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December 2, 2004 10:41 AM   Subscribe

RC Aerial Photography. Oh so pretty!
posted by riffola (29 comments total)

 
Wow. Some of these are better than I expected.
posted by malaprohibita at 11:33 AM on December 2, 2004


I am sooo gonna have to get a toy like that.
posted by PossumCowboy at 11:37 AM on December 2, 2004


What these guys seem to be doing are rigging up RC planes with light digital cameras, resulting in the ability to take the great visuals...
posted by numble at 11:50 AM on December 2, 2004


Wow.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:52 AM on December 2, 2004


[this is good]

thanks, riffola
posted by pardonyou? at 11:53 AM on December 2, 2004


How do they know what is in the viewfinder before they take a picture? Or do they just take pictures on random timing and hope for the best? Trained hamsters?
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:55 AM on December 2, 2004


The link has a picture of a nuclear facility, and another of the Golden Gate bridge... anybody think this will cause some new problems for homeland security? (Since they have apprehended and interrogated people in the past for just taking ground photos of buildings/landmarks...)
posted by numble at 11:58 AM on December 2, 2004


The link has a picture of a nuclear facility, and another of the Golden Gate bridge...

numble, actually the pictures are of a UK coal-fired plant and the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:04 PM on December 2, 2004


This is awesome! And it looks like it is a fairly inexpensive hobby for beginners.

Compare this with Kite Aerial Photography.
posted by plemeljr at 12:06 PM on December 2, 2004


Wow, *great* post! Wireless video systems (from the linked banner ad) are pretty cheap, too, which I'd think you'd need for framing some of those amazing shots.

Anybody know whether a wireless video system, such as the aforementioned, could be used to beam video from a race car to the pits? I'd think line-of-sight would be a problem.
posted by LordSludge at 12:12 PM on December 2, 2004


Aerial Videos
posted by LordSludge at 12:13 PM on December 2, 2004


pardonyou: The captions seemed to indicate differently... but regardless, my point wasn't to those specific photos themselves, just that if this new cheap aerial photography trick would become a new security complication...

But I do think it's pretty awesome and something I'd want to do.
posted by numble at 12:14 PM on December 2, 2004


These are totally cool. And I will look forward to checking out the videos tonight.

Very cool post!
posted by fenriq at 12:17 PM on December 2, 2004


numble, actually the pictures are of a UK coal-fired plant and the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan

There are some other pictures, one of the Golden Gate bridge and a nuclear facility in California... (just to be picky)

Anybody know if these are framed, or just lucky shots?
posted by defcom1 at 12:41 PM on December 2, 2004


The Oxford picture is stunning.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:45 PM on December 2, 2004


Great link, riffola. Thanks! I was looking at the cameras listed that they used to snap the pictures. Some of them are fairly pricey (Nikon, Pentax) - I'd be paranoid about crashing with one of those babies aboard. That said, the cheaper cameras took some pretty awesome shots as well.
posted by SteveInMaine at 1:14 PM on December 2, 2004


Awesome.

I've been wanting to justify getting an R/C plane for years, and I think you just did it for me! Thanks everyone else too for what looks like a veritable cornucopia of pointers on getting started. I bet half of MeFi takes this up now...

Thanks (I think...)
posted by freebird at 1:28 PM on December 2, 2004


numble, I apologize -- you're right about the Golden Gate picture. But the power plant picture (if you're referring to this one) does indicate that it's a coal plant, and in the UK, not the U.S. I would be very surprised if someone could get that close to a U.S. nuclear power plant, RC aircraft or not.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:29 PM on December 2, 2004


Wow! I especially like the ones of kind of mundane settings but made interesting by a different perspective, e.g. the church and cemetery in Iowa and the parking lot in Illinois.

And I wonder also about the homeland security paranoia aspects and if there is any control of what's in the shot or is it just random luck.
posted by TimeFactor at 1:31 PM on December 2, 2004


WOW,
Truly Metafilter living up to the best of the web.
posted by CCK at 1:33 PM on December 2, 2004


Anybody know if these are framed, or just lucky shots?

I was trying to get into this a while back, but I mainly fly R/C gliders, which aren't as good at hauling the weight of a digital camera...

That said, I'm pretty sure these guys do one of two things:

If you have a nice R/C transmitter with several channels (more than four), you can hook up a spare channel to control the camera shutter (either with a servo physically pushing the button, or an electronic connection to the shutter release). If you think the camera is pointed somewhere interesting, you hit the shutter release switch on your transmitter.

The other option is to rig the camera to take shots at regular intervals (30 secs, 1 minute, whatever) and then just fly around for a few minutes.

Either way, these shots are usually just opportunity shots - not framed, which (IMHO) lends them an extra level of amazingness (amazingicity?).
posted by pivotal at 1:37 PM on December 2, 2004


this rocks. too bad this stuff is taboo in NYC...
thanks!
posted by Busithoth at 3:54 PM on December 2, 2004


That is pretty awesome, considering how much effort the alternative is (real helicopters or planes).
posted by smackfu at 4:26 PM on December 2, 2004


Excellent, thanks riffola!
posted by carter at 4:30 PM on December 2, 2004


[this is good]? Are you kidding?

This is brimming over with sweet sweet justice.
posted by kavasa at 5:18 PM on December 2, 2004


There are some other pictures, one of the Golden Gate bridge and a nuclear facility in California... (just to be picky)

You're right. I'm an idiot today.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:16 PM on December 2, 2004


Most of these are taken with a remotely controlled shutter. After a bit of practice, it's not hard to get a good idea of where the camera is actually pointing.
Having a viewscreen on the ground to frame a shot is possible, but is much more complex and costly. It would add weight, probably require a larger more costly plane, You're adding a video transmitter to the plane at the least, if not a camera as well. You also need to power these items, usually requiring larger batteries, a reciever on the ground, and the ability to monitor it and fly the plane simultaneously.

If you're seriously interested in this, realize that the first step is to learn to fly a plane without a camera. A good first choice for a trainer plane that can later be pressed into service as a camera hauler is the Slowstick, about $350-$400 set up (no camera).
posted by pekar wood at 5:22 AM on December 4, 2004


Actually, this shot shows the San Onofre nuclear facility in Oceanside, CA (see the upper left for the 2 bulbous structures.. we call it the Dolly Parton Monument around these parts).

So, yes, they can fly these things very close to nuclear facilities in the US.
posted by afx114 at 6:35 PM on December 4, 2004


Thanks pekar wood. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what a slowstick was from reading the page.
posted by Mitheral at 10:54 AM on December 6, 2004


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