I finally decided to quit being lazy and get up in the air. There is too much to do at the coast, with the sand, sky, water, and horses constantly in motion, giving limitless things to photograph. Lately, it has been moonrises and sunrises over the Atlantic, and sunsets over Currituck Sound, with a healthy dose of slamming on the brakes and watching horses in between. Don’t forget to throw in playing in 47.8 degree water temps with a GoPro. Still working on the wet suit.
On this particular day, I decided to head north up to the bottom of Virginia along the coast, getting Currituck Sound as well as the 4×4 beaches that we live on. I figured I’d try my hand at getting horses from the air, which is a phenomenal pain in the rear, though it can be done. Consider this a practice run, with some modest success.
I also got the wife to come out with her iPhone and get some glamour shots of the airplane. One video in particular came out nice of slow flight along the beach – at 1500 RPM, pleasantly puttering by over the water.
I learned a few lessons in this flight.
- Empty the stupid camera cards before flying. I filled one up, in the heat of the moment photographing horses, and had to mess with wiping the back up card for 5 minutes while climbing to altitude to do it safely, and then had to find the horses again, set up the flyby, only to have some moron with his parked truck in the way (taking pictures of the horses of all infractions!). Sigh.
- I need a pre-flight camera checklist. The focus point was set to the bottom one, not all, and aperture was set to 3.5, hosing about 50% of the photos I took. Here is my new list, in aviation checklist format:
- Batteries CHARGED
- Cards EMPTIED
- Focus points ALL
- Mode APERTURE PRIORITY
- ISO 200
- Aperture 6.3
- Focus AUTO
For those that care about the photography details, I will specify the reasoning behind camera settings. Focus points being set to all will ensure a more balanced, center-of-the-image focus point, instead of a corner, resulting in sharper focus for the intended area. I shoot aperture priority mode, as very closed apertures will show any dust on the sensor, and very open apertures require precision focusing, which does not happen while moving. 3.5 is the most open, and 7.1 and higher starts to show dust, so I pick 6.3. ISO 100 is usually fine on a sunny day, though 200 makes sure the shutter speed is fast enough to counter the movement of the airplane. Sometimes, I have to switch to ISO 400 if I am photographing something dark. Focus is on auto, of course, because there is no time to manual focus, and I need one hand to fly the plane.
Kitty Hawk, NC – Soundside
Southern Shores, NC with Duck, NC
Duck, NC – Looking South
Northern Duck, NC
Currituck Sound – Duck, NC
Houses near Pine Island – Duck/Corolla, NC Border
Currituck Lighthouse with Whalehead Club in Foreground & Atlantic Ocean in Background
Wild Horse – Corolla, NC
Corolla, NC 4×4 Beaches
Corolla, NC 4×4 Beach
False Cape State Park, VA
Shorebirds, False Cape State Park, VA
Sand Formations – Corolla, NC