Shooting city lights

Last week I made a blogpost about the night flight I did above NY.

The flight was quite tricky so I thought it might be interesting to write down some of the things I learned from this experience.

I’m not going to go on about aerial photography, that will follow in a different post. But I do want to talk about shooting landscape at night while flying a helicopter.

Everyone with some experience in flying helicopters knows things get shakey. Ad the excitement and cold of hanging out of a helicopter and things get difficult. I wanted to keep my ISO as low as possible and my shutter speed as high as possible. Quite soon during the flight I realized I’d better change my tactics. My ISO went up to 6400 and my shutter speed as low as 1/60th of a second while keeping my aperture quite low at 3.5.


Our first stop was the Statue of Liberty. The statue is lit up very brightly so again I realized my settings weren’t good. I set my ISO on auto and kept switching my shutter speed between 1/60th and 1/125th.

So what I learned is to keep your shutter at a comfortable speed considering the situation and to keep one of your settings on auto. This way you don’t have to switch every time the lighting changes when shooting different buildings or parts of the city. Last but not least I learned to shoot many photos. It’s better to shoot a building 50 times and have a couple of sharp photos, cause with speeds at 1/60th you will have blurred ones for sure.

Check out the full album here and make sure to click the + below and leave us your email adres. You will receive new blogposts directly in your mailbox. This way you’ll be the first to see the pictures from the day flight and to read the short guide about aerial photography!



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