Practicing Aerial Shots

I live in a beautiful area and when the light and weather permit I feel I must takeoff and practice my aerial shooting.  From the vantage point of 500 feet up, I get to see from a perspective that so many never can.  To share these views, I grab my camera and try to capture what I see. However, it's not an easy as it would seem.  Wind from the open window, vibration, and concentrating on low-level flight are all things to contend with while trying to get the shot.  Additionally, there's the usual issue of deciding on aperture, shutter speed, ISO settings.  Lens choice in another consideration.  Too wide, and wing struts, landing gear, and the prop arc can interrupt the image as a distraction.  Additionally, a wide lens makes the shot appear to have been taken from much higher that it actually was and some intimacy is lost.   Too narrow, and the shot can become focused with the feeling of flight gone.  In any case, it is fun and, as the saying goes: practice makes perfect.  

Here are some examples from Friday's outing:

This shot of the three arched bridges was shot with a 35mm lens on the Fuji XE-2.  Aperture set at 5.6, ISO at 800, and shutter on auto.  I tend to use the relative high ISO to force a high shutter speed.  That way I can reduce blur from vibration, the wind grabbing at the lens hood, or my unsteady hand.

I switched to my wide lens (Fuji 14mm prime) for this shot of Lake Billy Chinook looking southeast (Note Round Butte Dam in the lower left.) I managed to get a clear view of the scene without any prop, wheel, or wing.  In order to do this, I am forced to project the lens out into the open air.  This causes vibration and camera shake so I use my regular high ISO of 800 with an aperture of 5.6.  

Here is another wide shot using the Fuji 14mm.  I brought the ISO down as an experiment to see if I could achieve more sharpness and quality.  Honestly, I cannot tell the difference between this shot at ISO 200 verses those shot at ISO 800

Here is another wide shot.  Obviously this image is interrupted by the wing and strut.  Although It bisects the image, it gives the viewer some context to the shot and I think this can add to the feeling of flight.  Note, I do not have the window open for this one and you can see the problem reflection can be.  Additionally, auto focus can be an issue shooting through the window as sometimes the camera will focus on the dirty plexi instead of infinity.  When that happens, it can ruin an otherwise good shot.  Usually when shooting through the plexi, I will set my camera to manual focus and pre focus on infinity.   That way, it doesn't find a dirty spec to focus on.