Pole Aerial Photography (PAP)

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Services for Real Estate Pros with Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® 0352394

Pole Aerial Photography taken at dusk

I have developed a method of taking photos of my listings from a different perspective.  I felt this would cause the prospective buyer to notice the property a little more than the average photo.

 This system includes a 30 foot telescoping pole, a digital camera, a pocket TV so I can see what the camera sees and a remote shutter release.  I think I have the technique down, but I sure would like to know if anyone else is doing anything similar.

This type of photography is called Pole Aerial Photography or PAP.  I have done research on KAP or kite aerial photography, but that doesn't work for my purpose.  I also understand people use large helium balloons to loft their cameras.

Beyond finding out if anyone here uses similar techniques, do you think I should start a group seperate from photography for this subject?

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Did you buy it or make the system yourself? I don't have a set-up like yours but I use a similar technique sometimes. When trying to get a good exterior shot of a home that's "tall" I extend my tripod all the way, set the shutter to timed release and then hold it up over my head as high as I can and hold still. I can get my camera about 18 feet off the ground using this method. This was a STEEP driveway...

Steep driveway!

Don't start a new group. There's not that many people in the photography group to begin with! 

Jan 04, 2007 01:29 AM #1
Rainmaker
605,814
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Saint Petersburg, FL
St. Pete FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS

There used to be a company in our area that did that - had the telescoping pole mounted on their van. I haven't seen them around lately.

No need to start a separate group -  

Jan 04, 2007 06:15 AM #2
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

I have seen the commercially available systems that can be purchased, but they start at $10,000.  I have less than $1,000 in mine including the camera.  Yes I designed and built my own system.

I started out with bull float handles and set the timer as you explain.  That was before I even had a tripod.  Adding the pocket TV saved me a lot of time and improved the photos greatly.  I can help with suggestions on adding a TV to your system if you would like.  It would probably cost you less than $130.

Jan 04, 2007 06:28 AM #3
Rainer
10,732
Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate - Saskatoon, SK

Very cool Lee!  You're really going all out to capture interesting shots.

I agree with the other comments about another group.  This seems like a perfect fit for the photography group.

Jan 04, 2007 11:01 AM #4
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Where does one buy a 30 ft telescoping pole?
Jan 04, 2007 03:13 PM #5
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX
I'm using a Hastings Hotstick which I purchased from a company 2nd hand.  I paid $200 for this one.  I think they are around $400 new.  These poles are used by linemen to work on powerlines.  The fact that it's not conductive made me like it even more.  I try to be aware of my surroundings but it only takes one stupid moment to get yourself killed in this situation.

I think you might also do a google search for Tel-o-pole.  Hastings also makes a 40' model, but above 25' it's quite a bit to handle.  I think any height above 30' would require some sort of mounting system.  I know a man who had a mount made for his Toyota Matrix.  It's light enough that you won't need a one ton truck to mount it on.

What I like about my system is that panning the camera is accomplished by twisting the pole.  Limited tilt can be accomplished by leaning the pole forwards or backwards.  If I had to mount the pole, I would have to have a seperate pan/tilt unit to go on top of the pole with the camera.  This means more weight on the top of the pole causing more sway and more complication on the ground with additional controls.

Honestly, most homes are shot at 15' to 20'.  If you get too high, all you get are the shingles and that's not attractive.  

This would be better described in a picture, so listen closely.  If you use a wide angle lens, you can get much closer to the house.  If I stand closer to the house at a 20 foot height, the down angle is greater making for a photo that feels like it was taken at a greater height.  Did that make any sense?  I'm saying you don't need to go all that high.

One more thing I like about this pole over most others I evaluated is that it has push button locks.  Extending the pole is a matter of pushing the section up until it lock.  Brining it down is a matter of pushing the button, be careful not to pinch your thumb, and lowering the pole.  I can fully extend to 30' and lower this pole in probably 15 seconds.


hastings hostick in use
Jan 04, 2007 04:21 PM #6
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

Okay, I found at least one place to purchase this Hastings Hotstick I spoke about.  http://www.geodatasys.com/pole3.htm

 I had to search "Tel-o-pole" to find it.  As I said before, I was lucky to find mine used.  It is not "certified" for line work anymore, but I don't mind.

I should warn you that at maximum height, the pole does sway a bit.  In high winds, I have to time the shutter release to get a level picture.  My night shots are done using guy wires from the top of the pole.  This helps to stablalize the pole for the slow shutter speed required during low light photography.

Before you order your Hotstick, I would recomend two bull float handles.  They are 6' aluminum poles that screw together.  They are very ridgid and very light.  You should be able to hold the pole above your head as the timer from the camera runs out.  Depending on your height, I would guess one could average an 18' height with this system.  And really, that's about all you will need to get a different looking photo from the other agents in your area.  The only other thing I would add would be the pocket TV so you can see what the camera sees.  This will save you a lot of time viewing your shot and having to make adjustments and viewing again and again until you get an acceptable shot.  That's the way I used to do it.  The pocket TV is really worth it.

