AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY RIG
Sometimes nothing is as important
as perspective. My goal in photography
is often to find a view no one else has
found, to be able to see things from
unusual and insightful vantage points.
The most practical way to obtain the elusive aerial perspective is by attaching a camera to a pole. While not trivial, it’s
not complicated, either. Making a pole-mounted camera rig
like the Sky Eye takes about a day, not including trips to the
store. You can make the rig and use it the same day.
I’ve experimented many times with aerial photographic
techniques for obtaining the much-sought-after bird’s-eye
view. First, there was the specially rigged kite, way back in
the first issue of MAKE (Volume 01, page 50, “Kite Aerial
Photography”). And I’ve dabbled with taking pictures from
R/C aircraft, helium balloons, model rockets, and so forth.
Photograph by Karen Hansen and William Gurstelle
While these approaches are novel, I find them limiting
because the photographer is at the mercy of uncontrollable
factors. There may be too much wind to loft a balloon, or
not enough to fly a kite. Rough terrain or low visibility may
make it impossible to launch and recover a rocket-borne
camera. And none of these methods works indoors, say at
a stadium. The Sky Eye works in all these conditions.
Set up: p. 109 Make it: p. 110 Use it: p. 113
William Gurstelle is a MAKE contributing editor and is currently hard at work on Make: television, coming to public
television in early 2009.