Aerial photography is a general term used to describe taking pictures from a height, generally with the use of some type of equipment, such as an airplane, a rocket, a hot air balloon, or a drone. It was first practiced by the French photographer and balloon pilot Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known as Nadar, in 1858 over Paris, France. Captain John Moore-Brabazon was the first to invent a practical and specially designed aerial camera in 1915 with the help of the Thornton-Pickard company. By the end of the war, aerial cameras had dramatically increased in size and focal power.
When it comes to aerial photography, there are several types that can be used depending on the desired outcome. Types of aerial photographs based on the camera axis include vertical, low oblique, and high oblique. Each type covers a certain amount of area and involves tilting the camera by a specific degree. The result when these factors are applied can be surprising.
Moore-Brabazon was also a pioneer in the incorporation of stereoscopic techniques in aerial photography, which allowed us to discern the height of objects in the landscape by comparing photographs taken from different angles. The aerial photograph can be labeled with leafless leaves or with leaves placed to indicate if there is deciduous foliage in the photograph. Elevated photography can also produce bird's-eye images much like aerial photographs (although they are not actually aerial shots) when telephotos are taken from an elevated position, suspended on cables (for example). While any photo taken from a height can be considered aerial, there are several types of aerial photographs that are divided by particular elements, such as the axis of the camera, the scale of the image and the type of film used. Aerial photography usually refers specifically to bird's-eye images that focus on landscapes and objects on the surface, and should not be confused with air-to-air photography, in which one or more aircraft are used as pursuit aircraft that hunt and photograph others airplanes in flight. Platforms for aerial photography include fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones), balloons, airships, rockets, pigeons, kites, or the use of action cameras while skydiving or wearing an aerial suit.
Another successful pioneer of the commercial use of aerial photography was the American Sherman Fairchild who founded his own aeronautical company Fairchild Aircraft to develop and build specialized aircraft for high-altitude aerial reconnaissance missions. A professional aerial photographer will be able to take into account all the details to produce the best quality photographs or videos for every situation. They will consider factors such as camera angle and tilt, focal length and lens type, film type and speed, shutter speed and aperture settings. All these elements must be taken into account when selecting an appropriate platform for taking aerial photographs. Aerial photography is an incredibly useful tool for many industries such as surveying land for construction projects or mapping out areas for urban planning. It can also be used for scientific research purposes such as monitoring wildlife populations or tracking changes in land cover over time.
In addition to its practical applications, aerial photography is also an art form that can capture stunning images from unique perspectives.