I can't find the model I have but I fould this Portable LCD TV on the Radio Shack site: 

Presidian 2.5" Portable LCD TV
Model: LMD-259  |  Catalog #: 16-151


The price is under $80.  Just make sure whatever you get has an A/V input.  If I had to buy all over again right now, I would look into the portable DVD players.  I have seen them for under $100 and you go from a 2.5" screen to a 7" or even a 9" screen.  Again, just make sure you have video input.

I'll include details on the camera mount in another post.

Jan 04, 2007 10:03 PM #7
Rainmaker
576,937
Cheryl Johnson
Cheryl Johnson, Bob Taylor Properties, Inc., Los Angeles, CA - Highland Park, CA

A small sized gizmo for small cameras .... the Quik Pod looks like it could be used this way ....

http://www.quikpod.com/home.asp

Jan 04, 2007 10:11 PM #8
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX
I like the QuickPod...very nice.  I wish I had a camera mount that worked so neatly.  The only thing is that the minimum length of the poles I'm talking about is 6'.  Two bull float handles will get you a 12' pole which is light enough to raise above your head giving you at least 17'.  The mount I will describe later is no were as neat as this QuickPod.  However, total cost of the mount should be about $5.
Jan 04, 2007 10:19 PM #9
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Lee and Aaron - great shots, both of you!

I agree with everyone else, don't start another group; you're addressing a really valid point that all of us camera nuts are paying close attention to. It looks like we can learn from some of your mistakes :)

 

Jan 05, 2007 06:33 PM #10
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

MISTAKES!  I don't call them mistakes...maybe research or validations, I don't make mistakes.

Jan 05, 2007 09:06 PM #11
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

I was reading the Feburary 2007 issue of Shutterbug this evening and came a cross a company which supplies the pole, portable TV and shutter release all in a neat complete package.  The 21ft model is just under $1,500 before adding the camera and the 50ft model is +-$15,000 depending on options.

http://www.tepcophoto.com/

As I said, my system reaches 30ft for about $1,000 including camera.  You just have to be willing to do a little engineering.  Tepco's 21ft system might not be a bad buy.

I still plan to detail my system as soon as I have time...hang in there.

Jan 06, 2007 07:36 PM #12
Rainmaker
409,933
LLoyd Nichols
Premier Florida Realty of SWFL - Fort Myers, FL
SW Florida Homes
Very cool Lee, but as it has been said no need to start anew group as of yet!..But the look certainly stands out.I can also pay a tree guy $ 20 and get a pic from a palm tree.Kidding aside the Hastings Hotstick mentioned by Lee Jinks seems the way to go. I wonder what kind of camera he needs on it. Thanks for the tips. It does give a very professional look to your slides.
Jan 07, 2007 08:05 PM #13
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX
Any camera will work on the pole.  Considering the height, just remember there's a long moment arm so a little more weight will make it much more difficult to handle.  The lighter, the better.
Jan 08, 2007 11:33 AM #14
Rainer
255,729
David Abernathy
Waterfront Properties & Club Communities - Jupiter, FL
Palm Beach County Real Estate
THanks for the ideas - keep them coming - I look forward to a more detailed post about your system!
Jan 14, 2007 05:31 AM #15
Rainer
144,429
Maureen Maureen
Orangeburg, NY
Wow - these are great pics. You guys really go above and beyond your competition. (pun intended)
Feb 27, 2007 04:31 PM #16
Rainer
15,390
Deja Fouts
NONE - Des Moines, IA
The first shot looks great  thank you for sharing your technique looks like you have put a lot of work in to perfecting this skill way to go.
Mar 04, 2007 07:45 PM #17
Rainer
9,469
Brian Doles
Colby Home Services - Marietta, GA

This pole (SpectroScope) is something they sell at www.nachi.org. Some inspectors are using it as a tool for reaching points they cannot easily get to. I've seen it used for still photos and usually an inspector will use it with a wireless camera attached, then just view the video on your laptop. Great for clay tile roofs.

I really like the idea of the aerial photography.

Mar 09, 2007 03:52 PM #18
Anonymous
Anonymous
Tommy
Do you have any suggestions on how to mount an SLR-size camera to a pole?

I've had thoughts about buying a WonderPole and bonding a cut-off tripod head to it for mounting.
Mar 16, 2007 02:53 PM #19
Rainer
9,469
Brian Doles
Colby Home Services - Marietta, GA
I bet the cut-off tripod head would be the best. Then you need the remote or wired control for the slr. I know with my digital slr remote, when you get about 6-8 feet away from the camera it's usually too far.
Mar 16, 2007 03:06 PM #20
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

I haven't used a DSLR on the pole yet.  I don't think the remote shutter release should be a problem.  I just don't think you can get a live video feed from the camera so you won't know what you are shooting until after you shoot it.  With my setup, I also have zoom control which isn't used much, but it's nice not to have to bring the camera down just to reset the focal length.

Each new setting for the camera requires that I bring it down from height.  I believe there is software for the Canon where you have total control over the camera from a laptop.  This might be a solution, but my setup is simple and one person can easily move from the front to the back to inside the house.  I really think it works well.

As far as mounting, I wouldn't destroy a perfectly good tripod when you can make an acceptable mount for about $5.  On the top of my bull float handles is a threaded male end like you would find on the end of a mop handle.  Screw a modified paint roller onto the end and you are in business.

