Arial photographs

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Chris W, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. Chris W

    Chris W Guest

    After being pleasantly surprised by the answer to my post on DOF
    Cheating, I thought I would ask another somewhat similar question.

    If you take several aerial photographs, like the satellites do, but from
    an airplane, is there any software to help put all the photos together
    into one large image?

    Also am I correct in thinking that using a telephoto lens and flying
    high, is better than using a wide angle lens and flying low, when the
    goal is to piece the photos into one large image?


    --
    Chris W
    KE5GIX

    "Protect your digital freedom and privacy, eliminate DRM,
    learn more at http://www.defectivebydesign.org/what_is_drm"

    Ham Radio Repeater Database.
    http://hrrdb.com
    Chris W, Nov 6, 2007
    #1
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  2. Chris W

    Kinon O'Cann Guest

    "Chris W" <> wrote in message
    news:ah3Yi.4109$...
    > After being pleasantly surprised by the answer to my post on DOF Cheating,
    > I thought I would ask another somewhat similar question.
    >
    > If you take several aerial photographs, like the satellites do, but from
    > an airplane, is there any software to help put all the photos together
    > into one large image?


    Yes, but keeping things still and aligned will be a challenge without a
    gyro. However, I don't think this is any different than any other stitching
    job, just more challenging.
    >
    > Also am I correct in thinking that using a telephoto lens and flying high,
    > is better than using a wide angle lens and flying low, when the goal is to
    > piece the photos into one large image?


    Theoritically, but getting sharp images from a fast moving and potentially
    bumpy flying object could prove impossible. But for firle flatness, a tele
    is much better.

    I've done a few aerials, but not like you describe, so I'm taking an
    educated guess.
    Kinon O'Cann, Nov 6, 2007
    #2
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  3. Chris W

    Pat Guest

    On Nov 6, 2:30 pm, Chris W <> wrote:
    > After being pleasantly surprised by the answer to my post on DOF
    > Cheating, I thought I would ask another somewhat similar question.
    >
    > If you take several aerial photographs, like the satellites do, but from
    > an airplane, is there any software to help put all the photos together
    > into one large image?
    >
    > Also am I correct in thinking that using a telephoto lens and flying
    > high, is better than using a wide angle lens and flying low, when the
    > goal is to piece the photos into one large image?
    >
    > --
    > Chris W
    > KE5GIX
    >
    > "Protect your digital freedom and privacy, eliminate DRM,
    > learn more athttp://www.defectivebydesign.org/what_is_drm"
    >
    > Ham Radio Repeater Database.http://hrrdb.com


    You will get a very different look from a big lens up high or a small
    lens down low. The big lens compresses things and makes them look
    flatter/closer.

    Personally, I would probably use a small lens down low because of all
    of them movement and vibrations. If you want with a bigger lens,
    you'd need a corresponding higher shutter speed.

    You might also want to look into a steadicam rig or something like
    that.
    Pat, Nov 6, 2007
    #3
  4. under normal flight conditions...its not
    that bumpy...i would be more concerned
    about no glass / clear shot and correct positioning...

    btw: i am a pilot w/plane avail in the denver / boulder
    area if anyone needs a pilot/photographer for free lance
    work....





    On Nov 6, 2:11 pm, Pat <> wrote:
    > On Nov 6, 2:30 pm, Chris W <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > > After being pleasantly surprised by the answer to my post on DOF
    > > Cheating, I thought I would ask another somewhat similar question.

    >
    > > If you take several aerial photographs, like the satellites do, but from
    > > an airplane, is there any software to help put all the photos together
    > > into one large image?

    >
    > > Also am I correct in thinking that using a telephoto lens and flying
    > > high, is better than using a wide angle lens and flying low, when the
    > > goal is to piece the photos into one large image?

    >
    > > --
    > > Chris W
    > > KE5GIX

    >
    > > "Protect your digital freedom and privacy, eliminate DRM,
    > > learn more athttp://www.defectivebydesign.org/what_is_drm"

    >
    > > Ham Radio Repeater Database.http://hrrdb.com

    >
    > You will get a very different look from a big lens up high or a small
    > lens down low. The big lens compresses things and makes them look
    > flatter/closer.
    >
    > Personally, I would probably use a small lens down low because of all
    > of them movement and vibrations. If you want with a bigger lens,
    > you'd need a corresponding higher shutter speed.
    >
    > You might also want to look into a steadicam rig or something like
    > that.- Hide quoted text -
    >
    > - Show quoted text -
    ~^ beancounter ~^, Nov 6, 2007
    #4
  5. Pat wrote:
    > On Nov 6, 2:30 pm, Chris W <> wrote:
    >> Also am I correct in thinking that using a telephoto lens and flying
    >> high, is better than using a wide angle lens and flying low, when the
    >> goal is to piece the photos into one large image?

