The term aerial photography refers to the process of taking photographs of the ground without the support of a ground-based structure from a position which is elevated/direct-down.
Platforms that are used for aerial photography usually include fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or “drones”), rockets, balloons, kites, parachutes, stand-alone telescopes and vehicle-mounted poles. Mounted cameras on drones may be triggered remotely or automatically.
Aerial photography and air-to-air photography are two different aerial method of photography. In air-to-air photography one or more aircraft are that “chase” and photograph other planes in flight which are known as chase planes
History of Aerial Photography
The first ever aerial photograph taken was an oblique aerial photo of a French village in the late 19th century.
Photographer Gaspar Felix Tournachon is the man who took it and thus patented the idea of using aerial photographs to compile maps.
It was to prove much more effective than the time-consuming ground surveys thus more commonly-used method of the national mapping organizations that developed throughout the 19th century (such as the UK’s Ordnance Survey) was renounced eventually.
Following the 1906 San Francisco devastating earthquake, George R. Lawrence took its aerial photographs but the potentiality of military applications of aerial photographs were overlooked till World War I that a systematic process of capturing aerial photographs might change the overall development process.
Archaeologist OGS Crawford initiated taking aerial photography for this purpose, finally comprehending its huge potentiality. In order to keep up to date with the enemy developments and movements, both allies and the Germans started taking aerial photographs of each other’s resources and lines.
Experiencing huge success of this observation method of aerial photography, the British used aerial photography during World War II once again, availing archaeologist teams to elucidate masses and masses of photographs taken for aerial reconnaissance concerns. After the war seeing the huge potential, researchers began using aerial photography which welcomed the beginning of the modern way of landscape studies, natural processes, and archaeological features.
Although not entirely eliminated, aerial photography became less important with the arrival of satellite imagery developed by space agencies.
The Cold War and the introduction of color photography meant that military applications continued and it was during this time that wider environmental applications developed too. Aerial infra-red photography became important tracking and identifying diseased plants and trees and also to vegetation mapping.
Aerial photography just might sound simply as the process of taking photographs from the air, but it is more than just using a light UAV and flying up to take photographs. There are many factors to an aerial photography that must be considered to ensure that the photo is useful enough to extrapolate whatever is being captured.
It is often hard to interpret elements of the landscape on the ground, features can easily be missed, and what might seem like a trivial bump from ground level can become more remarkable in a wider view. Thus aerial photographs are vital to study and map the landscape types that are difficult to access by human.
Aerial photography have been used as a method to study landscape for over a long period of time, mostly in archaeology and researchers have learnt so much about the world around us; its applications have reached a broad spectrum and accompanied with the growing GIS (geographic information systems) technology, meaning that this method of observation will not cease to exist soon.
Aerial photographs are captured in two basic forms with both having different uses and applications: oblique and vertical.
Even today black and white images are preferred in an age of high quality digital imaging. This is because they are cheaper and also because the contrast of black, white and greys makes it easier to identify the features.