Locations: Okavango Delta From The Air

Traveling around the Okavango Delta there were plenty of opportunities for aerial photography.  The usual means of transport between the different camps or concessions is by light planes that act more or less like a taxi services.  Taking off and landing on dirt strips, take-offs being aborted because of stray elephants, flash storms and cramped seating all adds to the fun!

Shooting through the perspex window of a light plane is not the ideal condition for photography but it does make for some interesting and fun shots with a mid range zoom or wide angle lens.  Its good to have the lens as close to the window as possible to reduce the chance of reflections and use higher ISO's and shutter speeds than usual to cut down the chance of vibrations or turbulence affecting image sharpness.


I also had a chance to do a half hour helicoptor flight at one of the camps.  This half hour charter was designed specifically for aerial photography so the doors had been removed and we shot freehand out the side (while being well strapped in of course).  Vibrations from the motor were very high and the light was overcast so it was necessary to shoot at very high ISO's of at least 1600 to keep shutter speeds up.  I used a standard range 24-105 zoom and a medium 70-200 with both slung around my neck each on a seperate camera body (too risky trying to change lens or fiddle around with equipment with the doors open).


I found image quality to be less than satisfactory with these sorts of settings - especially when I am used to shooting landscapes off a tripod with cable release and ISO 100.  But the opportunities for interesting compositions and a point of view you simply can't get any other way made the excercise worthwhile.  I would highly recommend anyone going to the Delta to take the opportunity of a helicoter flight if they get one.