Aerial photography is as challenging as it gets for the professional photographer. Many decisions need to be made to get spectacular results, everything from type of aircraft to subject matter and time of day. Teamwork is also required as the photographer and pilot have to communicate well in order for the photographer to get the desired images. This article covers aerial photography platforms with a small amount of photography technical information. Part 2 will cover the technical and artistic side of aerial work.While aerial photography has been accomplished with everything from hot air balloons to space shuttles for most of us we are a little limited in the resources we have available. I have used helicopters, fixed wing aircraft and ultralights for my work and I’ll cover these in a little more detail in my personal order of preference.Helicopters:Aerial photography from helicopters is likely the easiest platform to work from under most circumstances. When used specifically for photography most pilots will allow the removal of a door leaving a large workable shooting area available. This can be very advantages as you can literally pan the camera to keep the subject within the frame while still travelling in a straight forward direction. Helicopters also have very impressive turning characteristics so you will find that there is far less lost time as you circle back to shoot from a different altitude or angle.There are a few downsides to shooting from helicopters however. Firstly is the big expense, easily $500 per hour or so for a Robinson R22 to $1,500 or more for a large jet. It’s very impressive how much you can shoot in a few hours but the credit card can take a big hit after you land. Do you need a jet helicopter for most uses? I have used both the smaller Robinson’s and large jet helicopters and have had very good results with both. Some will argue that the bigger helicopters are a little safer but I’ll leave that up to the experts. Jet helicopters are significantly faster so if you are travelling large distances they can have an advantage. Secondly, vibrations can be an issue depending on a number of factors. My experience has been that a good pilot can often hit a “sweet spot” where the helicopter settles into a somewhat smooth forward motion. This generally is not while you hover, forward movement plays a part.Helicopter photography from a technical standpoint can be both a challenge and an exhilarating experience. If you can’t remove the doors wear dark clothing and make sure to have a lens shade installed. Most of the windows are Plexiglas and tend to have scratches so you will probably want to shoot fairly wide open to limit the depth of field. Window tint might also be a problem although this can generally be cleaned up in Photoshop or some other editor. I recommend shooting RAW for this reason. Whatever you do, do not place any part of your body or camera against the sides of the helicopter as the vibration will transfer over to the camera and cause unsharp images. Life is easier without doors but be aware of the turbulence if you lean out a little too far. The buffeting can be quite strong. All gear and other equipment needs to be securely fastened to your body or a harness, you don’t want to think about what might happen if you drop a lens or camera out the door! I go as far as taping the lens hood to the lens as a safety precaution as I’m sure the tail rotors would make quick work of a lost lens shade, possibly with bad consequences. If at all possible use a few different cameras so you can keep changing lenses and memory cards down to a minimum.I try to keep my shutter speeds around 1/1000 or faster if at all possible but have had reasonable success around 1/500. If this means increasing the ISO as the light fades I do this in preference to having somewhat blurred images. This should allow for an aperture of about f5.6 in most circumstances although as the light fades you might be looking at f2.8 or so, a good reason to have fast lenses.Ultralight:I first did aerial photography from an ultralight in Costa Rica a few years back. I must admit I really didn’t know what to expect as all my previous aerial photography had been done from helicopters up to that point. I expected a large amount of vibration and bad wind buffeting but was in for a shock. Ultralights are actually an amazing aerial photography platform under the right conditions which is when you tend to fly them anyway. They do get tossed around a little bit but generally the vibrations are not as bad as helicopters. While they aren’t as maneuverable as helicopters they are better than fixed wing aircraft. Possibly the only downsides are, they are somewhat slow and you have to feel comfortable in them as they are very bare bones and seat of the pants!Fixed wing aircraft:Likely the bulk of aerial photography is done with fixed wing aircraft. While not as maneuverable as helicopters they are still very competent shooting platforms under the right conditions. Try to get an airplane with a high wing like the Cessna 172 Skyhawk to get the best view. The low winged aircraft really limit the view below! Even with high wings the wing strut will probably be in the way, it’s just not generally located in a good position for photography. I’m sure some people fly with the doors off but in general you will be flying either shooting through a small opening window or through the glass. Either way, positioning of the aircraft is very critical to line up the image so a good pilot preferably with experience working with photographers is a must. What’s the biggest advantage of a fixed wing platform? Cost! Likely 1/4 or less of what the helicopter will cost.Getting organized:Flying in circles looking for photographs could be very exciting and entertaining until you land and find out how much money you spent without really accomplishing anything. Do your research beforehand and get a good idea about what you want to photograph and how you will accomplish it. What side of the aircraft will you be shooting from? What altitude or different altitudes are required? When will the light be the best? Often you will find that one flight will not produce all of the required images due to some of these decisions and a second or third flight might be required.Once you have done your homework it’s time to find your aircraft. What’s your budget is likely the biggest decision here as well as what type of aircraft are available? Hire a good pilot, preferably one that has experience working with photographers! Pilots do vary and some are better at others when it comes to understanding the requirements of aerial photography. Go over a flight plan and stick with it. The most important part of the shoot is the pilot calls the shots and has the final say in what will be done. They know the regulations, safety issues and the bottom line; they are responsible for you, the aircraft and the people on the ground!Happy shooting!
