Tips and tutorials

High Altitude Photography Tips

Photography is an art than a mere profession, and the love for exploring the beauty of light and nature captured in frames make someone a true photographer whether they are amateur or professional. When nature or wildlife photography is your profession then you are lucky enough to get a nature loving profession. If photography is your hobby then you are obviously a nature lover to allot your time on enjoying the beauties of the world. These days, with advancement in photo technology and user-friendly camera operations, one easily become a photographer but the trick is to know the right techniques and equipment used. A professional photographer or a hobby photographer will know the basics of photography. But there are times where these two types of photographers forget the most interesting techniques that revolve around photography. For example, techniques like taking a photo on a quick-die still or a slow-boom still. There are also occasions where people don’t know to take stills from risky locations such as underwater photography, wild photography, critic photography, high altitude photography etc. Here, I am going to discuss on how people make mistakes while they do high altitude photography, and I would like to give you some tips on how to avoid these mistakes.

High altitude photography by mohan duwal
Photo Credits(copyright): Mohan Duwal/500px

For most photographers, the usual destinations for high altitude photography are mountains, gas balloon, helicopter and high altitude buildings. The best camera to choose for a high altitude longer shot is digital SLR wide-angle lens camera . It is always better to use the right lens to get the best result.

High Altitude Photography Tips

Photo shoot from Mountain

Mountains are nature’s gift to humanity, and it is always the first choice for most nature and wildlife photographers. Not just professionals, but also most nature lovers choose a mountain as their destination for photography because of its calmness and serene beauty. Although you get a splendid scene to shoot the beauty of nature, you might also get into some disturbances like wind, insects etc. Always be cautious and get to direction of the wind that flows in the particular land and about the insects and other wild animals from the local people. Always carry insect repellents and first aid kit.

yosemite national park photograph
Photo Credits: Darvin Atkeson/500px

You should always remember if you would like to get your photograph well enough, set your camera in manual mode as the automatic mode is inefficient on such situations. When you turn on the manual mode, you can adjust the setting as you wish based on the place and you may get surprising results. A DSLR wide-angle camera will do the job well because it will capture an object from a longer distance and you can also get a bigger view.

This simple change in the setting can bring a remarkable change in your photographic style, and you will have a better experience in handling digital SLR cameras.

Photo shoot from Gas balloon

Gas balloon is another best option to take high altitude photographs as you can get a clear view from anywhere in the sky. Photography from a mountain and a gas balloon has many differences because you will be moving around all the time, so you should keep your camera equipment well fitted. While you are in the balloon, it will be harder if you are trying to change the lens, so plan for your photo shoot with the kind of shots that you need, different lens you like to use and then begin your flying journey. This will avoid excessive change of lenses and more over you will not miss out on best shots.

photography from a hot air balloon -- high altitude photography
Photo Credits: Alessio Andreani/500px

The trick to have the best photography experience in a gas balloon is choosing the right place. It will be a better option if you choose the edge of the balloon, so you can get a clear view of the spot under the balloon that you would like to shoot. For a longer distance, the small stand at the mid-position of the balloon is the best place to get the snap well done.

Photo shoot from a helicopter

Photo shoot from a helicopter is a dream of every photographer as it is a unique adventure bringing out the stills that offer clarity and better visibility. There are a lot of differences between the photo shoot from a gas balloon and a helicopter because on a gas balloon, you can get the complete view of the surrounding area, but in a helicopter you can get a clear shot either from right or left. You have to choose the view of your photography just from the front view (if you can view the front glass at pilot’s place).

Photo Credits: Brad Styron/500px

To get the best out of this aerial photography method, make sure of your site and then take a snap in flash mode since there are chances of photo shake caused by change in altitude and speed when you are in the helicopter.

Photo shoot from Building Rooftops

For those who wish to take high altitude photographs but cannot afford to spend much, building rooftops are the best option. Taking stills from a building rooftop will be the easiest among the four, but it involves hurdles like the coverage position that we get, wind etc. Check for the wind direction and wait till you get the perfect weather. Patience is the key to get the best atmosphere for your photographic endeavor. Observe the location and the coverage position, try experimenting different positions till you find the right one and then go ahead with your shoot.

Photography from rooftop -- high altitude photography
Photo Credits: Roof Topper/500px

Make sure you choose a place to see a 360 degree view of the complete area, by which you can choose your spot clearly. There are also situations where you have to go on the edges of a rooftop to get the bottom view of the place, in such situations be careful about the slipper edges of the walls on rooftop.

Hope you avoid the common mistakes in high altitude photography, and have a better photographic experience.

About the Author

Manuel Johnson is a professional guest blogger who loves to write articles about photography.

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