How to get an original shot with remote and aerial shooting

With Pole Aerial Technique

With this article I suggest to change your point of view. It is worth it. Try to photograph from an elevated point of view even when an existing location from which to shoot is not available. In most cases the result will change drastically just by raising the camera a few meters. In the Manfrotto catalog you will find, amongst other items, an exceptional tool, the 269HDBU-3U Overlook Stand.

New technologies are creating incredible new opportunities for the pro photographers who know how to take advantage of them. It is more important than ever to set yourself apart by offering quality services at reasonable prices. The ability to produce shots from unique vantage points is one of the most evident and easy ways to set yourself apart


Be Original.

Let’s start from a very simple assumption. Look at the two images below.
They were shot at Chateau Chaalis for the magazine FMR, featuring the recently discovered, beautiful frescoes by Primaticcio.
The first shot was taken from the ground, the second one at the height of 13 ft.
Four meters is not much, but look at how the perspective and the volumes of the different elements changed. In the first one, the various elements are all flattened together, and the field in the front is very disturbing; in the second one the different planes are separated and, in between them, you can clearly see the field, the ruins, the old walls, and the church.

To me, the second image is better than the first one, but this is not the most important part: the second image is original, never seen before.
Whoever looks at the picture shot from the ground will see the “normal” perspective seen so many times before. The second one, however, has a perspective never seen before, surprising in some ways.




New possibilities.

Look at the example below: we are in the Carthusian Monastery of Padula, in the Sala del Coro (Room of the Choir) divided in half by a transept. Just by raising the camera a few meters, I was able to obtain this interesting image, never seen before, with the Angels and the Saint in the front.
You can compare it to the more “standard” image shot from the ground.


The backstage and the final shot. How can you notice in this case a shot taking from ground maybe very impressive and even better than the “aerial one.” However, the first one can be “seen” and taken from everybody; the other is original and exclusive.



Above and below.

This principle does not only apply to aerial shots but any shot was taken from a different and original point of view. Already in the 1930s, the Hungarian-American photographer Martin Munkacsi shot very original fashion pictures by shooting the models from above or below, obtaining surprising results. He became famous as the first photographer to be paid $1,000 for one picture.



Overlook Stand by Manfrotto

In the Manfrotto catalog, you can find an excellent instrument: the 269HDBU-3U.
Originally a tall stand, I modified it (with the help of the engineers of the Manfrotto development department), to become a tripod.
It is light, easy to transport and affordable. It reaches a height of 21 feet / 7 meters.
You can easily level it, thanks to the adjustable legs and a spirit level.
At the maximum height, stabilizing cables (supplied with the tripod) will have to be used.


List of the items in the picture

Manfrotto Overlook Stand 269HDBU-3U
Hasselblad Tripod quick coupling H
For SRL cameras use Manfrotto 323 or 394 Plate Adaptor
FireWire: 32ft/10 mt Granite Digital FireWire Cable
USB: Hamlet Exaggerate XUREP5 Extender Active Repeater Cable plus your standard USB cable

Manfrotto 190XB Tripod for the Laptop Plate
Manfrotto Laptop Holder 183
Self-made black cloth to shoot outdoor

The answer to a frequent question.

How can the tripod be stable? Can I get a sharp picture?
The Overlook Stand is very tall and very light, but it’s also very stable. According to the situation, you may need to stabilize it.

Stabilizing cables are supplied with the tripod but, when needed I prefer to stabilize it putting the top of a light stand on one of the locking collars. At the maximum eight, you must use cables.
Otherwise very often you will be able to work with any stabilizer.
Here Below you can see five pictures taken at various heights without a stabilizer. You decide if they are sharp enough for your needs.  Notice also how raising the camera just a few can produce very interesting or even impossible images.