Over the last couple of years, we have experimented quite a bit with different equipment, different seasons, different lighting conditions, different subjects, different times, and different themes. It takes several factors to come together in order to get that perfect, or near-perfect drone aerial photograph.
There are many things that must be considered when taking amazing aerial photos, however, some things are less important than others. Taking pictures first thing in the morning will provide you with the most amazing photography conditions!
It is hard to do, but if you want to get some amazing pictures, you are going to have to get your butt out of bed before the crack of dawn – before the first slivers of sunlight start popping up over the horizon. You need to head out to your location so you can be there for that perfect moment. There are several reasons why the morning provides amazing conditions for photography:
1) LESS DUST:
During the day, people, animals, vehicles, and other machines are moving around, to and fro, kicking up a great deal of dust into the air. Dust particulate can cause aerial photographs to have a hazy, or foggy blur… There is substantially less movement on the surface of the earth during the night which allows a large amount of that particulate in the air to settle back to the ground. The result is a crisp, clean smell and a relatively dustless environment to shoot in.
This photo was taken on the Lake of the Woods, near Kenora, Ontario using the DJI Inspire 1 at 5:45 AM. The sun peeking over the horizon made for an amazing purple hue on the lake, and the White Spruce on the island look orange!
2) LESS WIND:
There is usually much less wind in the mornings than during the afternoon. As the sun heats the surface of the earth, air masses start to shift around causing wind currents to speed up. Wind is not your friend when you are flying a drone, trying to capture that amazing, and elusive, aerial photo. In high wind conditions, motors on UAVs have to work harder to keep their position, causing more vibrations, which increases the likelihood of a blurry picture. It will also cause your drone to use more battery power, lessening the amount of time in the air to find that perfect image.
3) LESS LIGHT:
The sun reacts with the molecules in the atmosphere differently when it shines through them at different angles. When the sun is just coming over the horizon (or setting) the light has to travel a further distance to reach a point on the surface of the Earth than it does when it is directly overhead. Nitrogen and Oxygen (and the other gasses that make up our air) react to the light in the morning differently than at midday, and act as a natural filter giving you gorgeous red and purple backdrops. You will also find that the sunlight is much less intense during this time, allowing you to capture whites and other light colors without having them wash out.
You will be amazed at the photos that you can get when you take them with this “first light” in the AM. See the image below, taken very early in the morning, of the Royal Lake of the Woods Yacht Club near Kenora, Ontario.
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