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How to Get Started in Blimp Aerial Photography

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 3/7/2011

Want to learn how to get started in blimp aerial photography? Well, you should if you like aerial photography. It is a great alternative to hiking up a mountain or catching a plane.

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    Overview

    So you want to know how to get started in blimp aerial photography. Well, you are not alone. This is a great way to take aerial photographs without having to set foot in a plane, but it can be expensive so you need to ensure that you are properly prepared with the right equipment.

    Aerial photographs allow you to take pictures of neighborhoods and cities, showing you buildings, vehicles and landscapes. Most people think that you can only take these types of pictures from airplanes. In fact, there are other ways to take these images, including finding a high vantage points, masts and blimps.

    On an airplane, you are thousands of feet in the air. While a blimp cannot get you that high, it can take your camera between 500 and 1,000 feet into the air. This will allow you to take more of a scene than a high point or the mast system.

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    Research

    First, do your homework. More than likely, you will only need a blimp for a day or two unless you plan to do this as full-time career. Aerial Photography Figure out how much it costs for daily rentals and find the rental agency with the best deals. Some companies require a minimum amount of time that you have to keep the blimp. If you only need the blimp for an extremely short time, avoid these types of contracts.

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    Equipment

    Next, prepare your equipment. Your camera will be suspended from beneath the blimp. Put it in some type of weatherproof casing unless you know for sure that rain will not damage it. You also have to keep the camera steady, so connect the camera to some type of base. You can even invest in a base that gives you pan and tilt capabilities.

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    Settings

    To pan and tilt your camera from the ground, you will need to invest in a base that you can connect to wirelessly.

    If you are just planning on keeping your camera pointed at a permanent downward angle, you still need to do some homework before you launch your camera. Play with the camera angle. Use a tripod to simulate the blimp. This will help you visualize what your camera will see, and it will also help you compensate for the conditions.AP 2 

    Depending on the time of day, you may have to deal with sun glare so you need to fix the ISO, white balance and exposure.

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    Using a Wireless Program

    You can manipulate these settings while the blimp is in the air if you have a wireless camera control software program such as Nikon’s Nikontrol 3K. This allows you to remotely control your camera and change the settings. This program allows you to see your images as soon as you take them, allowing you to quickly fix any setting problems.

    Finally, have fun. Experiment with your angles, and take plenty of pictures!

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    References

    Article References

    Aerial Products, http://www.aerialproducts.com/aerial-photography-systems/aerial-photography-equipment.html

    HowStuffWorks, http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/2007/11/30/how-renting-a-blimp-works/

    Image References

    World Economic Forum, http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/5368110906/sizes/m/in/photostream/

    Mgsmith, http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelgsmith/4316590873/