Modified paint roller:  take the roller off the hub, screw nylon straps to an aluminum plate around the hub  and mount the camera on that.  This will give you tilt and just twist the pole for pan.  I'll try to get you pictures.  For my Tel-O-Pole, I made an "L" bracket that does the same thing.  You don't need all the articulation of a tripod head.

I researched the Wonder Pole and it's probably similar to my Tel-O-Pole in stiffness.  What I like about mine is the quick locks.  I just push a section up until it locks.  To bring it down, press the button to release the lock and bring it down section by section.  I could probably fully extend to 30' and bring it all back down in less than 15 seconds.  I'm not sure on the Wonder Pole price, but my thirty footer retails for about $400 and I got mine used for $200.

Mar 17, 2007 08:55 AM #21
Anonymous
Anonymous
M Coffman

Hello All,
I found your discussion during a google search and I find the topic very informative
I have just completed building a 24' system using a painters Long Pole 3 section twist lock pole and a LCD display and a remote control with servos to control the zoom and focus and snap. Doing this allows multiple shot while I have the camera hoisted and I can move the picture at will. I used a camera mount head with locking quick plate to attach the pole to the camera, allowing some tilt on the camera without leaning the pole over making for difficult control.

All said and done the price is less than $200 complete for the basics using cheap 2 channel remotes scavenged from "toy RC's"

Thanks for the helpful info

Mark

Mar 19, 2007 11:00 PM #22
Anonymous
Anonymous
Vince DeStefano

I use this method for real estate photos.You can see my set up on my website www.propertysnaps.com.au my pole goes up about 10 metres in the air and uses a lap top controlled pan tilt head with a canon SLR.

The pole is air powerd.

You can see some more pics here.

 Works really well and pleanty of work for it.

Any questions drop me an email.

Vince

Apr 04, 2007 05:15 AM #23
Rainer
9,469
Brian Doles
Colby Home Services - Marietta, GA
That's impressive Vince. Nice work!
Apr 04, 2007 06:42 AM #24
Anonymous
Anonymous
Vince DeStefano

There is a full write up on how it was built on larry lohmans real estate blog, http://larrylohrman.wordpress.com/2007/02/28/how-to-build-a-aerial-photography-mast/

 

Cheers

Vince

Apr 04, 2007 07:28 AM #25
Rainer
78,156
<i>Mike Stankewich, MBA, e-PRO - ZipRealty, Inc.</i>
ZipRealty, Inc. - Huntington Beach, CA

That is an elabrative setup, however interesting.

Another tip is to go across the street and ask the neighbor to cooperate by letting you take the picture from his second or third level window.  They will often agree and it is a good way to develop contact with others in the neighborhood.

You can also adjust vertical distortion in Photoshop.

Apr 04, 2007 08:25 AM #26
Rainer
78,156
<i>Mike Stankewich, MBA, e-PRO - ZipRealty, Inc.</i>
ZipRealty, Inc. - Huntington Beach, CA

I almost forgot.  Another technique to correct vertical distortion is to purchase a tilt-shift lens as mentioned in one of Bryce Mohan's tutorials on this groups blog.  However this type of lens is fairly expensive.  Thus it may coast as much or more than the pole setup.  However it will be less work to take the photograph.

I also want to second the other comments not to set up a seperate group just for this specialized technique.

Apr 04, 2007 08:33 AM #27
Anonymous
Anonymous
Skyhighphotographs

Greetings from Cornwall UK!!  I have just launched a new business here called SkyHighPhotographs.co.uk - www.skyhighphotographs.co.uk  the website will be online fully in about 10 days time.

 

Telescopic masts are readily available both in Europe, the USA and Canada at reasonable cost.  They come supplied with everything you need to get going immediately, full pan and tilt rig operated by remote control, camera fixings and what have you.  Specialist software is also supplied as part of the package, allowing you to use your laptop to zoom in and out and release the shutter whilst viewing a live screen on your  laptop.  If anyone requires this equipment in the UK or Europe, please contact me for prices and full specifications.  Certain cameras will work with the software whilst others will not.  Cost wise it is not prohibitive, I have set this company up from being recently unemployed with an avid interest in photography.  You have the choice of either a 33' or 50' telescopic pole.  Images captured are as crisp and sharp as can be, fit for professional use.  The mast/s themselves are extremely sturdily built, very well constructed and are extremely highly portable.  I am now in full time employment using this system in the south west region of England.  The number of applications this technology can be put to is truly immense.  If anyone wishes to contact me, please do so:  inlunarsunphotography@gmail.com

 

Best regards!!

