Whether I’m traveling or photographing locally, I look for uncommon or unique vantage points from which to shoot landscapes. Higher elevations, like mountain vista points, taller buildings with observation decks or any spots that give me a broader view are choice. I can then chose to shoot with a wide angle lens or zoom in on a particular area with a telephoto lens. I’ve even taken some noteworthy photos from the window seats of commercial jets.
Nothing however, compares to shooting from a small private plane, or better yet, a helicopter. Private planes fly lower and slower and offer a great perspective of the earth below. A good pilot can help minimize line of sight obstructions like wings or wing supports thru skillful maneuvering.
Helicopters are my favorite for aerial photos, although the range is limited and air time is more costly. They can fly lower, slower and even hover. Camera obstructions are minimal or not even an issue if the photographer’s door can be removed. Be sure to have you seat belt fastened! You can pick your approach for the desired shots and make multiple passes in a short time. As a general rule I’ll use a UV filter to minimize atmospheric haze. I’ll shot at f(5.6) or f(8) and a shutter speed of 1/250 sec. or faster to minimize aircraft vibration and motion.