Your camera equipment should be prepared for the
aerial assignment well before you approach the target
area. As you approach the target area, you should
recheck your equipment and have it ready for the first
exposure. Check the altitude, speed, and direction of
the aircraft. Check to see that you have the right camera
angle for the best picture. Using voice communications
or prearranged hand signals, direct the pilot to fly the
aircraft into the best picture-taking position. Directing
the necessary turns enables you to get the aircraft into
proper position without a lot of explanation to the pilot.
Whenever possible, decide on the altitude you want
to fly before takeoff. When the subject requires
photography from different altitudes, start at the highest
level and work your way down. Thus time en route to
the target can be used for climbing. Altitude can be
reduced much faster than it can be gained.
When an aircraft is turning to take up another
heading, the wing or rotor blades may obscure the
subject. Ask the pilot for precise, steep turns; this
technique will blind you to the target for only a few
Do not shoot photographs when the aircraft is
turning. This causes your negatives to be reasonably
sharp in the center, but decreasingly sharp toward the
edges. High-shutter speeds may not correct this fault.
One of the principal problems in hand-held aerial
photography is camera movement during exposure.
This basic problem is magnified significantly where
aircraft vibration and relative target movement are also
present. Best picture results can be achieved when the
pilot reduces the throttle. This reduces aircraft
vibration and minimizes image movement. Image
blurring, caused by camera movement, can be reduced
by using a faster shutter speed. You must handle the
camera carefully to reduce the effects of aircraft
vibration transmitted on the camera. You should firmly
grip the camera with your elbows held firmly to your
sides. No part of the camera or your upper body should
touch the aircraft while exposing film. At the instant of
exposure, you should hold your breath. The shutter
should be depressed in a steady, smooth manner. You

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