Photographing boats from the air

Power boat photographed from the air

Power boat photographed from the air

I have always thought it would be interesting to photograph sailboats and motor yachts from the air. I have done this on occasion before but decided to spend a little time this past summer specifically shooting boats from a fairly low altitude. This was also a good opportunity to use some of my new “high tech” equipment for the first time in the air. I was primarily interested in using my new Nikon 70-200mm VRII lens as the vibration reduction system in theory should provide incredibly sharp images even from aircraft. I rarely use lenses this long for aerial photography but photographing boats seemed like the perfect test.

Having read a little about the vibration reduction systems in these Nikon lenses I was well aware that the maximum shutter speed that could be used due to sampling rates would be 1/500 of a second, certainly slower than I would generally shoot at. With that in mind I disregarded the information and shot at my usual 1/1600 range. Whether the vibration reduction system had any effect on the quality is hard to say but certainly the images looked more stable in the viewfinder as I expected. What I do know is the combination of the Nikon D800 body with over 36mp and the state of the art Nikon lenses produce stunning results. Certainly a hard combination to beat!

Aerial photograph of a sailboat shot with the Nikon 70-200mm lens

Aerial photograph of a sailboat shot with the Nikon 70-200mm lens

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