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TThurston
08-08-2011, 01:13 PM
What issues might be considered for someone that wants to take high quality photographs from the cockpit of an RV?

Are some models better than others?

Side-by-side RV's make it harder for the pilot to take pictures out the right side. Some times it's hard to turn around and come back the other way.

The RV-12 supposedly has better all around visibilty. Is the field of view of the ground that much better than a 7 or 9?

Reflections off the canopy can be a problem. Does the color of panel and interior make that much difference? How about the roof of the RV-10; does it help reduce canopy reflections? Maybe this issue isn't important if one uses a polarizer filter, and sets it to remove the interior reflections.

What good or bad experiences have you had as you've tried to take pictures from your plane?

n5lp
08-08-2011, 01:26 PM
In my opinion high quality photos from an RV are not really possible without huge modifications and the main reason is that the canopy is optically poor. In addition the canopy causes all sorts of flares and reflections.

I think Doug Reeves has made the nicest photos possible from the RV and that was with special equipment and with him crouching in the back of an RV-8.

For high quality photos you really need to have the capability of removing a door or window so you don't have to shoot through the plastic.

All that being said, it is possible to get nice snapshot type photos. It involves working around the sun flares, maybe wearing dark clothing, using image stabilization and possibly using some type of shade, although I have never tried that. As you said, in a side-by-side you pretty much need to shoot out of your side.

I try all the time and have taken thousands of photos from my RV but it is just not one of the missions the airplane is well suited for. That is why I keep thinking about how much I need a Cub.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-PHAxbF6lQVI/TkA36KA3zLI/AAAAAAAAAWQ/pTaAHxfAdOU/s800/204544_2031242901488_1256595064_32455482_3908250_o .jpg

This is one of hundreds of photos I have taken this year of fires in progress and burn areas in our very drought stricken region.

Greg Arehart
08-08-2011, 01:44 PM
I second what Larry said. Anything light in color inside the cockpit has much more potential for causing reflections that dark stuff. Most of my (actually our) good photos have been taken by my wife as I maneuver the airplane to minimize the reflections and distortion. The closer you can get the lens to the actual canopy, the less reflection you are likely to get. Having a sunshade or sun-blocking device on the top of the canopy also helps a lot.

cheers,
greg

David Paule
08-08-2011, 01:48 PM
Even if you can remove or open part of the aircraft to provide a good clear view, it's difficult to take exceptionally good photos from an aircraft while still flying it.

But open the plane up, and with some teamwork between the photographer and the pilot, you can indeed get good photos.

Both people must be strapped in, of course, and all equipment secured.

Casey Stewart
08-08-2011, 01:56 PM
I have shot a ton out the side of my dads -7. Glare is a huge problem and I dont think about taking a frame quality picture because I know there will be glare. Air to air can turn out alright if you have dark clothes and you miss the glare. Air to ground will almost always have some part of the plane in it. Wing, HS, canopy roll bar, cowling. Its a fact of life that these arent photoships though I did hear someone talking about building an -8 with a rear facing rear seat and somehow removing the rear part of the canopy for clear air-to-air shots. I could see where the RV would make a good photoship in that configuration. It would be able to fly with just about anything.

Mark Burns
08-08-2011, 11:20 PM
Here's a photo I took this Sunday morning. It has not been cropped.
It's my home field (F87) with Lake D'Arbonne in the background.

The camera used here is a point and shoot Panasonic DMC-LX5.
I searched out this camera as it has a good lense and is completely BLACK!
A silver camera will not work well. You will see it reflecting in the canopy.
It also has an airplane mode which keeps it from focusing on the canopy.
Like others have said, hold the camera close to the canopy. And do like I do, take a lot of photos and 1 or 2 will actually be good!

Mark

http://i1133.photobucket.com/albums/m599/mabbmbcb/P1020479a.jpg

Casey Stewart
08-08-2011, 11:41 PM
Mark is right. It can be done. My post may have made it sound impossible but in reality, you just have to plan and take a bunch of shots.

