The making of aerial photographs
There he is comfortably seated in his helicopter ambling above the land -granted, it is sometimes rather turbulent, always a bit windy, with the window open or the door off, sometimes a bit cold or even bitterly cold. Nevertheless, what a job!
The image at right might be misleading with regard to the stresses inherent in aerial photography. Aerial photography doesn’t come without tears, it is no cakewalk. A suitable aircraft has to be found and rented. Permissions and clearances must be secured. Even in the third millenium many nations act as if satellite eyes would not continuously scour the earth’s surface; an aerial photographer all too easily qualifies as a spy and often has to deal with security personnel aboard the aircraft. The weather must cooperate and the control tower should be manned at the time when the light is propitious for aerial views, meaning: early in the morning or late in the day. At smaller airfields this often is a real problem. Therefore much of the time aerial photography is associated with lots of legwork - sometimes even when one already is airborne.
Georg Gerster remembers:
„I stopped over in Columbus, Ohio, on my way to Hawaii. The purpose of the stop-over was to photograph the Great Serpent Mound, a precolumbian earth effigy. The January day in Columbus proved to be one of the coldest in memory, at least in my memory, some 30 centigrades below. The airplane had to be warmed up in the hangar. When it had become operational we took off, but the pilot couldn’t find the snake, monumental as it is, wiggling half a kilometer in an Ohioan valley. I despaired, this was my only chance, and I didn’t intend to blow it. I pleaded with the pilot to set down the airplane in a field close enough to a farmstead in order to enquire about the snake. This was of course quite illegal, but the pilot obliged me and landed on a field. I disembarked into Ohio’s severe winter in light city clothing fit for Hawaii. As it turned out, the farmstead was much farther than I had figured. I stumbled across an expanse of icy, snow-covered stubble in low shows - arriving at the farmhouse half frozen. I knocked and the farmer’s wife opened the door. With numb lips I just managed to say – hello, I am looking for the Great Serpent. She stared at me – and I could see in her eyes that she was convinced she was in an encounter of the Third kind. A Martian stood before her, an extraterrestrial had arrived, ET had made it to Ohio.When she had overcome her shock and realized that I was from her planet she treated me well with a bowl of hot soup and the required information.“