Aerial Tips from the FlyNYON Pros

FlyNYON has been fielding plenty of questions how various pictures are taken and we wanted to start providing some tips to improve your experience. Paul Ganun, one of our contributing photographers gives you some ideas of what worked for him on a recent sunset shoot.

OK, here we go. ….
So you’ve decided to head up on a FlyNYON helicopter and take some great pictures of a New York City sunset. Like most people headed up for sunset/sunrise flights, you are probably concerned with camera settings and exposure in particular. Let’s discuss this shot that we took last week on a sunset flight.


It was an 8PM flight and this shot was taken 2-3 minutes after sunset. There are two main things you need to know when shooting a sunset. First, there is going to be a huge amount of exposure difference between the light part of the shot and thedark part. So if you want to capture all that color, you need to expose for the light part of the photo, in this case, the sky. I put all of the camera settings to manual. I set ISO at 1600 because I didn’t have much light. Whatever you select, don’t use Auto ISO. The camera, when starved for light, will go right to Auto 6400 and you will get a lot of noise in your shots. Set your aperture wide open. For this shot, I set it to f/2.8. Theres no point in moving that around as everything I’m shooting is far away and depth of field won’t matter. I then used the camera’s spot meter to figure out what the right shutter speed was going to be. In this shot it was 1/1250th sec. I was looking at the sky in the left half of the shot because it was the brightest thing in the frame. Once I had the exposure nailed I was then able to take a series of shots (in this case about 25) and my only concern was the composition. This makes it much easier to get the picture you want.

But it also brings up the second thought when shooting sunsets. Light conditions change very, very fast. I’m looking through the setting in the series of shots I took that night. Three minutes after this shot was taken I had to drop the shutter speed to 1/500th, and three minutes after that it was 1/125th. I lost over three stops of light in less than 10 minutes. So you do need to remember to check your exposure each time you are composing a new shot or location. I hope this helps you get some great shots on your FlyNYON experience. Keep an eye out for more of our photo taking tips going forward!

Thanks for reading.

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