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The vehicle telematics system and User-Based Insurance (UBI) are key trends in the auto insurance industry and expect a disruptive change in the near future.Digital technology is transforming the insurance marketplace enormously and the insurers are investing significant attention to meet the customer expectations by adopting vehicle telematics system. The customer vehicle integrated with the telematics system helps to calculate insurance premiums which is dependent on the distance covered by the vehicle, the speed the driver maintains while driving, and also the overall driving habits of customers as this information can be read and stored by the telematics app and made accessible to not only the insurers but also all stakeholders.Vehicle telematics is recalibrating the auto insurance industry expectations and opening new ways to reach out to the clients. The rise of vehicle telematics not only changing the policyholders’ demands, but also disrupting the way it should be supplied. Many insurers are offering more personalized insurance policies to each and every individual.Telematics as a major disruptorThe digitization process that telematics has brought in recently has made the total insurance industry to stand up and take notice and eventually catch-up with this change. Recent research studies have revealed that vehicle telematics is playing a prominent role to disrupt the auto insurance industry for positive business outcomes. In this way, Big Data is playing a vital role in helping insurers to solve various challenges such as data mining, handling, warehouse data, building data path for user applications and among many others by adopting extensive and varied data structure, which are made easily accessible to vehicle telematics system with the influence of cloud computing. The access control of the vehicle, real-time updates of traffic congestion and weather forecasts and many other vehicle telematics options are remotely accessed with the help of cloud computing, for both customers and insurers. The big data and cloud computing technologies are the mainstream of vehicle telematics system and hence are attracting new customers towards insurance policies by providing convenience and comfort in service.Over the years, the auto insurance companies have successfully reduced the gap between insurers and customers. The vehicle telematics-enabled usage-based insurance is gaining momentum to meet the customer satisfaction with a flexible pricing model over the traditional pricing model and as a result policyholders can pay the insurance rates based on their driving behavior. It is an ultimate transformation that is giving customers complete control over their insurance premiums. To help policyholders for their driving risks, User-Based Insurance (UBI) model encourages individuals to drive safe and lower the risk of accidents happening through live feedback even as they can save money by improving their driving skills.In the US, Insurance companies are implementing different approaches in User-Based Insurance model and the simplest, auto insurance policies are trending in the auto insurance market, such as Pay As You Drive (PAYD) is one among them. Rather than paying a fixed annual premium charge, PAYD ensures premiums are calculated based on the number of miles/kilometers driven by the policyholder with the help of vehicle telematics system.United States is considering the UBI model as their grid. The spate of recent successes has confirmed immense response of policyholders towards this new approach. Even in many European countries, insurers moved to the next level of Pay-How-You-Drive (PHYD) right after the huge success of Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) model.The Pay How You Drive (PHYD) monitors the driver behavior and driving style, the premium charges are reduced accordingly with improvements in driver behavior.The UBI has a great potential gateway to digitally enhance customers, as a result, PHYD has created a remarkable platform for auto insurance policies, but a number of insurers have started looking beyond the Pay How You Drive (PHYD)model for better user experience, as a development Manage How You Drive (MHYD) considered as the next move of UBI. Manage How You Drive (MHYD) offers a discount to safe drivers and also intimates the policyholders about driving performance through monthly feedback depending on their driving score.Vehicle telematics benefits:• Experienced drivers often pay unreasonably high premium charges which can be reduced easily.