 

Mark 


 

Apr 11, 2007 06:51 AM #28
Rainer
78,048
Vicky Poe
Good Ole Rocky Top - Crossville, TN
Realtor/ Auctioneer
You really stepped outside the box with your pictures.  I am impressed.
Oct 20, 2007 09:45 PM #29
Ambassador
1,765,353
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi & Corinna Birgit Cromartie
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Palm Harbor, FL
Palm Harbor & Dunedin FL Residential Real Estate
I have to agree with Vicky - that was indeed thinking outside the box!!!
Oct 21, 2007 11:47 AM #30
Rainer
438
Daniel Wright
Eyes over Pinellas - Saint Petersburg, FL

Kite aerial photography (KAP) is another option, especially for larger properties in which 25 or 30 feet may not be sufficient height. Granted not every site is accessible for kite flying, but you’d be surprised that most experienced fliers can safely fly most anywhere, provided some leeway is provided for favorable wind direction. This photo was among many taken within two hours of launching the kite to packing it up. The hobby is becoming more and more popular throughout the US and it’s only a matter of time before their services become available commercially. I fly in the Tampa/St Pete and have more examples of what can be done with 2 hours, favorable wind, and highly specialized electronics and camera! http://www.flickr.com/photos/dprite/sets/72157594574045543/

 

Nov 09, 2007 06:46 PM #31
Rainer
1,033
Krystal Little
AviO Optics - De Bary, FL

It is so wonderful to see people getting interested in this form of photography.  It is a thriving industry in the United Kingdom and to see it becoming increasingly popular in the US is exciting.

 We use the telescopic mast system as many people have talked about above.  It is vehicle mounted so we are able to reach heights of over 65 feet.  It was mentioned above that the price can be more than $10,000.00 and from what we have noticed, this is a field where you get what you pay for.  Our system well exceeded number after we paid to get it shipped from the United Kingdom.  It has been worth every penny though.

 Our business is based out of DeBary, Florida (about half-way between Orlando and Daytona Beach) so we are able to travel nearly everywhere in the state.  Below are some pictures of what this system can achieve.  The typical setup from arrival through departure is about 30 minutes.  This is especially important in Florida since the weather can change from sunny to raining in a matter of minutes.  And because it's stationary, the possibilities of damaging itself or anyone around are reduced to nearly nothing.

We did a lot of research on systems before finally deciding to purchase the one we have and are very happy with our decision.  Having this system and its ease of use has made a dramatic difference on what we can photograph and the quality of the end result.

 Central Florida Home

 This was a beautiful home that really stuck out from the rest by using elevated photography.  The house looks as though it has more heighth and the true size of the home and property are viewable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Central Florida Home on Lake

 This home had been on the market for some time.  From the ground, you cannot see that there is a lake in the background.  We were able to shoot the front of the home, give a good idea of what the back yard looks like and still see that the home is on a lake.  All of this in a single photograph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel free to check out our website at www.aviooptics.com or email me at klittle@aviooptics.com.  I would be happy to speak with anyone who is interested in elevated photography.

 Krystal Little, President of AviO Optics

Nov 28, 2007 01:55 PM #32
Rainmaker
727,353
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

This was all so interesting!  I doubt that I'll be able to do the photograhpy but no one else in our town is doing it either.  Thanks so much for the info.

 

Dec 01, 2007 08:48 PM #33
Rainer
23,804
Kenny Franklin
Elite Realty Plus, LLC - Stafford, VA
ABR®, AHWD, e-PRO®, SFR

Interesting. Very, interesting. <in an Artie Johnson German accent>

I'm an old model rocketeer. We used to launch a rocket made from Estes called the Astrocam. It used 110 film. It was hit or miss to what you got a picture of. It would be fun to take pictures of some land or a house that has very little trees to catch the rocket. ; )

 

Dec 03, 2007 11:36 AM #34
Rainer
204,590
Julianna Hind
eXp Realty - Tacoma, WA
REALTOR, 206-679-4768, Tacoma Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, WA
Lee, you did such an awsome job with the system you built, Im impressed!
Dec 03, 2007 11:38 AM #35
Rainmaker
287,540
Mark Horan
Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC - Saint Cloud, FL
"The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
Lee- maybe you should charge realtors to take such photos and start a new business. Great stuff
Dec 03, 2007 05:29 PM #36
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

I do charge other REALTORS to take elevated photos.  I've partnered up with a photographer for such a business.   Thanks, Mark.

Dec 03, 2007 06:12 PM #37
Anonymous
Anonymous
Troy
There is quite abit of PAP activity on a new forum, APLanding.com ... Mast suppliers, gimbles, remote control, video downlink information can also be found there.
Dec 04, 2007 02:58 PM #38
Rainer
53,113
Eric Lee
Realty Executives - Phoenix, AZ
e-PRO, SFR - Phoenix, AZ

Was inspired by this post and came up with an even more cost-effective system although I can only achieve about 15-20'. Has to be portable and fit in my Civic so I took a mini-step ladder (one of those 2' ones) and then used a telescoping pool pole. The detachable head from my tripod fits perfectly on the pole and the little holes in the end of the pole (used to attach different pool cleaning parts to the pole) made a perfect base to affix the head to the pole using cable ties. Then I used the 10 second delay setting on my simple Canon Powershot A510. For some background, here is the ground shot of this house (taken at a different time than the below pictures) : House - ground level

This is a tough front to photograph as the good side has a tree hiding the house and the rest is garage. With the above setup, i took this shot:

Elevated house photo

Now, to be perfectly honest, this isn't an amazing picture either (and BTW, this is a stitched picture of 2 separate photos that I took from the pole - notice the driveway line skewing at the bottom) but the change in perspective is amazing.  For good measure, i also took some shots of the backyard:

Elevated - backyard

This is also a stitched picture (note the fence errata - top) and the lighting is horrible (this needs to be taken in the AM when the sun would be behind me) but again what an amazing change in perspective.