This is one I took at the West Coast formation clinic. I hope the pilot/owner doesnt mind if I put it up. I am pretty happy with the shot.

Jim P's beautiful -7

http://i855.photobucket.com/albums/ab114/caseystewart25/471.jpg

RV6_flyer
08-09-2011, 03:42 AM
A Circular-Polarizing filter helps a lot with the glare. It will not eliminate all of it but it goes a long way for good photos through the plexi.

Vlad
08-09-2011, 04:55 AM
Mark is right on technique. Mornings are the best time for aerial beginners. :) Glare is a problem. Gary could you specify the filter?


http://i447.photobucket.com/albums/qq197/N666BK/Oshkosh%202010/jetcareers/Rutgers.jpg

Geico266
08-09-2011, 05:47 AM
The -10 can offer a fair platform for air to ground due to the "cover" over head to block light from creating shadows and reflections. Please do not open the doors for a better picture! ;)

In the interest of equal time, and a superior football team.....
http://j.b5z.net/i/u/2048250/i/Memorial_Stadium_015__Medium_.jpg

Go Big Red............ :D



This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I agree with Larry (We Larrys have to stick togeather ;)) but, alot can be over come with a little effort. A lens or shadow extender can be added to shield the reflections. Shooting through a canopy will always be less than shooting through an open window, but for snap shots it works good. Perfection cannot be achieved it is to be sought.

These were shot in a -12.

https://picasaweb.google.com/104592539075472798431/TheGreatMissouriRiverFloodOf2011#

Thiis was shot in my -10 also, near Red Rock / Sedona, AZ.

http://j.b5z.net/i/u/2048250/i/Arizona_Trip_012__Medium_.jpg

This picture appears "fuzzy" here after resizing, but the original is crip and clear.

All pics were taken with a Sony a330.

Geico266
08-09-2011, 06:12 AM
Here's a photo I took this Sunday morning. It has not been cropped.
It's my home field (F87) with Lake D'Arbonne in the background.

The camera used here is a point and shoot Panasonic DMC-LX5.
I searched out this camera as it has a good lense and is completely BLACK!
A silver camera will not work well. You will see it reflecting in the canopy.
It also has an airplane mode which keeps it from focusing on the canopy.
Like others have said, hold the camera close to the canopy. And do like I do, take a lot of photos and 1 or 2 will actually be good!Mark



You got that right. Thank goodness for digital pictures! I used to use film!

Nice pic Mark! Very sharp and clear!

Snowflake
08-09-2011, 07:14 AM
Another good tip is to carry a black towel with you. You can drape it over yourself or the instrument panel to remove reflections from most interiors. There is usually always something that wants to reflect into your shot... :)

RV6_flyer
08-09-2011, 08:17 AM
Mark is right on technique. Mornings are the best time for aerial beginners. :) Glare is a problem. Gary could you specify the filter?



Circular Polarizing Filter is what you want.

Here is a link to one:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/56633-REG/Tiffen_58CP_58mm_Circular_Polarizing_Filter.html

A Circular Polarizing Filter is two Polarizing pieces of glass on one filter. You turn the outer filter to get it polarized correctly to minimize glare. See the link above and click on the image for what it looks like before and after.

carolsyracuse
08-09-2011, 08:37 AM
We got some great photos from the RV10 in Alaska. I took an average of 300 shots/day. The clear blue skies made everything look crisp and clear. To get forward shots I put the camera right up to the front window off to the side so the prop could not be seen. Worked great until the bugs got on the windshield I could get shots from the side window without the wing or could have Vic dip the wing to get them. We started sorting photos and even though lots had reflections, we have hundreds that look stunning. The scenery up there is spectacular. I am NOT the photographer in the family.



http://i903.photobucket.com/albums/ac237/cadisy/IMG_2065_3.jpg

http://i903.photobucket.com/albums/ac237/cadisy/IMG_2055_2.jpg

http://i903.photobucket.com/albums/ac237/cadisy/IMG_2016_1.jpg

http://i903.photobucket.com/albums/ac237/cadisy/IMG_2066_4.jpg

Vlad
08-09-2011, 08:38 AM
Thank you Gary. I will be in their store this afternoon and may pick up one.

tkatc
08-09-2011, 02:14 PM
Thank you Gary. I will be in their store this afternoon and may pick up one.

