It doesn’t matter if the aircraft concerned is a helicopter or a high winged light aircraft. Strong winds or gusts may put the aircraft outside its operating limits and therefore make it unsafe to fly. In the UK this situation is not uncommon but its chances of occurring can be minimised if the aircraft is located at an airfield with many runways in different directions. This allows the pilot to minimise the crosswind component and take advantage of a head wind on takeoff and landing.
Once the aircraft is in the air the weather can pose a whole new range of problems for the photographer. The main problems that may be encountered while undertaking aerial photography and Aerial Event Photography include:
This causes the obvious problem of being unable to see the ground and the features which you are trying to photograph. This is likely to cause problems for nearly all forms of aerial photography.
This situation is common throughout the UK and although it restricts some aerial photographic operations its affect on others are small. For example Survey Photography undertaken for the purposes of monitoring traffic or pipeline work may be able to operate in these conditions. However, Oblique Aerial Photography undertaken for marketing purposes would probably not be undertaken in these conditions. This is mainly due to the cloud shadows which would make the images unattractive and give a mottled effect.
Haze is one of the biggest problems for Oblique Aerial Photography because it can reduce visibility down to several kilometres when the sky is clear and the weather looks spectacular from the ground.
High winds can make it very difficult to position the aircraft at a site. This is especially true when a specific view is required or while photographing position sensitive sites such as Horse Racing Event Photography. During this form of Event Aerial Photography it is very important not to go over the race course while the horses are out and if the wind requires the aircraft to ‘crap’ along the course it may not be possible to get the shots required.
It is obvious the weather has a major influence on commercial aerial photography and must be monitored closely to take advantages of the right conditions.