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Photography from a height is often referred to as 'aerial photography' although that phrase usually refers to photography taken from a plane, helicopter or drone. Elevated photography is ground based and involves the use of telescopic masts , it is also referred to as mast photography or pole photography. 

 

The following are real questions that I have been asked over time, and hopefully my responses will answer any queries you may have. 

 

 

How does elevated mast photography work?

 

The 7-section telescopic mast is mounted on a Land Rover Defender, and using a pneumatic compressor it elevates the camera to a height of 22m (72 feet) - see the video above. The mast can be elevated wherever I can park the Land Rover, and due to its 4x4 capabilities I can get to most places! As the compressor is battery powered there is no need for a mains supply. 

 

                    

 

For images in places where the Land Rover can't be used - rear gardens, narrow passageways - I use more portable devices for getting elevated photographs. These include a 7.3m tripod stand and an 11m pole, ideal for those tight spots such as landscape gardening projects or in enclosed spaces. They are also ideal for indoor work such as trade shows or corporate events.  The Land Rover itself is also an excellent platform for the occasional photograph. 

 

                    

 

The mast and pole technology removes the risks and safety issues associated with an individual working at a height. It is also far more cost effective than alternatives such as hiring a cherry picker, drone or helicopter. 

 

 

How do you control the camera?

 

For the majority of mast photography work I use a full frame DSLR camera, a Nikon D800 with a 14-24mm lens. These give a wide viewing angle and high resolution images. 

 

The camera is attached to a 360° pan/tilt head, and using brackets can be mounted in landscape or portrait mode, the latter being ideal for panorama shots. Both the camera and pan/tilt head are controlled from the ground via an iPad over a wifi link, which enables me to see exactly what the camera is viewing. 

 

          

 

The only function that cannot be controlled remotely is the zoom of the lens as this is a mechanical adjustment. All electronic controls are fully controlled via the iPad - ISO, focus, shutter speed, aperture, bracketing etc. 

 

 

What limitations are there that need to be considered?

 

The main factor to influence mast photography is the weather. Although the mast can be safely elevated in wet and windy conditions, the quality of the images and the height to which the mast can be elevated will both be affected. Ideally the mast should not be used in wind speeds in excess of 15mph. I use a number of weather forecasting websites to plan the optimum time to conduct a shoot, and always liaise closely with a client ahead of a shoot to ensure we are both happy with the prevailing conditions before committing to a specific date and time, to avoid disappointment. 

 

 

Sun direction can have an influence on property photography shoots. I use The Photographers Ephemeris to plan the best time of day to take key shots, as this tool plots the direction and height of the sun at any given time and date. 

 

Although the mast can be elevated wherever I can locate the Land Rover, sometimes there will be a requirement to seek prior permission from a land owner or occupier to site the mast on their property. It may occasionally be necessary to obtain clearance from the Highways Agency or local government departments, and I would expect to do this in tandem with the client. 

 

 

What is your service turnaround?

 

I always aim to provide clients with their images the following working day after a shoot, fully edited and ready for use. This will be dependant on the number of images involved and perhaps the distance travelled to complete the shoot as sometimes an overnight stay or late finish may be involved.

 

My aim is always to capture images taken in the best weather conditions possible, and as this can occasionally mean projects stacking up waiting for that window of opportunity to appear, sometimes  the editing and final delivery may be slightly delayed as I endeavour to make the most of the limited sunny days the British weather offers us. 

 

Images are edited and made available to each individual client’s requirements. The Nikon D800 shoots at 36.3MP and so high resolution images are always available. The RAW images are processed using Adobe Lightroom, and can be exported as JPEG, TIFF, PDF etc, whatever the client needs, and also to their required size. I often provide images in two sizes, one for print use and one for web. 

 

The images are delivered electronically via Dropbox or WeTransfer, or can be posted on DVD, whichever the client chooses. I can also make them available in a private album for viewing and sharing via my SmugMug site. 

 

 

What geographical area do you cover?

 

Although I’m based near Cardiff in South Wales, I regularly travel across the UK completing professional photography projects for clients. I’ve even quoted for jobs in mainland Europe. 