    >
    > You will get a very different look from a big lens up high or a small
    > lens down low. The big lens compresses things and makes them look
    > flatter/closer.


    Something else to consider is mist/dust/smoke etc which will have an impact
    on the hue and sharpness of photos with a long lens.

    jue
    Jürgen Exner, Nov 6, 2007
    #5
  6. Chris W

    Pat Guest

    On Nov 6, 4:25 pm, ~^ beancounter ~^ <> wrote:
    > under normal flight conditions...its not
    > that bumpy...i would be more concerned
    > about no glass / clear shot and correct positioning...
    >
    > btw: i am a pilot w/plane avail in the denver / boulder
    > area if anyone needs a pilot/photographer for free lance
    > work....
    >
    > On Nov 6, 2:11 pm, Pat <> wrote:
    >
    > > On Nov 6, 2:30 pm, Chris W <> wrote:

    >
    > > > After being pleasantly surprised by the answer to my post on DOF
    > > > Cheating, I thought I would ask another somewhat similar question.

    >
    > > > If you take several aerial photographs, like the satellites do, but from
    > > > an airplane, is there any software to help put all the photos together
    > > > into one large image?

    >
    > > > Also am I correct in thinking that using a telephoto lens and flying
    > > > high, is better than using a wide angle lens and flying low, when the
    > > > goal is to piece the photos into one large image?

    >
    > > > --
    > > > Chris W
    > > > KE5GIX

    >
    > > > "Protect your digital freedom and privacy, eliminate DRM,
    > > > learn more athttp://www.defectivebydesign.org/what_is_drm"

    >
    > > > Ham Radio Repeater Database.http://hrrdb.com

    >
    > > You will get a very different look from a big lens up high or a small
    > > lens down low. The big lens compresses things and makes them look
    > > flatter/closer.

    >
    > > Personally, I would probably use a small lens down low because of all
    > > of them movement and vibrations. If you want with a bigger lens,
    > > you'd need a corresponding higher shutter speed.

    >
    > > You might also want to look into a steadicam rig or something like
    > > that.- Hide quoted text -

    >
    > > - Show quoted text -


    The only time I did photos from a plane I was in my early 20's and the
    primary shooter was the director of public information for the college
    I did a lot of work for.

    On cue the pilot rolled the plane on its side so we could get better
    photos of what was under us. With the plane on its side, the window
    open, the wind blowing and the guy leaning out to take pictures; all I
    can remember is reaching forward and grabbing the neckstrap of the
    camera -- just in case he let go for some reason. He was, after all,
    using MY camera while his was safely in a bag in the back seat.

    But as I remember it, there was quite a bit of vibration from the
    engine.
    Pat, Nov 6, 2007
    #6
  7. Chris W

    Mr. Strat Guest

    In article <>, Pat
    <> wrote:

    > The only time I did photos from a plane I was in my early 20's and the
    > primary shooter was the director of public information for the college
    > I did a lot of work for.
    >
    > On cue the pilot rolled the plane on its side so we could get better
    > photos of what was under us. With the plane on its side, the window
    > open, the wind blowing and the guy leaning out to take pictures; all I
    > can remember is reaching forward and grabbing the neckstrap of the
    > camera -- just in case he let go for some reason. He was, after all,
    > using MY camera while his was safely in a bag in the back seat.
    >
    > But as I remember it, there was quite a bit of vibration from the
    > engine.


    Back in the early 90s, I worked part-time for a guy doing aerial
    photography. I shot a Hasselblad EL straight down through a hole in the
    bottom of the plane (FAA approved) in combination with a GPS unig (when
    GPS was in its infancy).

    We did mostly clearcuts to scale for the timber companies. We did a lot
    of what are called stereo pairs. It's a series of three photographs
    with a bit of overlap. The foresters then use a special viewing device
    to get a stereo effect.

    I suppose you could do the same thing with digital.
    Mr. Strat, Nov 7, 2007
    #7
  8. Chris W

    Pat Guest

    On Nov 6, 9:54 pm, "Mr. Strat" <> wrote:
    > In article <>, Pat
    >
    > <> wrote:
    > > The only time I did photos from a plane I was in my early 20's and the
    > > primary shooter was the director of public information for the college
    > > I did a lot of work for.