 

The pole costs about $25-30 or so and the ladder is about the same. You can add 4' by using a conventional 6' step ladder but the above system will fit in my car - I want to improve my photos but I'm not going haywire with a new car or anything like that.  

Dec 05, 2007 10:12 PM #39
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

Eric,  GREAT work!  I plan to chronicle the evolution of my system.  I too started out with a similar system using the timer.  In reality, I think most of my best shots are taken around 15' to 20'.  This means a pole like yours or a painter's pole would work well for a lot less cost.  The only "nicety" you might add is a portable DVD player (I use a pocket TV) at the bottom of the pole so you can see what the camera sees.  This will save a lot of time retaking photos you didn't get right the first time.

I would like to see how your camera mount works at the top of the pole.  Could you take a picture of the top part of the pole for us?

Dec 06, 2007 07:56 AM #40
Rainer
53,113
Eric Lee
Realty Executives - Phoenix, AZ
e-PRO, SFR - Phoenix, AZ

I don't have the pole handy but here is a picture of the shoe from the tripod the camera attaches to:Camera shoe

Camera photo 2

Camera photo 3

The pole is just a long, hollow, telescoping aluminum pole. At the end there are holes cut in the sides for plastic tabs to stick into to hold on various pool attachments - skimmer net, pool brush, pool vac head, etc. They are perfectly placed to run a couple oversized cable ties through and around the tripod shoe/head above - 1 on each side of the camera for support. The pole itself fits perfectly into the square raised part on the bottom (in fact you can see wear marks on the shoe/head above). The whole setup was very stable and I had no problem setting the 10 sec timer, pushing the exposure button, running the whole contraption up as high as I could and getting it steady before the shutter went off. I had no blurry photos although I did have a few photos that were off-center (to be expected with no laptop or TV connection to preview) but I expect that will improve the more I use it. Furthermore, I use stitching software extensively and as you can see, had no problem creating pictures suitable for stitching. 

This probably isn't anything that will help tremendously for my listings on smaller lots buried in the middle of a subdivision but as you can see from my prior post, these photos of the house showcased the mountains behind very nicely. BTW, for perspective on view I tried this 1st holding up my tripod standing on the ladder 1st and got this type of photo:

Elevated photo 3

Off-center but the best of the lot . I took many more pool pole photos than tripod photos - in fact, I initially went there just with the tripod and was inspired by the pool pole sitting out next to the pool on location.

Dec 06, 2007 04:10 PM #41
Rainer
9,469
Brian Doles
Colby Home Services - Marietta, GA

Here is what I have so-called "engineered". I use that term loosely.

I took the head from a cheap monopod and glued it to the handle of a paint roller. I took the metal arm & roller off of the handle. Now I have an empty handle to mount my head on. I used a construction adhesive to glue them together. I've used a 20' painters pole and a shorter one also. It works ok, I haven't mastered the art of raising it efficiently. The only downside to the 20' painters pole is that when fully extended it's very flexible.

I have not had the guts to put my 40D on top of it yet...  :)

PAP Camera Mount

Dec 06, 2007 05:19 PM #42
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

Brian,  My 30' pole is fairly flexible, that's why it's a good idea to have a monitor at the bottom of the pole so you can get things lined up before the shutter goes off.  And you should see my paint roller camera mount.  I think you would get a bigger laugh out of it than yours.  I'll post it if I get the chance.

Eric,  What I ment was how the camera mounted to the pole.  I think what you ment is that you use the holes to tie zip ties to the quick release shoe.

Dec 06, 2007 05:31 PM #43
Rainer
9,469
Brian Doles
Colby Home Services - Marietta, GA
I've been meaning to wrap the handle in something else, but just haven't. I've got tomorrow free so I might take care of it. Plus I might get out and see what kind of shots I can get.
Dec 06, 2007 05:34 PM #44
Rainer
53,113
Eric Lee
Realty Executives - Phoenix, AZ
e-PRO, SFR - Phoenix, AZ

Like I said, I don't have the pole handy but yes the cable ties go through the holes and then around the shoe, 1 on each side of the camera so that is evenly adhered.

 Picture it this way - take a paper towel tube and about 1" from the end punch holes in opposite sides. The tube goes into the square footing on the bottom of the shoe (just by sheer coincidence it fits the shoe on my tripod just about perfectly) and then zip ties through the hole and around the shoe.

Don't know how it compares to a  painter's pole but I think it would be quite a bit more rigid - they are designed to push pool equipment through water. When not extended it is essentially solid. OTOH they are hollow and made of aluminum so they are relatively lightweight. I had zero problem holding it steady and had no fuzzy pictures at all.

BTW was doing a little calculating and I think with the tripod and 2' ladder I was probably about 12' up - 2 for the ladder, 4 for the tripod and 6 for me. Could be a bit more as I was holding that overhead as high as I could. The pool pole was at least 19' - not sure about the pole but I think they start at 12', I didn't hold it as high for better balance so maybe 5' plus the 2' ladder.

