I didn't think this would be on my bucket list, but when my husband suggested we take a doors-off helicopter ride (potentially in a storm), I said YES! And I'm so glad we went. We chartered Jack Harter for the helicopter experience in Kauai, starting from Lihue. I knew this would be a great opportunity to learn how to shoot from the air while moving around fairly quick, and I was eager to test my Sony A7.
Lens: My only regret was not bringing the wide angle lens. Because I travel with a toddler, the amount of stuff I can carry is limited, so I only carried my 55mm 1.8 prime lens (aka the workhorse for portrait photography). With a wide angle lens (I have a 24-70mm), MAYBE I could have fit an entire waterfall in one shot. But nope, Kauai waterfalls can be 3000 feet tall!
Shutter speed: Because we were moving super fast (compared to my two feet being planted on the ground 99.9% of the time) and I'd never been on a helicopter before (would it be smooth? bumpy? whippy!?!?), I intentionally shot at 1/1000 and ended up with most shots hovering around f8. In hindsight, the ride was smoother than I ever expected and maybe I didn't need the shutter that fast, but 100% of my shots came out crystal clear with limited noise.***
*** Excluding the shots taken in the rain storm. Yes, we flew doors-off through THE RAIN! The water was hitting so fast, my husband's finger got a small cut when hit with a drop. Craaazy. You will see these ominous looking rain shots. Just scroll down.
I was sure to shoot in RAW because I knew I wanted to see every detail of those mountains, and damnit I'd like to find a shark in the water if at all possible in post (this did not happen).
Thanks, Coryfoo for the grand adventure! Here 27 pics for anyone who wants to see Kauai from above. If you are eager to see more, visit my full-resolution album on Flickr (165 pics).
Our pilot, Myles was the best! Highly recommended. :)