    >
    > > On cue the pilot rolled the plane on its side so we could get better
    > > photos of what was under us. With the plane on its side, the window
    > > open, the wind blowing and the guy leaning out to take pictures; all I
    > > can remember is reaching forward and grabbing the neckstrap of the
    > > camera -- just in case he let go for some reason. He was, after all,
    > > using MY camera while his was safely in a bag in the back seat.

    >
    > > But as I remember it, there was quite a bit of vibration from the
    > > engine.

    >
    > Back in the early 90s, I worked part-time for a guy doing aerial
    > photography. I shot a Hasselblad EL straight down through a hole in the
    > bottom of the plane (FAA approved) in combination with a GPS unig (when
    > GPS was in its infancy).
    >
    > We did mostly clearcuts to scale for the timber companies. We did a lot
    > of what are called stereo pairs. It's a series of three photographs
    > with a bit of overlap. The foresters then use a special viewing device
    > to get a stereo effect.
    >
    > I suppose you could do the same thing with digital.


    Lareo (I think that's how it's spelled) makes some stuff for doing
    stereo. Also some other cute gadgets.
    Pat, Nov 7, 2007
    #8
  9. Chris W

    C J Campbell Guest

    On 2007-11-06 11:30:13 -0800, Chris W <> said:

    > After being pleasantly surprised by the answer to my post on DOF
    > Cheating, I thought I would ask another somewhat similar question.
    >
    > If you take several aerial photographs, like the satellites do, but
    > from an airplane, is there any software to help put all the photos
    > together into one large image?
    >
    > Also am I correct in thinking that using a telephoto lens and flying
    > high, is better than using a wide angle lens and flying low, when the
    > goal is to piece the photos into one large image?


    Experienced aerial photographers use a moderately long lens. The
    narrower field of view makes it easier to keep things like struts and
    landing gear out of the picture. The longer focal length makes it
    easier to fly at a safer altitude.

    Fly in the early morning, when the air is smooth, and use a stabilized lens.

    I prefer small Cessna airplanes, since you can open the window
    completely if you remove a small retaining screw. The air flow holds
    the window up against the bottom of the wing unless the airplane is
    flying very slowly.

    You will get a lot of vibration from wind striking the lens if you poke
    it too far out the window. You will want to wind your camera strap
    tightly around your arm to hold the camera steady and keep from losing
    it. Close the window when changing lenses.

    There are several people doing professional work in digital mapping
    such as you describe. The Cessna 206 is probably the smallest plane
    being used for serious mapping work. The airplane is modified with a
    hole in the floor so that the camera can point straight down.
    Alternatively, you can mount a remote controlled camera on the side or
    bottom of the fuselage. Another way to go is to use a plane that is
    modified for skydiving and shoot out the parachute door while wearing a
    safety harness and parachute. Overall, helicopters give you the most
    visibility, followed by high-wing airplanes like Cessnas. Ultralights
    and other planes with no cockpit body also provide excellent
    visibility. The Kolb is a favorite for this kind of work; it is very
    slow, easy to fly, and you can configure it with no windows, doors, or
    any cockpit but a seat out in front of the propeller. There are people
    doing some very fine photography in Kolbs. Arizona Highways has printed
    some articles featuring these photographs. Since the Kolb is a
    certified airplane, not an ultralight, it is also a nice, steady
    platform, but you do need a pilot's license to fly it.

    http://www.tnkolbaircraft.com/

    But for just taking a few photos and pasting them together, just about
    any airplane where you can open the windows will do. You want a skilled
    pilot who knows how to slip the plane so that the wing strut is kept
    out of your field of view. It does not matter if altitude varies a
    little bit between shots since most stitching software can reconcile
    mild perspective changes.

    I generally prefer to fly over the area at 1000 feet, which is pretty
    low, but not so low as to be unsafe. This minimizes problems with haze.
    I use a Cessna 172RG for aerial photography. The gear is retractable so
    it is out of the way and the high wing loading makes a very smooth
    ride. It has big windows, too.