 

15' pool pole here: http://www.lesliespool.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=8224&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCat=28&iSubCat=737&iProductID=8224

 Or a whole spectrum of choices here: http://www.recreonics.com/brush_handles.htm

Dec 06, 2007 06:22 PM #45
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX
I promised about a year ago to detail the system that I have.  I took the photos tonight and hope to have it posted in a new post in the next day or so.
Dec 06, 2007 09:16 PM #46
Rainmaker
39,890
Margaret Hokkanen
SurfTheTurf.com, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
→ Carlsbad Real Estate

COOL!  I am glad to see what others are doing!  I've been doing pole photography for about two years now!  My husband made me a pole rig made out of off-the-shelf painters poles and an old tripod head.

Margaret Hokkanen

PS: Here's a small photo of one of my pole pictures.

Carlsbad home

 

Dec 06, 2007 10:19 PM #47
Rainer
23,804
Kenny Franklin
Elite Realty Plus, LLC - Stafford, VA
ABR®, AHWD, e-PRO®, SFR
This stuff is very cool. How do you remotely snap the picture?
Dec 06, 2007 10:57 PM #48
Rainmaker
39,890
Margaret Hokkanen
SurfTheTurf.com, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
→ Carlsbad Real Estate

Here's the pole rig that my husband set up.  Two painter's poles from Home Depot.  Each of them has a button for quick extension. 

polecam

The top pole (left pic) has a SunPack tripod head.  This allows for VERY easy rotation of the camera from landscape to portrait depending on your needs.  That's super useful if you need to change your orientation depending upon what you're shooting and how far away.  

For the second pole (bottom pole), John removed the head that comes with the pole to accept the paint rollers (you can see it in the left pic just under the tripod head).  Instead, he drilled a hole and put a pin through it (see on right).  To assemble the two poles, just extend each pole a couple of feet, and pin the two together (he had to drill a hole through the upper pole for the pin to go through).  He left about 4 feet of overlap, so between the two poles, you get to about 22 feet.   If you only need 15-17 ft, then just use the top pole and pick it up.

Hope that helps for the doityourselfers.  Total cost was about $50+tripod head (which came off a $25 tripod).

What I like about it: takes about 60 seconds to assemble; you can use just 1 piece if you need only the shorter length; and you can walk into a country club pool area with a couple of painter poles and no one pays any attention.

Margaret Hokkanen         

Dec 07, 2007 01:10 AM #49
Rainmaker
39,890
Margaret Hokkanen
SurfTheTurf.com, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
→ Carlsbad Real Estate

One other thing....I don't recommend aluminum pool poles if you are going very high.  I snapped a couple of them in half as they buckled under the forces of the lever action in lifting the pole.  I strongly recommend the fibreglass for strength if you want to go more than 20'.  Also, it's non-conductive so less electrical risk (but I won't go anywhere near wires anyway). 

Margaret H.

 

Dec 07, 2007 01:15 AM #50
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

I concur about aluminum poles being a conductor of electricity.  I don’t intentionally lean my pole against power lines, but it only takes a moment of inattention.

Dec 07, 2007 06:53 AM #51
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX
Margaret, I'm assuming you set the timer then lift the pole.  Do you have a monitor at the bottom of the pole or are you using your 5D?  Which camera do you use on the pole?
Dec 07, 2007 09:09 AM #53
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX
Thanks Eric.  By the way, I finally posted about my PAP system.  Check it out.
Dec 07, 2007 10:59 AM #55
Rainer
9,469
Brian Doles
Colby Home Services - Marietta, GA

Well I finally got the guts to put my 40D on top of the 24 pole. Vewy, vewy carefully...!! They are also good to see how full the gutters are.

40D on Mount Pole mount

 

Clean those gutters

Dec 11, 2007 02:48 PM #56
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX
Okay Brian, I want to know about your PAP system.  Are you able to view what the camera sees before taking the picture.  This has been my biggest concern about using a DSLR.  I even emailed Canon about using a 40D on the pole, but their response was that I would need a laptop to view what the camera sees.
Dec 11, 2007 02:56 PM #57
Rainer
9,469
Brian Doles
Colby Home Services - Marietta, GA

That's the downside. It boils down to luck. Canon is correct, the best way would be to have a laptop connected to see "live" what is going on. It would also be nice if I had the wireless remote option with the 40D. This option ($799+) has the ability to send the photos from the camera to the laptop via wireless, that's cool...

The 40D has the "live" feature that kind of simulates a point and shoot lcd screen. But I've only found it useful for portrait shots of people when it's connected to a PC.

It's an option at least.

I actually just ordered one of these - http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200182260782

 

This will at least give you remote shutter access, but then you still need to worry about what your shooting.

Dec 11, 2007 03:09 PM #58
Rainer
34,861
Mehmet Met Dilsiz
FND Photography / M2 Real Estate Solutions - Midvale, UT

Lee, this is a great idea and now I am going to try it  :)

thank you for sharing it

Dec 11, 2007 03:47 PM #59
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX
Brian,  At first this sounded silly to me, but I've read that some guys are mounting small wireless video cameras to the mount pointed in the same direction as the camera so one can generally frame the shot.  Another possibility (I think is better) is to mount this wireless camera to the eyepiece of the camera so you actually use it as though you normally use the camera.  Try aplanding.
Dec 11, 2007 09:06 PM #60
Anonymous
Anonymous
SkyHighPhotographs UK

Just received two more inquiries as a result of people seeing this aerial photography blog, so thought I may quickly provide an update to last post above from a few months back. 

