is not so simple and we are already seeing problems with the use of these drones.

Incidents with Drone aerial photography

There are a lot of recent cases of drones being used in reckless ways and breaching airspace regulations. This is causing safety and security concerns in a number of areas.

There was an incident near Heathrow Airport on 22 July 2014 near Heathrow when a pilot flying an Airbus A320 spotted drone at an altitude of about 700ft. The plane approximately 180 passengers on board and was classed a s a category A incident meaning there was serious risk of collision.

The US Federal Aviation Authority recorded at least 194 incidents with drones in 2014, so worldwide it is becoming an issue. A Virgin Atlantic flight from London reported a drone flying at 3,000 feet in November 2014 when it was coming into land at New York’s JFK Airport reported

The flying of drones above sports stadiums has been a problem in international soccer matches, American Football games. On 11th October 2014, a drone buzzed the 80,000-seat Camp Randall Stadium whilst an American Football game was in progress. In early 2013 a 19 year old man was killed when he lost control of a drone he was flying and it sliced off the top of his head.

As well as being used to hover over a number of English professional soccer games during this season, on 14th October 2014 the Serbia v Albania game was interrupted by a drone flying the Albanian National flag.

There are quite a few cases of drones being used to fly over properties and photograph through windows and in gardens. This raises issues of harassment, privacy and again security. Police are concerned about criminals using them to conduct reconnaissance before carrying out burglaries.  So Drone aerial photography has started to be used for some criminal purposes.

In April 2014, a TV Shop owner in Barrow in Furness became the first person in UK to be convicted for “dangerously flying” a drone over a nuclear submarine facility owned by BAE Systems.

There are some positive uses of drone aerial photography

Despite my opening concerns I recognise that there are some very positive uses for drone aerial photography (and videography); for instance:

  • Real Estate photographs. For Estate agents Drone aerial photography is an inexpensive way of getting aerial photographs. In my previous blog about aerial photography I discuss these options.
  • Protection of population. This might include firefighting, disaster relief, search and rescue. This would allow the viewing of high risk areas without exposing high value equipment or personnel to risk.
  • This is a great use for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). It is possible top rapidly analyse a field and watch farm animals using drone aerial photography.
  • Traffic Accident Reconstruction. Police can produce a record accident details very quickly so that traffic can be allowed to flow again. This allows them to capture details that allow them to reconstruct the accident.  In April 2014, a TV Shop owner in Barrow in Furness became the first person in UK to be convicted for “dangerously flying” a drone over a nuclear submarine facility owned by BAE

What are the rules in UK for flying aerial drones?

There are many people who think that there are no rules for flying these drones in the UK because they are hobby equipment, but this is not the case. As soon as you intend to fly a drone for commercial purposes (that is to get ‘valuable consideration’ i.e. payment), then permission from the CAA is required. But even if you do not there are rules to be followed.   The CAA rules can be viewed here.

In order to make sure UAVs and manned aircraft are working in separate airspace, there are a number of limitations placed on UAV use for all uses not only Drone aerial photography.

General Guidelines for Drone Aerial Photography:

  • The maximum altitude is 400 feet (120 metres)
  • The maximum distance from the operator is 500 metres
  • The operator has be able to take manual control to fly the drone out of danger
  • The minimum visibility needs to be 5 km
  • UAV must be flown in line of sight of the operator
  • UAVs cannot be flown at night without special permission
  • Permission must be obtained from the owner of the take-off point
  • UAVs cannot be flown within 50 metres of structures, vehicles or people that are not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft.

Call me now on 07973 638591 or on 01455 271849 or CONTACT ME for an estimate or to discuss an aerial photography shoot by the Aerial Photographer Leicester.