Aerial photography - first attempts - RC Groups
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Jul 28, 2001, 06:47 PM
Sloping off....
leccyflyer's Avatar

Aerial photography - first attempts

Evening chaps.

After looking at several ezoner's aerial photographs and enjoying ourselves so much with the extremely slow flying capabilities of the Multiplex Smiley the other evening my boy and myself decided to have a go at this aerial photography lark. Some clubmates expressed some interest in using aerial digital photos for real time search and rescue missions for some of their IC models that don't make it back to the field when their motors cut .

Prior to obtaining a cheap digicam for the purpose it was necessary to test whether the Smiley could carry the payload and get the pictures of the areas needed, so an old 35mm compact with motorwind was velcroed and taped to the fuselage and had a HS-60 with a servo horn cut into a cam shape installed to activate the shutter via a spare channel.

The Smiley lumbered across the strip but couldn't get unstuck without any wind assistance and a hand launch proved necessary. The rate of climb was compromised from the excellent results earlier in the week but eventually mission altitude was reached. The pilot-in-training on the buddy lead took some of the shots and the pilot-in-charge took some as well.The camera was set up to shoot along the wing, so aiming was merely a matter of pointing the wing at the target.

An example is posted at

for anyone interested to see our flying site. We were pretty pleased with this for a first attempt. Another mission is planned tomorrow before we go digital.

It was fun!


Brian and Timmy (leccy's likkle lad)

[This message has been edited by leccyflyer (edited 07-28-2001).]
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Jul 28, 2001, 07:13 PM
Registered Snoozer
Neil Morse's Avatar
Congrats Brian and Timmy! Just the first of many great shots, I'm sure.

Jul 28, 2001, 07:53 PM
Ascended Master
Sparky Paul's Avatar
Them're good photos.. the time of day is just right to get decent shadows for the terrain effects.
Sparky Paul
PJB's Seriously Aeronautical Stuff
Jul 28, 2001, 08:06 PM
Cal Slope Criminal@DV
Duke58's Avatar
Good show Leccy, and what a beautiful field. That's two today and I'm green with envy, BTW what camera did you use?

Jul 28, 2001, 08:33 PM
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cloudhopper's Avatar
Great job guys
Jul 29, 2001, 01:13 AM
Sloping off....
leccyflyer's Avatar
Thanks chaps

Earl - the camera is a poor quality Halina 35mm compact, fixed focus lens, picked up from a bargain bin in the local camera store for about ten pounds years ago with the intent of doing this. I really want to use a digital camera instead, so that we have the option of seeing the images as soon as we land to aid in finding those lost models. Putting my "proper" Nikon digicam on a model isn't really an option but there are plenty of cheapy models around that would be worth a try. I also have an old clunky camcorder that could come in useful, but the Smiley certainly could not cope with the weight of that.

As you can maybe see on the pictures our field is surrounded by waist-to- head high grass and weeds. The field itself is mown very short, twice or sometimes three times a week, allowing ROG for even quite small models- no problem for my son with a Lite Stik doing touch and goes that evening. The long grass on four sides is a boon for hand launching as it is very forgiving of a stalled or underpowered model, if you don't mind making use of the grass as a safety net- it also makes a very effective model arrestor for overcooked landings. Long, drawn-out, low angle approaches are definitely out though .

The main downside of the long grass is when a model lands well outside the mown area they can be very difficult to find, hence the air-sea rescue aspect of the photography.

Some of the other photos on the reel showed the variation in vegetation that every club member has experienced at some time when searching for a lost model. The dreaded model-eating ditch - filled with 8-10foot high grass and stinging nettles - is a most impressive feature from the air and would help with positioning.


Jul 29, 2001, 01:54 AM
Registered User
BEC's Avatar
Aerial photography is one of the things I really enjoy. My last two rolls (still using a several year old cheapie Vivitar 35mm) were taken from my LT-25 while on floats. One was shot at the site of the Northwest Seaplane Championships in Wamic, Oregon (Pine Hollow reservoir) just after the meet was over and the next a couple of days later at a lake called Mayfield Lake in a Washington State park part way home from Wamic. I should figure out a way to share some of these on the web.

Fun stuff. Enjoy!
Jul 29, 2001, 02:36 AM
Tacoma, WA, USA
William A's Avatar
Originally posted by BCawley:
I should figure out a way to share some of these on the web.
Yes, along with some pics of your planes !
Jul 29, 2001, 05:29 AM
Single-task at best...
tim hooper's Avatar

Waaaay to go, mate!!

It's nice to see you showing yer old Dad how to do it properly. I bet he doesn't get about too much at his age - it must be a bit of a treat for him!


You know what to do.......

Jul 29, 2001, 11:06 AM
Registered User
jas_Qfix's Avatar
Picture perfect.
Jul 29, 2001, 11:12 AM
Restful User
Jacques Flambeau's Avatar
Ah Leccy and the Leccy-clone. Why does the lad remind me of the Airtruk pilot in Mad Max/Thunderdome?

I've gotten some good photos with an inexpensve (US$35) fixed-focus 35mm "point and shoot". You've gone about it the right way-- test "proof of concept" with an inexpensive camera, then work upward.

Pop on over to Spark Paul's pages... he has some nice aerial photos, aerial photo planes.

Jul 29, 2001, 04:20 PM
Registered User
What digital cam ar epeople using for aerial photography ?

I'm also looking for an affordable digicam with acceptable quality for putting images on the web.

Any experience ?
for my camera setup as well as images.