Save your money for a GPS and 100LL!!

Mark Burns
01-03-2012, 06:26 PM
Here's one from a few weeks ago.
The photo is not cropped. I wish I had zoomed out just a tad.

That's David Bray (RV-8) and Gerald Loyd (RV-4).

http://i1133.photobucket.com/albums/m599/mabbmbcb/IMG_8753aab.jpg

Mark

Frank Smidler
01-03-2012, 07:12 PM
Great shot Mark. I'll have to have you take one of my plane this summer when you come up for OSH.:)

EdH
01-04-2012, 04:03 AM
Of all the RV's, I've found that the -8/8A makes the best photo platform. Whatever type you find yourself shooting from, ideally your RV interior will be a dark satin or or matt finish. Draping and taping is always good prep, but if you can't eliminate certain items that are going to cause reflections, look where they are going to appear, and then work with them, avoiding the areas they reflect in. Don't forget to get the lens close to the canopy surface and minimise the amount of canopy you're shooting through too.

While it's not always possible, try and shoot earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. The lower angle light will give great shape definition, and won't flood the lower areas of the cabin, lighting more things to reflect!

Some old examples from my film archives.

Shot from a tip-up RV-6.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7011/6633894579_f4f1b3d6dc_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edhicks/6633894579/)
RV-8 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edhicks/6633894579/) by Ed Hicks (http://www.flickr.com/people/edhicks/), on Flickr

Shot from an RV-8.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7013/6633894845_9cca54c334_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edhicks/6633894845/)
Polen Special (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edhicks/6633894845/) by Ed Hicks (http://www.flickr.com/people/edhicks/), on Flickr

Got the Van's RV-8 poster in your workshop? That was shot through a canopy.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7161/6633894333_a42d8fe7d8_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edhicks/6633894333/)
RV-8 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edhicks/6633894333/) by Ed Hicks (http://www.flickr.com/people/edhicks/), on Flickr

Shot from an RV-8.
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5263/5686915026_3334f2a700_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edhicks/5686915026/)
N410RV (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edhicks/5686915026/) by Ed Hicks (http://www.flickr.com/people/edhicks/), on Flickr

Sometimes the canopy will do something to enhance your picture, so it's not always the enemy!

Shot from an RV-8.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7005/6633894087_be71f9fe89_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edhicks/6633894087/)
RV-8 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edhicks/6633894087/) by Ed Hicks (http://www.flickr.com/people/edhicks/), on Flickr

Jim P
01-04-2012, 10:17 AM
All of the airborne shots here (https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=0f4ce38190a6485e&resid=F4CE38190A6485E!760&parid=root)were through the canopy, but even then the reflections can be a killer depending on the sun and aircraft angle relationships. I'm still working out the functionality of a new camera, but I also find that post-processing is as important as the actual shot itself. We tend to get a lot of blues due to the the diffusion of light in the air, so some good post-processing can go a long way. I've used GIMP for a while but I've been playing with Lightroom 3 a bit and I really like that tool the best so far.