    --
    Waddling Eagle
    World Famous Flight Instructor
    C J Campbell, Nov 7, 2007
    #9
  10. On Nov 6, 1:30 pm, Chris W <> wrote:
    > After being pleasantly surprised by the answer to my post on DOF
    > Cheating, I thought I would ask another somewhat similar question.
    >
    > If you take several aerial photographs, like the satellites do, but from
    > an airplane, is there any software to help put all the photos together
    > into one large image?
    >
    > Also am I correct in thinking that using a telephoto lens and flying
    > high, is better than using a wide angle lens and flying low, when the
    > goal is to piece the photos into one large image?
    >
    > --
    > Chris W
    > KE5GIX
    >
    > "Protect your digital freedom and privacy, eliminate DRM,
    > learn more athttp://www.defectivebydesign.org/what_is_drm"
    >
    > Ham Radio Repeater Database.http://hrrdb.com


    The pros use fancy software that is impractical for the amateur. You
    can use regular stitching programs, but you must do a lot of manual
    rectification before stitching, so it is a lot of work.

    Yes, you are correct- high altitude and long lenses are de riguer for
    this use.

    How much you need to worry about rectification depends on what you
    will be using it for. If you are a civil engineer and using it to
    plan road projects, that is one thing. If you are military and only
    looking to see if there are tanks in the area, geometric distortion is
    not much concern. The pro programs I mentioned are only for those who
    need to make maps or use carefully measured distances. Otherwise, just
    live with the distortion.

    And, BTW, use red filters if you DO shoot from high altitude, or take
    long range obliques.
    Don Stauffer in Minnesota, Nov 7, 2007
    #10
  11. On Nov 6, 1:30 pm, Chris W <> wrote:
    > After being pleasantly surprised by the answer to my post on DOF
    > Cheating, I thought I would ask another somewhat similar question.
    >
    > If you take several aerial photographs, like the satellites do, but from
    > an airplane, is there any software to help put all the photos together
    > into one large image?
    >
    > Also am I correct in thinking that using a telephoto lens and flying
    > high, is better than using a wide angle lens and flying low, when the
    > goal is to piece the photos into one large image?
    >
    > --
    > Chris W
    > KE5GIX
    >
    > "Protect your digital freedom and privacy, eliminate DRM,
    > learn more athttp://www.defectivebydesign.org/what_is_drm"
    >
    > Ham Radio Repeater Database.http://hrrdb.com


    Forgot to mention one other neat thing in aerial photography- stereo
    pairs.

    Fly a baseline perpendicular to the object(s) of greatest interest.
    Shoot two images a couple of seconds apart (depending on speed of
    plane and distance to objects). Mount as stereo pairs.

    Gives you a unique view. Ordinarily if you view a city, say, you are
    far enough away that you do not see stereoscopic vision. The distance
    between your eyes is so small compared to the distance to buildings
    that you see everything "flat".

    The enhanced baseline of several hundred feet allows you to truly see
    the buildings in 3D. Makes a real city seem like a model train layout
    or a diorama.
    Don Stauffer in Minnesota, Nov 7, 2007
    #11
  12. sweet...that's the plane I have...its a fun little bit of
    machinery......is it easy to remove the window ?




    " I use a Cessna 172RG for aerial photography. The gear is retractable
    so
    it is out of the way and the high wing loading makes a very smooth
    ride. It has big windows, too "



    On Nov 6, 10:47 pm, C J Campbell <>
    wrote:
    > On 2007-11-06 11:30:13 -0800, Chris W <> said:
    >
    > > After being pleasantly surprised by the answer to my post on DOF
    > > Cheating, I thought I would ask another somewhat similar question.

    >
    > > If you take several aerial photographs, like the satellites do, but
    > > from an airplane, is there any software to help put all the photos
    > > together into one large image?

    >
    > > Also am I correct in thinking that using a telephoto lens and flying
    > > high, is better than using a wide angle lens and flying low, when the
    > > goal is to piece the photos into one large image?

