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The history, present and future of aerial photography in India and the rest of the world

Aerial photography refers to capturing shots with the help of an aerial camera. A radical change has been witnessed in the field of aerial photography over the course of more than 14 decades of its glorious history. Already in 1858, a French photographer named Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, for the first time, managed to carry out an Aerial Photography session with the help of a hot air balloon moored at a height of 80 meters. Unfortunately, none of those priceless shots have survived to this day. Two years later, in 1860, Samuel Archer King and Wallace Black captured Boston from a height of 630 meters. Fortunately, this aerial photo has survived and is now known as Boston, as Eagle and the Wild Goose See It.

Initially, Aerial Photography was done with the help of pigeons, kites, rockets, and balloons. In 1897, Alfred Nobel became the first human being in the world to capture an aerial photo with the help of a rocket-mounted camera. Nine years later, in 1906, George Lawrence captured San Francisco before and after the infamous earthquake. Lawrence managed to carry out this aerial photography session with the help of a 49-pound camera mounted at an altitude of 2000 feet with the help of a train of up to nine kites. LP Bonvillan, in 1908, captured the first aerial photo from an airplane. During World War I, detailed maps were prepared with the help of Aerial Photography.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long for professionals to make pigeons obsolete in this regard, but the use of kites and balloons continued to mount the camera at the desired height, and some professionals still use it for the same purpose. However, manned aircraft and drones, these days, are the most popular carriers of aerial cameras.

Drones are preferred by most professionals to their manned counterparts because of the former’s ability to capture equally good shots without involving a huge amount of money.

The lighting conditions in the area to be captured with the help of a drone should be perfect. In this context, “perfect” refers to reasonable light. Contrary to popular belief, too much sunlight is unhealthy for drone photography. According to most professionals, the best time to take drone photography is just before sunset. The quality of the lens in question should be superlative, as it invariably plays a vital role in deciding the fate of each and every aerial shot. It is highly recommended to refrain from using drones for photography on rainy, snowy or windy days, no matter how advanced the drone in question is, as the results will almost always be disappointing.

Drones are popular not only for their reasonable cost, but also for their versatility. The length of time a drone can stay in the air varies from model to model, and a drone comes with or without a built-in camera. Therefore, it is always easy to find a drone that fits your needs, no matter how specific the need is.

Gimbals are recommended for drone photography as they allow the drone-mounted camera to capture stable images. These days, there is no shortage of drones that can capture 4K footage and this is one of the reasons the shots in question are detailed in the wild.

These days, filmmakers around the world have started using drones to capture amazing images that look great on the big screen. Hence, the reliance on terrestrial cameras has started to witness a decline in film making that is not drastic, but reasonable will not be a bad word to use. This decline is being witnessed in many other fields as well.

One of the most important applications of aerial photography is in the field of disaster management. Drones can easily capture clear images of any area that is difficult to reach on foot. The same drones also facilitate rescue operations by capturing areas that are severely affected by natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. Drones, these days, are also being used to monitor the construction of any illegal structures to ensure they can be demolished as soon as possible.

Most builders in all parts of the world have started using drones to find the most conducive sites to carry out the planned construction.

To take aerial photography anywhere in the world, you must comply with the guidelines set by the competent authority and India is no exception to this fact.

The most important guidelines established by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for the realization of Aerial Photography in India are the following:

1: A drone flying in India must remain in line of sight.

2: Drones in India are prohibited from flying in controlled airspace.

3: It is mandatory that all operators in India who want to fly a drone 200 feet above ground level in uncontrolled airspace have a drone operator permit issued by DGCA.

4: A drone flying in India must have a Unique Identification Number issued by DGCA.

Visit the official website of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to find out in detail all the corresponding guidelines.

To take Aerial Photography in Australia, operators must have a certificate and license issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. In Australia, drones weighing less than 2 kilograms can be used for commercial purposes.

In the United States of America, the Federal Aviation Administration only allows operators who are licensed pilots to fly a drone. Operators should always keep the drone in line of sight and ensure that everyone in America remains unharmed with such operations. Visit the official website of the Federal Aviation Administration for detailed guidelines.

The UK is considering making reasonable laws for people wishing to do Aerial Photography, but as of now, there are only a few guidelines that need to be followed in order to do Aerial Photography. Currently, anyone in the UK can buy and fly a drone weighing less than 20 kilograms. The drone must always be in the Visual Line of Sight that refers to the height of 400 meters. To fly a drone beyond the 400 meter mark, operators must have formal permission from the Civil Aviation Authority. The drone must keep a distance of at least 150 meters from any area that is flooded with people. A drone in the UK cannot be used for commercial purposes. Visit the official website of the Civil Aviation Authority for all the guidelines in detail.

In Ireland, operators must register all drones weighing more than 1kg with the Irish Aviation Authority. During the flight, all drones in Ireland must always maintain a distance of at least 5 kilometers from each and every airfield. A drone is prohibited from flying in civil airspace or in military-controlled airspace. Visit the official website of the Aviation Authority of Ireland for all the guidelines in detail.

In India, aerial photography does not go back many years and is therefore not as popular as in some other parts of the world, but the awareness of this acclaimed method of capturing shots is now spreading at a gradual rate. A considerable number of Indians have realized that aerial photography is better than its terrestrial counterpart in many ways and this is the reason why they are now more interested in the former than the latter.

Aerial photography is playing an important role in the growth of India’s tourism sector by tempting millions of people around the world to visit a large number of monuments, shrines and many other tourist destinations in India at least once. The growth of India’s real estate sector also owes much to the impressive shots captured via drone-mounted cameras, as they have proven to be successful in rooting potential buyers towards the land that has been put up for sale.

An impressive number of commercial companies across India have started using aerial imagery to advertise their products and services, and are satisfied with the results.

Aerial photography in India is expected to witness an increase in the number of takers in the future as the number of service providers in the field in question is increasing and consequently the cost of making use of Aerial photography services are reduced to the point where most Indians will call it affordable. Currently, despite being interested, many Indians cannot afford to opt for aerial photography.

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