Mark Burns
03-20-2012, 09:30 PM
It was overcast and a lot of moisture in the air. The overcast helped with the glare. I've been playing with the shutter speed to get the "prop disc" to look right. This is 1/60 sec. The camera is a Panasonic DMC-LX5 point and shoot.
Almost forgot, that's Gerald Loyd "Bulldog" over southeast Arkansas.



http://i1133.photobucket.com/albums/m599/mabbmbcb/P1050171A.jpg

Mark Burns
04-15-2012, 09:08 PM
This shot was taken Saturday. 8500 feet about 30 miles south of Monroe, LA
Foreground is Andy Kitchens from North Little Rock, AR in his RV-4.
Then Bill Schlatterer RV-7A from North Little Rock, AR
And lead was Presley Melton RV-8 from North Little Rock, AR with Jim Marlar in the back.
On my wing (not shown) was Randal Warren from Pine Bluff , AR RV-6A


http://i1133.photobucket.com/albums/m599/mabbmbcb/P1060493AAA.jpg

rv6ejguy
04-15-2012, 09:52 PM
I generally do fashion and portrait photography and had almost no experience shooting with a DSLR through a canopy. Using some logic, I just told the photo ship (RV7A) pilot to fly a very wide 360 while I shot video and stills. I figured if we did a complete circle, some of the shots would come out glare free. No polarizer and this is low res.

http://i1105.photobucket.com/albums/h341/rv6ejguy/IMG_2365.jpg

This is Shane Getson's STI Subaru powered RV7

JakeLewis22
04-15-2012, 11:57 PM
Reflections off the canopy can be a problem. Does the color of panel and interior make that much difference? How about the roof of the RV-10; does it help reduce canopy reflections? Maybe this issue isn't important if one uses a polarizer filter, and sets it to remove the interior reflections.

The idea of a soft "bell shaped" lens hood that you can press against the inside of the canopy to eliminate reflections and glare has crossed my mind a few times. I'm thinking more of a soft gel type foam material that will conform to the canopy without scratching it but the picture below is the general idea of what I have in mind. Has anyone come across such a product?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/largeimages/618407.jpg

mannanj
04-16-2012, 12:37 AM
The idea of a soft "bell shaped" lens hood that you can press against the inside of the canopy to eliminate reflections and glare has crossed my mind a few times. I'm thinking more of a soft gel type foam material that will conform to the canopy without scratching it but the picture below is the general idea of what I have in mind. Has anyone come across such a product?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/largeimages/618407.jpg

For all you Ansel Adams types out there.

An old trick we used to do years ago was to:
1. Obtain a piece of one half inch thick black foam.
2. Cut out the shape to make a cone. (Cardboard mock up first.)
3. Glue the edge together.
4. Cut the small end diameter to slip over the camera lens and tie wrap it on.
5. Be sure the large end is large enough that it will not show at your widest angle.
6. Make it long enough to comform to the curvature of the canopy, but not too long as to be clumsy.
7. Test on the ground, make adjustments, then go fly.:D

EdH
04-16-2012, 01:35 AM
The hood is a good idea, but the canopy is vibrating like the rest of the airframe, so it's something I'd avoid the camera being in contact with (though fabric might absorb all the vibes - a rubber hood might still transmit some).

mannanj
04-16-2012, 08:54 AM
The hood is a good idea, but the canopy is vibrating like the rest of the airframe, so it's something I'd avoid the camera being in contact with (though fabric might absorb all the vibes - a rubber hood might still transmit some).

Ed:

The black foam hood works. Vibration is not an issue with the soft foam; as it would be with harder rubber. Try it, you might like it!:)

Mark Burns
06-17-2012, 09:33 PM
Here's one from Saturday. Over the Arkansas, Louisiana border @ 6500ft.
It's David Bray from Natchez, MS in "High Cotton"

You need to have a camera ready at all times!! I saw the clouds and knew the "kodak" moment was just seconds away.

http://i1133.photobucket.com/albums/m599/mabbmbcb/P1070375AA.jpg

rockwoodrv9
06-17-2012, 10:30 PM
Here's one from Saturday. Over the Arkansas, Louisiana border @ 6500ft.
It's David Bray from Natchez, MS in "High Cotton"

You need to have a camera ready at all times!! I saw the clouds and knew the "kodak" moment was just seconds away.