Although business has slowed up considerably during the winter months, still ticking over and just finished a contract with a major international property consultancy company, and thoroughly enjoying still, this aspect of photography.

 If any of you would like to view my web site you can see it here:  http://www.SkyHighPhotographs.co.uk

 The camera I have attached to a 52' telescopic highly portable tripod, this system, I've already explained in my previous comments.

 As for viewing exactly that which the camera is seeing aloft, I use obviously the laptop on the ground for this, the two are connected via a/n 80' long USB lead.

 The software used is called BreezeSys - type that into Google and you'll find it easily enough, doesn't cost much at all and told, is an excellent piece of software for remote viewing. 

If anyone else has any questions they would like to run past me about any aspect of aerial photography, (elevated photography), please do not hesitate to contact me, and I'll be more than happy to help you out with any tips and/or advice.  A contact form is provided on my website, which will come straight through to my e-mail address.  

Kindest regards and best wishes to everyone, and all the best with your aerial photography efforts. 

Cheers!! 

Mark 

 

Feb 18, 2008 05:05 PM #61
Rainmaker
122,926
Mike West
Heritage Oak Properties - El Dorado Hills, CA
El Dorado Hills, CA CDPE, CNE, Licensed Loan Origi
Great Idea.  I see Brian put his 40D on a pole,  I guess I could try my 20D (after is stop drooling over the 40D)!
Feb 18, 2008 06:54 PM #62
Rainer
9,469
Brian Doles
Colby Home Services - Marietta, GA

I forgot to send an update....I finally got my remote for my 40D and it works like a charm. I'd highly recommend it, and for less than $30 it was a steal. Unfortunately I haven't really had a chance to get out and use it.

Maybe shortly! :)

Feb 18, 2008 07:00 PM #63
Rainmaker
39,890
Margaret Hokkanen
SurfTheTurf.com, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
→ Carlsbad Real Estate

In southern California homes less than $1M have pretty high density, so getting higher than 30 feet is not usually necessary and can be a real negative because getting up too high can mean showing the high density aspect of a neighborhood.  So, here in California, just adding pole photography to your bag of tricks doesn't can add tremendous value to one's marketing advantage, and it does not have to be an expensive system. 

There are more rural areas where kites, small helicopters and balloons can be useful, but that's not usually required.  If we have a listing along the coast, we just rent a helicopter out of the local airfield for about $300/hour, and over the water the helicopters can get pretty low.  Over residential neighborhoods, I think they will usually go down to about 750 feet, and with a 400mm lens (which you can rent for less than $50/day), you can do a really great job.  So, beween inexpensive pole systems for tight neighborhoods and a willingness to hop in one of the doorless helicopters, you can pretty much avoid purchasing an expensive system here.  The folks who have balloon-based systems want to charge $750 for a half day (which includes their travel time), and most of us are not willing to spend that, especially when we can zip over in a regular helicopter for $300/hour.

We strongly encourage new agents to get smart about pole camera technologies, especially those that are handling condo communities.  Pole pictures can make a second-story condo photo look great, and the pictures of the pools and greenspaces can be great add-on photos as well.

Margaret H., Carlsbad Real Estate

Feb 18, 2008 09:59 PM #64
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX
Mike, once you check it out, you will find that the 40D works because you can get a live video feed from it to view what the camera sees from the ground.  The 20D does not have that capability.  You will have to upgrade to a DSLR with live view or stay with a point and shoot on the pole.
Feb 19, 2008 12:55 PM #65
Anonymous
Anonymous
Rachel N

First I would like to say that the comments so far are fantastic.  I'm learning more about PAP as I read everyone's post.  

 However, I have a few lingering questions:

I've read some discussion about using a monitor/lcd to view what pictures have been taken but does anyone have an example of how it works?  I currently have a 40D and I would like to see if I can make use of the Live View functionality, and I would also like to see how it would work with non-live view capable cameras.

Some previous comments have mentioned the used of laptops to be able to control the camera but I would like to be more mobile and use the pole at various locations without having to be tethered to a laptop.  I've seen recommendations for wireless video transmitter and video transmitter but I'm not familiar with how all of it is setup. 

Here is a link to where I got the information from:

http://photographyforrealestate.net/2008/01/18/vince-destefanos-design-for-pap-with-a-canon-40d/

Thanks in advance for everyone's response!

Rachel N

Feb 21, 2008 07:37 AM #66
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

Rachel,

On the left side of the camera are four ports.  The upper right is video out.  That's were you connect the video transmitter.  The lower left is the remote terminal (N3) where you connect the remote shutter release (receiver).  I found it handy to mount the monitor onto the pole so I would have my hands free to control the pole.  At 30' feet, you will need both hands.  The video receiver connects to the video in port on the monitor.  Find a convenient place to store the remote shutter transmitter until you get the pole stabilized, and then retrieve the remote shutter transmitter and fire away.

The link you provided is very helpful.  That's were I got my initial information that the 40D would work on the pole.  I had written Canon a couple months earlier about the use of a 40D on the pole and the response I got from Canon was that I would have to use the laptop.  Having the laptop connected to the camera will give you significantly more control over the camera, but I have found that simple often works better plus having a laptop tethered to the pole is inconvenient.  Right now I have a wired connection, but will be upgrading to wireless.  Now that I've written all of this, I have to admit I don't have a 40D, but have researched this thoroughly and will be upgrading to the 40D as well.

