When people think about aerial photography, they usually think of drone photography. Indeed, for Radha C Singh, that is precisely what it is about. However, her passion for this form of photography prompted her to learn more about its history, finding out, for instance, that the first attempt at an aerial photograph was made in the 1800s.

Radha C Singh on the History of Aerial Photography

At the start of the 19th century, photographers started to use high towers and ladders to be more elevated and achieve an aerial view. Not long thereafter, more elaborate scaffolding was developed, and photographers even started to construct poles on which cameras could be mounted. These poles, in turn, could be mounted on other things, including vehicles. Raised platforms were also used extensively. However, as Singh knows, those who have a passion for aerial always want to go a bit further.

Photographers came up with wild and wonderful ideas. One attached a camera and a lighted fuse to a kite. Another developed a tiny camera and attached it to the leg of a homing pigeon. As well as this worked, the photographers did have to stay earthbound themselves. That is until the hot air balloon was developed, and photographers could finally have control over their aerial photographs.

We all know that technology continued to develop, as did transportation methods, and photographers used these developments with gusto. Airplane travel literally opened up the skies for those who liked a bird’s eye view. However, because of safety constraints, all these methods were still quite limited. Hence, photographers moved on to helicopters instead, enabling photographers not just to fly at a much lower altitude while at the same time having more control over the area of which they could take their photographers.

Helicopters were, for a long time, the best method to take aerial photographs. However, it was an incredibly costly method of taking photographs, and there were still some limitations because of the size of these crafts. So, it was always clear that a change was going to come sooner or later. This came in the development of remote controlled helicopters and planes.

Today, lots of different remote controlled crafts exist that can be used for aerial photography. However, the most popular one is the drone, which is where Radha C Singh’s personal passion lies as well. These drones are now used both recreationally, by people who simply love to take pictures with this type of view, and commercially. Commercial applications include real estate development, farming and agricultural industries, power and railway lines, and more.

What drones have done, is enable anyone to take aerial photographs in an affordable way. So much so, in fact, that there is now a call for rules to be created in terms of how photographs can be taken in a method that is both safe and respects people’s individual privacy. It seems that there will never be a method that is 100% acceptable to everybody in the world of photography!

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