Aerial Photo Safari


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The majority of my safari photography is at ground level. However, once in a while I take a group that’s looking to expand their creativity a aerial photo or two. Typically we take a small single prop and fly over several areas where the landscape and wildlife will provide some interesting compositions and scenes.

internal flight plane

Aerial Photo Gear Usage

In order not to disrupt the wildlife I use anything from a 200 to a 400mm lens keeping the iso around 400 f3.2- 5.6 and shutter at a minimum of 1/2000.

I capture wider landscape shots using a second body equipped with a 60mm lens. I seldom opt for a wide-angle lens, except when shooting cityscapes, as it significantly distorts ground objects, pushing them further into the distance. The challenging aspect lies in anticipating the perfect view since there’s only a brief window of a few seconds to capture the shot.

As I fly past the subject, the angle and viewpoint vanish in an instant. I devote a substantial amount of time to scanning the horizon, ensuring my camera is precisely positioned and poised for the shot. This particular image earned recognition from National Geographic, making it one of their top 25 Travel images of the year.

What about drones?

Utilizing a drone camera in a natural habitat offers a remarkable opportunity to explore and document the beauty of the wilderness from an entirely new perspective. Drones allow photographers and researchers to capture stunning aerial views of pristine landscapes, remote ecosystems, and elusive wildlife without disturbing the environment.

This non-intrusive approach minimizes human impact and provides invaluable data for conservation efforts and scientific research. With their maneuverability and high-quality imaging capabilities, drone cameras have become indispensable tools for ecologists, wildlife biologists, and nature enthusiasts, enabling them to study and appreciate the natural world in ways previously unimaginable. However, responsible drone operation is crucial to ensure minimal disruption to wildlife and the preservation of these pristine habitats for generations to come.

Currently almost all national parks ban drones. This is due to operators coming to close to the wildlife some irresponsible photographers have even used vehicle drones to drive almost touching the animals.

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