My first time shooting aerials from a helicopter

My first time shooting aerials from a helicopter

Last year, I worked with Graywood Developments, a Toronto developer who needed shots of several residential developments. Some of them were big houses and townhouses, so I suggested to have some aerial views from a helicopter to show the extent of the developments. Ground shots could hardly show dozens of houses at once. You can see the client’s images at the end of the post.

I also took the time to shoot some personal shots on our way between the different locations. This photoshoot was new for me, as I had never been in a helicopter. I rented a small one, without the door, so I could shoot freely. While the flight was fine, I was a little nervous about the shooting part, as I was on my client’s time.

I ended up bumping the ISO pretty high to have a super fast shutter speed, as I was worried about blurry pictures. As it turns out, most of my shots were sharp, so I’m pretty sure I could have used a lower ISO. I had two cameras and lenses, to avoid changing lenses during the flight. In the end, I only used the 24-70mm, as I was shooting wider views.

The control tower made us go over the international airport, so I got a couple of shots that are probably not as easy to get usually.

FedEx | Mississauga, ON

FedEx | Mississauga, ON

Toronto Pearson | Mississauga, ON

Toronto Pearson | Mississauga, ON

We passed several highways and I got some cool vantages points on most of them. This one below has 18 lanes and is the busiest highway in North America. More than 500,000 vehicles go through the stretch in the city of Toronto every day.

18 Lanes | Highway 401 - Mississauga, ON

18 Lanes | Highway 401 – Mississauga, ON

I got two other shots that give a better perspective of the city.

To Infinity | Highway 403 - Mississauga, ON

To Infinity | Highway 403 – Mississauga, ON

Spaghetti | Highway 427 - Toronto, ON

Spaghetti | Highway 427 – Toronto, ON

All the developments were pretty far away from Downtown Toronto, but I managed to get a skyline view. It was pretty misty, so I had to do some work in post-processing. Definitely the kind of shot I want at dusk!!

Green-ish | Downtown - Toronto, ON

Green-ish | Downtown – Toronto, ON

Overall, I was happy with my shots and the client was too. I think I could fine tune my settings for the next time. I really want to go back in the air, to try different compositions, and fly closer to Downtown, where the cityscapes are more interesting.

Here are the four images the client chose:

Shipp Place

Shipp Place

Regency Estates

Regency Estates

Tanyaville

Tanyaville

St. Clair Gardens

St. Clair Gardens

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