Mark, another good idea is to take a bunch of photos of the clouds at about the same angle - camera settings, then with photoshop, make the picture a "keeper". Of course a real photographer would never do that. Well, sometimes I might. Actually Mark, that is a great picture you got. Nice looking plane too. What camera did you use and did you use a filter? thanks
http://i1245.photobucket.com/albums/gg582/rockwoodrv9a/view-1.jpg

panhandler1956
06-18-2012, 06:23 AM
Nice!

Great picture of David's beautiful -8!

Of course I'm partial to checkerboard noses!

Mark Burns
06-18-2012, 07:02 AM
Brent, thanks!
David does have a good looking 8!

Rockwood,
I've never used photoshop. I knew you could do stuff like you mention.
It must be a lot easier to do than I thought. Your's is very nice too.
Sort of sad though that you can't tell whats real anymore :eek:

Camera is a Panasonic DMC-LX5. This image is not that sharp because David wasn't that close. I had to zoom in, and then cropped the original also. No filter, but I did adjust the shadows and lighting a bit in Picasa.

Mark

Mark Burns
09-12-2012, 11:11 PM
Here's a shot from Saturday near Pine Bluff, AR.
Photo taken from the back seat of David Bray's RV-8 by Jerry Homsley.
Jerry has a beautiful 9A by the way.

That's Dan Peeler of Monroe in the background.

http://i1133.photobucket.com/albums/m599/mabbmbcb/P1080346AA.jpg

panhandler1956
09-13-2012, 10:46 AM
Nice picture Mark!

David's airplane, although not in the picture, is no slouch either. I had the pleasure of meeting him at Oshkosh this year - great guy!

whiskeypapa
09-13-2012, 11:31 AM
In my former life I ran a successful commercial photo studio in the NYC area for 23 years. I've shot many air to air photos and thousands of air to ground shots. Though it's easier to shoot from a high wing aircraft with a window that opens fully (read Cessna, front seat of a Cub or better yet, a helicopter if the budget permits), it is entirely possible to make excellent photographs from an RV. You don't need image stabilization or any of that silly nonsense. Just shoot at a fairly high speed (1/250 is fine unless you want to blur the prop during air to air). Use a rubber lens shade that you can touch the canopy with - this will all but eliminate glare and it won't transmit vibration or scratch the canopy. The circular polarizer can be an excellent tool but it's one more thing to fiddle with and it will cost you a couple of stops. Finally, practice makes perfect. Shoot a lot, take notes and delete what you don't like.

Mark Burns
04-06-2014, 06:34 PM
About a month ago over Sedona, AZ.

Front to back.
Randal (Digger) Warren, David (Tater) Bray, and Paige (Q) Hoffart.


http://i1133.photobucket.com/albums/m599/mabbmbcb/P1140044AAA.jpg

Frank Smidler
04-06-2014, 07:18 PM
Nice shot Mark. I need a good air to air of my plane, when are you available?

Oldmcdonald
09-15-2016, 03:50 PM
Has anyone ever cut into the canopy and installed a small window flap similar to the Bonanza or some Piper models? Nothing beats shooting through the air with no glass between the camera and the landscape....

Snowflake
09-16-2016, 10:04 AM
John, welcome to VAF!

I think the only people who have added a small window like that are those who have had canopy cracks and were trying to find a way to avoid replacing the canopy. :(

The hard part would be that putting the "window" in a place where it would be useful and effective for photography, would also put it in a place where it would be an annoying visual distraction when flying and *not* taking photos. Maybe not an issue if it's just your back-seater taking pictures, I guess.

I've had so much good luck with photos throguh the canopy, that I don't think it would be worth the effort or risk to try and cut a hole into a perfectly good bubble...

Canadian_JOY
09-16-2016, 12:57 PM
To build on Rob's point... the aircraft I'm building has side doors, much like a Cessna, so it's not a bubble. The installation of hinged camera port windows like one sees on the pilot's window in a Bonanza, TRIPLES the cost of the window. Ouch.

If it's something you really wish to pursue, call LP Aeroplastics. I've seen one of their retrofit installations and it looks as close to perfection as one could wish for. Of course, just add dollars and stir!