Many photographers are enraptured by the romance and grandeur of aerial photography from a helicopter but are unsure of the techniques required to correctly capture professional-quality photographs. They may have attempted aerial shoots previously only to come away with images which are overexposed, underexposed, blurry, poorly composed, or lack correct depth of field, to name just a few common errors. Admittedly, it is an adrenaline rush to be shooting from a helicopter with the doors-off, therefore it is vital to channel the adrenaline correctly so that the shoot goes well and there are many excellent frames to choose from in post-process.
For nearly 15 years, New Zealand landscape and nature photographer Phillip Bartlett has been teaching photographers, beginners to experienced professionals from around the world, the techniques of successful aerial photography. On this intensive 4-day workshop you will learn and put into practice:
· Camera Settings Specific to Aerial Photography
· Correctly Exposing in Changing Conditions by Understanding the Histogram
· Overcoming the Challenges of Composition
· Anticipating the Opportunities
· Choosing the Optimum Focal Length
· Staying in Control During the Shoot
· Image Processing in Lightroom and Photoshop
For this workshop we will be based at the charming West Coast village of Fox Glacier. This location gives us quick access for our aerial shoots around the upper Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier and surrounding Southern Alps, including Aoraki/Mt Cook and Horokoau/Mt Tasman. The helicopter pilot we will be flying with is Phillip’s regular pilot who he has flown with for many years. Our pilot’s extensive experience in his environment, exceptional flying skills and safety practices make it easy for us to relax and concentrate on our photography. During the workshop we will be taking 3 doors-off helicopter flights.
This workshop is suitable for all levels of photographer, and is limited to only 4 participants. Non-photographer partners and friends are most welcome to attend. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn the art of aerial photography from a professional who has been flying for almost 20 years. Please use the links below to book your spot or ask us a question.
Day two FOX GLACIER
This morning we will transfer to the helicopter hangar for the safety briefing before starting the first flight. Each flight carries two photographers who are fitted out with CAA-approved safety harnesses. Phillip is seated behind the pilot and is equipped with a talking headset so that he can communicate with the pilot. Photographer’s headsets are audio-only. For the duration of the flight Phillip will be directing the pilot on where to fly as he scopes the landscape for prime compositions. He will also be talking to the photographers about how to shoot the different scenes. Once we complete the first flight we take a break before meeting again for a Lightroom and Photoshop processing session. As part of this we will also make time to dive deeper into aerial photography techniques and discuss any issues that photographers experienced on the morning’s flight. In the afternoon we return to the hangar for a late afternoon flight. We will use the lessons learnt from the morning flight to make this shoot more productive, including being more selective with the number of frames shot. After returning to base we will have dinner – exhilarated and exhausted from an unbelievable day in the mountains.
Day three FOX GLACIER
Today we have one more flight, with the timing to be confirmed based on the weather conditions. The practical experience of the previous day’s two flights, coupled with the comprehensive theory we have learned, will show in the images we produce on our last flight. The difference in the quality of the photographs between the first and last flight will astonish. There will be another Lightroom and Photoshop processing session again today. We will also explore the landscape with our feet firmly on the ground, working around the timing of the heli flight.
Day four FOX GLACIER – QUEENSTOWN
We leave our hotel extra early this morning to photograph blue hour and sunrise at the lake of New Zealand’s most famous reflections: Lake Matheson. After breakfast we make the return drive back to Queenstown arriving in the mid-afternoon, and transfer to the airport or to a hotel for those staying longer.
Note: Alpine weather patterns can vary from low altitude conditions. We reserve the right to make changes to the workshop program to both avoid bad weather and to take advantage of good weather and light, as the elements permit. Our intention is to assess the prevailing weather and light conditions to determine the best timings for our aerial photography flights. When on helicopter flights the pilot’s decision on suitable flight areas and altitudes will be followed.
JULY 21 – 24
Workshop fee to be announced very soon.
We understand that these are uncertain times so we do not require a deposit to secure your place. Upon confirmation that the workshop will proceed 50% of the fee will be due. Balance of the workshop fee will be due 30 days prior to the commencement date. Payments may be made by internet bank transfer or international bank transfer.
Photography guide services and in-field support
Accommodation for three nights in comfortable accommodations
Three private charter doors-off helicopter flights
Department of Conservation National Parks licence fees
All domestic and international air travel and domestic transportation within your home country
Any other travel services required to arrive at the workshop commencement location and all associated taxes, levies and insurances
Immigration, duty, passport and visa fees where applicable
Any personal items including meals not listed as included, alcoholic beverages, souvenirs and travel insurance
Click here for our Terms and Conditions.
▫ Learn professional techniques of aerial photography
▫ 3 Doors-off private helicopter flights
▫ Fox Glacier blue-ice seracs and pinnacles
▫ Southern Alps in winter
▫ Lake Matheson
“The best landscape photo experience I’ve had across four continents!”
J. Luttmer, USA
“Over the last 30 years I have shot 35mm, medium format, and 4x5 large format films, and thus consider myself to be a fairly advanced amateur. It was therefore an added bonus that Phillip, a consummate professional, also taught me many new approaches to photography as I was capturing the stunning scenery of New Zealand.”
M. McBroom, USA
“I could not have been more delighted with the entire experience. I have been on a number of Photo Expeditions and Phillip's was up with the very best.”
T. Cornish, UK