    >
    > Experienced aerial photographers use a moderately long lens. The
    > narrower field of view makes it easier to keep things like struts and
    > landing gear out of the picture. The longer focal length makes it
    > easier to fly at a safer altitude.
    >
    > Fly in the early morning, when the air is smooth, and use a stabilized lens.
    >
    > I prefer small Cessna airplanes, since you can open the window
    > completely if you remove a small retaining screw. The air flow holds
    > the window up against the bottom of the wing unless the airplane is
    > flying very slowly.
    >
    > You will get a lot of vibration from wind striking the lens if you poke
    > it too far out the window. You will want to wind your camera strap
    > tightly around your arm to hold the camera steady and keep from losing
    > it. Close the window when changing lenses.
    >
    > There are several people doing professional work in digital mapping
    > such as you describe. The Cessna 206 is probably the smallest plane
    > being used for serious mapping work. The airplane is modified with a
    > hole in the floor so that the camera can point straight down.
    > Alternatively, you can mount a remote controlled camera on the side or
    > bottom of the fuselage. Another way to go is to use a plane that is
    > modified for skydiving and shoot out the parachute door while wearing a
    > safety harness and parachute. Overall, helicopters give you the most
    > visibility, followed by high-wing airplanes like Cessnas. Ultralights
    > and other planes with no cockpit body also provide excellent
    > visibility. The Kolb is a favorite for this kind of work; it is very
    > slow, easy to fly, and you can configure it with no windows, doors, or
    > any cockpit but a seat out in front of the propeller. There are people
    > doing some very fine photography in Kolbs. Arizona Highways has printed
    > some articles featuring these photographs. Since the Kolb is a
    > certified airplane, not an ultralight, it is also a nice, steady
    > platform, but you do need a pilot's license to fly it.
    >
    > http://www.tnkolbaircraft.com/
    >
    > But for just taking a few photos and pasting them together, just about
    > any airplane where you can open the windows will do. You want a skilled
    > pilot who knows how to slip the plane so that the wing strut is kept
    > out of your field of view. It does not matter if altitude varies a
    > little bit between shots since most stitching software can reconcile
    > mild perspective changes.
    >
    > I generally prefer to fly over the area at 1000 feet, which is pretty
    > low, but not so low as to be unsafe. This minimizes problems with haze.
    > I use a Cessna 172RG for aerial photography. The gear is retractable so
    > it is out of the way and the high wing loading makes a very smooth
    > ride. It has big windows, too.
    >
    > --
    > Waddling Eagle
    > World Famous Flight Instructor
    ~^ beancounter ~^, Nov 7, 2007
    #12
  13. Chris W

    Mr. Strat Guest

    In article <>, ~^
    beancounter ~^ <> wrote:

    > sweet...that's the plane I have...its a fun little bit of
    > machinery......is it easy to remove the window ?


    We used a Cessna 182 with a stall kit.
    Mr. Strat, Nov 7, 2007
    #13
  14. Mr. Strat....yea, the 182 is nice...did you remove
    the window? stall kit brings you down around 55
    60 for stall, right?




    On Nov 7, 12:12 pm, "Mr. Strat" <> wrote:
    > In article <>, ~^
    >
    > beancounter ~^ <> wrote:
    > > sweet...that's the plane I have...its a fun little bit of
    > > machinery......is it easy to remove the window ?

    >
    > We used a Cessna 182 with a stall kit.
    ~^ beancounter ~^, Nov 7, 2007
    #14
  15. Chris W

    Mr. Strat Guest

    In article <>, ~^
    beancounter ~^ <> wrote:

    > Mr. Strat....yea, the 182 is nice...did you remove
    > the window? stall kit brings you down around 55
    > 60 for stall, right?


    The owner/pilot had a hole in the floor in back. We did mapping photos
    to scale, generally 8,000+ feet above the target, using a GPS system
    that gave him a rough display of where to go...all tied into an
    electric Hasselblad. This was in the early days of GPS, and the
    software ran on a laptop in DOS (pre Win95 days).

    It worked pretty good. On a stereo triplet, the pilot would get lined
    up for the photo series a few miles in advance, then hold the course.
    The unit would beep a few seconds before we hit the spot, and then
    automatically trip the shutter. I would eyeball the crab angle and take
    a guess for camera adjustment. It was usually pretty close.

    But by being able to fly slow, there was less chance of movement even
    at that altitude/wide-angle lens/high shutter speed.
    Mr. Strat, Nov 7, 2007
    #15
  16. Chris W

    bugbear Guest

    Don Stauffer in Minnesota wrote:
    > On Nov 6, 1:30 pm, Chris W <> wrote:
    >> After being pleasantly surprised by the answer to my post on DOF
    >> Cheating, I thought I would ask another somewhat similar question.
    >>
    >> If you take several aerial photographs, like the satellites do, but from
    >> an airplane, is there any software to help put all the photos together
    >> into one large image?
    >>
    >> Also am I correct in thinking that using a telephoto lens and flying
    >> high, is better than using a wide angle lens and flying low, when the
    >> goal is to piece the photos into one large image?
    >>

    >
    > The pros use fancy software that is impractical for the amateur. You
    > can use regular stitching programs, but you must do a lot of manual
    > rectification before stitching, so it is a lot of work.


    I think Hugin could handle this quite easily.

    It's rather powerful, and the price is right.

    BugBear (a recent new user, much impressed)
    bugbear, Nov 8, 2007
    #16
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