 

I use Google Earth to plan most shoots, especially if they are somewhere I haven’t been before. Have a look at my blog post here to see where my work took me in 2014.

 

 

 

Due to the distances sometimes involved and the expense of running the Land Rover I have a number of charging options available to make it both cost effective for my clients and worthwhile for me (see below). 

 

 

Do you only do elevated mast photography?

 

No. The telescopic mast work is a niche service that gets me into conversations, the differentiator that allows me to offer something unique. It also happens to be the photography work that I enjoy the most. 

 

The majority of my work is professional property photography -  industrial estates, retail parks and office blocks, and a variety are illustrated on my portfolio pages.  I work with a number of estate agents on residential properties, both internally and externally. 

 

Beyond the aerial mast and real estate photography I’ve covered a wide variety of jobs - head shots, corporate events, roof inspections, website imagery, landscape gardens, golf courses, products, artwork, family shoots, motor dealers, charity events, etc etc. 

 

 

Why should a mast be used rather than a drone?

 

Most of my response to this question is covered in my blog post ‘Are drones a threat to mast photography?’  Although I have often given consideration to entering the drone photography  market, so far I have avoided the temptation.

 

Because of the legislation surrounding the use of photography drones for commercial purposes - proximity limits, CAA approval, etc - there will always be instances where the only way to cost effectively and legally get a high level image is with a mast. It can be elevated wherever I can safely park the Land Rover, making it ideal for busy environments such as town centres, residential areas, retail parks and other public places where drones would so often be prohibited. 

 

Drones are fantastic tools and certainly have their place in the commercial photography and video world, which is why I have aligned myself with drone experts with full CAA licences and the best equipment, to enable me to still offer this service to my clients via intermediaries. If you’re interested in using a drone rather than a mast for your photographic needs then please get in touch. 

 

 

Where did the name Antea come from?

 

Having spent the first 26 years of my working life in the corporate world, I was extremely lucky when the opportunity to try something completely different came along in 2011. At the time I was studying digital photography at the Open University, and decided to grab the opportunity of a lifetime and turn my passion into my livelihood. 

 

A project I was working on as part of my studies involved capturing the change and progression of a niche residential building development as it evolved, not really from a time-lapse perspective but more from a photographic reporting angle. I was interested in illustrating how an unused, derelict piece of land was transformed into a high quality habitat, whilst working empathetically with the surrounding natural environment. 

 

The word ‘Antea’ is Latin and is described in the JM Latin English Dictionary as an adverb meaning “before / before this; formerly / previously / in the past”. I was determined not to become Anthony Barber Photography, and having considered a host of alternatives settled on Antea because of it’s relevance to capturing change through photography (the first three letters had something to do with it too!!). 

 

 

What do you charge for your photography services?

 

I offer two ways of pricing my photography work; either on a per-job basis such as the number of mast locations, or on a daily rate basis. 

 

Prices for mast photography start at £100+vat, based on the mast being sited in one location and capturing images at various heights. Full details of my pricing structure are available here

 

It is important to note that the prices quoted include any pre-shoot planning and all post-editing, plus delivery of the soft copy images to a client’s required format and size. Therefore, when employing me to spend a full day on-site capturing images, the actual work involved could take 2-3 days. 

 

My payment terms are normally 30 days from date of invoice unless agreed otherwise in advance, and all prices are subject to VAT. 

 

 

What insurance do you have in place?

 

I have full business insurance in place, including public liability cover of £2,000,000. 

 

I take my responsibility as a self employed photographer very seriously, and have a bespoke Health & Safety policy that defines the safe operation of the mast. The Land Rover is equipped with beacons, and I carry cones and full PPE gear at all times. 

 

          

 

In addition I have a CSCS Green Card which allows me to work as a site operative on construction sites, and have an Emergency First Aid at Work certificate (which I hope I never need!). 

 

 

What are your T&Cs?

 

A full copy of my terms and conditions are available hereIf you require a PDF version please ask and I’ll happily supply a copy. 

 

The question most often raised is that of copyright ownership. This is covered in Section 8 of the T&Cs - the copyright in the images remains with Antea Photography, unless there is written agreement to the contrary, although the customer has full licence to use them for the purpose for which they were commissioned. 

 

 


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