Late last year the Port of Brisbane contracted us to shoot a series of high altitude and low-level photos for their annual asset management report and website. The brief called for full coverage of the site from low altitude, along with multiple angles from high altitude (9000ft+), including an orthographic capture of the entire port area.
The port is located very close to Brisbane International Airport, with its entirety inside of the 3nm drone exclusion zone that surrounds all towered airports in Australia. This meant for the low-level and high-level aerial photography a helicopter was the ideal camera platform.
A Robinson R44 was the bird of choice the job. The Robinson R22, a two-seater helicopter would be the most economical choice for the low-level shots, however, it did not have the power necessary available power to operate safely at 9000ft+. This was the altitude required to achieve the orthographic images of the port in its entirety that the brief required.
Shooting the low-level photos went very smoothly, we worked with air traffic control and Brisbane Tower to coordinate our entry and exit of the airspace. The high-level shots were another case altogether.
Shooting the high-level photos was a much more challenging task. Climbing to 9000ft+ in an R44 with only two occupants takes in excess of 12 minutes. This makes failed attempts costly. Permittable weather parameters are also more stringent when shooting from such high altitudes. Humidity, dust, and clouds can completely block the site, instead of just casting shadows on it.
The combination of challenges resulted in two aborted high altitude attempts. We were successful on the third try, coordinating weather, air traffic, and commute time.
In the end, it took three hours of flight time with almost a month on standby, for waiting for permittable weather conditions, to complete this brief.
Challenging briefs are our favorite. Capturing images from airspace that is not usually shot is incredibly rewarding. This Requires not just photographic expertise, but logistical know-how as well.
If you aren’t sure what is possible to capture give us a call. We will make sure to work with you in every way possible to realise your vision.