• Encourages policyholders to drive safely and reduce the risk of accidents.
• If the policyholder drives very often then he/she will get fewer premium charges.
• Continuous monitoring of the driver helps to improve the driving behavior.
• It’s very easy to track vehicle health and fuel consumption of the vehicle.The vehicle telematics system and User-Based Insurance system is imparting a major disruptive change in the auto insurance industry with innovative insurance policy models for customer convenience. However, insurers are implementing different strategies to improve the marketing and sales process of UBI model to maintain the balance in insurance policies, perhaps the priority is also given to the risk management and price calculation from the customers’ stand point. The disruptive vehicle telematics system can trigger the process of auto insurance policies and can be sustained without any major change in the insurance company structure, business model, and strategy. The vehicle telematics system is known for its conservative posture and disruption is never really easy for such systems, especially in the auto insurance industry. But the year 2016 can be a year of continuing transformation of vehicle telematics system, in which the insurance companies who remain as innovators will be those who are willing to engage in significant rethinking.
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The automotive equipment industry deals with the production of every kind of tool and machinery that is needed for the manufacture, maintenance and repair of vehicles including cars and car parts. As such, the industry produces several different varieties of equipment starting from basic hand tools to more complex machinery.Different Kinds of Automotive EquipmentAutomotive workshops and garages will be unable to function without automotive equipment. Shop furniture, lifts, exhaust hoses, air compressors, lubrication equipment, electric and light reels, jacks, vehicle servicing equipment, fluid storage tanks and trans-air piping are some of the many different types of automotive equipment that are used by automotive manufacturing and automotive repair businesses.Common Types Of Automotive Equipment* Hand Tools: Automotive repair shops use several different types of hand tools for their repair and maintenance projects. Some of the commonest items include ratchet sets and wrench sets, crowbars (also known as pry bars), socket sets, screwdrivers, star and clutch-head drivers, hammers, pliers and wire cutters, electric drills, hacksaws and torque wrenches.* Pneumatic Tools: Most automotive workshops now use pneumatic tools as an alternative to electricity powered motors because the latter is more prone to fire hazards. Such tools are powered by compressed air and are high powered versions of the more traditional hand tools. Common examples of pneumatic automotive equipment include air compressors that can be used to power a variety of tools including hammers, drills, ratchets and spraying tools.* Availability of pneumatic equipment makes it easier for mechanics and technicians to undertake repair and maintenance work because they are powerful and easy to use. For example, a set of pneumatic shears can cut through sheet metal at a faster rate and leave behind a smoother edge when compared to traditional tin snips. Similarly, air hammers outfitted with chisel or punch bits have multiple uses. They can they be used for straightening dents. The chisel feature can be used to break rusted parts loose and the punch bits can be used to remove old rivets and bolts that are too difficult to take out by hand.* Lifts: several different kinds of lifting equipment are used to lift and secure cars so that mechanics and repair persons can easily work under the vehicle. These lifting tools include both low-tech tools such as basic floor jacks, car ramps and jack stands as well as hydraulic lifts and floor jacks for better efficiency and performance.* Vehicle Exhaust Removal Systems: vehicle exhaust removal systems are used to capture and remove harmful exhaust fumes to insure optimal air quality in automotive maintenance and repair facilities. These are mandatory equipment as per OSHA Standards in order to limit exposure to harmful vehicular emissions. Common vehicle exhaust removal systems include hose drops as well as reels.* Lubrication Systems: Automotive lubrication systems include several different types of oil meters, ATF meters, gear lube meters, dispense valves and grease dispenses valves.The Automotive equipment business is a very large and competitive business. Automotive repair businesses must buy equipment from reputable dealers for the best deals and performance levels.
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