Feb 21, 2008 09:28 AM #67
Anonymous
Anonymous
Rachel

Thanks for your quick response Lee.

Now I understand how to hookup the video transmitter but from products listed on Ebay they are pretty clunky and I can see it adding extra weight to the camera if I mount it to a 30' feet pole.  Will using a really long video cable to attach it to the mount at the bottom a good solution or just defeats the purpose of having a wireless transmitter?  Or can I just run a very long video cable directly to the monitor? 

Speaking of monitors, do you have any suggestions for a good monitor to mount on the pole?  The one posted on the article I mentioned above is from ebay and it looks like it'll fall apart on me after a couple of uses.  I've googled around for portable LCD or TVs but I don't know what exactly to look for to ensure that it will deliver a viewable image. 

Once I know what I’m doing I’ll post pictures of my rig to share with everyone.  Thanks again for answering all of my novice questions.  

Feb 21, 2008 12:27 PM #68
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

Rachel,

I currently have two wires which run from the camera at the top of the pole down to the monitor and shutter release and zoom control.  You can run a wire for video feed, but my suggestion is to eliminate the web of wires and go wireless.  You might check on aplanding for wireless video transmitters.  The transmitters I have seen are so small there wouldn't be a noticable difference in handeling the pole because of weight. 

Those monitors do seem less than sturdy.  I have been looking for the perfect monitor for years.  I currently have a 3" LCD portable TV.  At the time it was the best priced monitor I could find.  Today you can get a 7" portable DVD player for under $100.  I've considered higher resolution monitors for lots more money, but I don't think the video output from the camera is high resolution, so I would be spending the extra money for nothing.  Again, the portable DVD player is probably the best solution.  Just make sure it has video in capabilities.

Feb 21, 2008 01:16 PM #69
Anonymous
Anonymous
SkyHighPhotographs

If you can get the work as well, weddings are a great place to use this kind of photography, which will give the couple a very unique edge to their photographs on the day.

 

Bring on the spring!!  This should be an excellent year!

 

Just finished a couple of major contracts, need more now. 

Mar 23, 2008 12:18 AM #70
Anonymous
Anonymous
Vince DeStefano www.propertysnaps.com.au

Hi Guys,

Here is a link to an update of my pole system http://www.flickr.com/groups/photographyforrealestate/discuss/72157604070449392/?search=pole

I have also just started using the 40d on the pole now and it works really well with the breeze software, I am about to trial a wireless USB extender to eliminate all the wires.

 

Regards

Vince Destefano

www.propertysnaps.com.au

Mar 28, 2008 11:26 AM #71
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX
Vince, you might be interested in the Aerial Photography group.
Mar 28, 2008 12:25 PM #73
Rainer
47,471
Earleene Woods
Keller Williams Experience Realty - Murray, KY
ASP, CRS, GRI

THis is AWESOME...but I am overwhelmed....I think this is great photography.  

May 24, 2008 06:10 PM #74
Anonymous
Anonymous
Steven Scott

I use the Manfrotto 269 HDBU tripod, which goes up to 25 feet.  It's ideal for my Canon G9 and my Canon XSi.  Great shots.  You can see some at www.mauipanoramics.com.

I love PAP -- and it is most effective at 10-15 feet or so.  You don't have to go that high.

 

 

Jul 01, 2008 06:53 PM #75
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

Steven, what is the Manfrotto tripod made of?  I certainly agree with you that you don't have to do all that high and I would have to agree that my best shots are normally around 15 feet up.

 

Jul 01, 2008 09:02 PM #76
Anonymous
Anonymous
Bob Charles

I use a Manfrotto tripod that's made for holding lighting on a stage (I forget the model number), a Nikon Coolpix 5000 with a wide-angle lens, and a timer device I bought off the internet.

I attach the camera to the tripod, give it a good guestimate of the angle to point down, set the timer to take a photo every 3 seconds, and send it up.

It can go up to 7.1m (25 feet?) and it does the treat.  Since I can't see what it's doing up there, I tend to rotate it slowly (left to right and back to left) to make sure I capture everything I need.

I call it "PoleCam", and advertise it as a more portible solution to people with vehicle-mounted camera systems or aerial systems (like blimps).  I can carry it to a remote, wooded area, set it up by myself in minutes, take the photos, bring it down to check the photos (to see if I need to re-adjust the camera head), then bug out.

Aug 07, 2008 06:47 PM #77
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

Bob, my system is similar except that I hand hold the pole (no tripod) I also have a remote shutter release and pocket TV to see what the camera sees.  The monitor saves me a bunch of time.  I found a monitor at Wal-Mart that I think would work well for your application.  I found this one for $20 because it was on clearance, but full price is only $50.  I recommend it.  This blog tells a little bit about my PAP system.

Aug 07, 2008 09:28 PM #78
Anonymous
Anonymous
Liam Lim www.sydneyrealestatephotography.com.au

Anyone know a good manufacturer of this pole Aerial Photography system in Sydney Australia? I like to add this service in my business. In case I miss the blog I would appreciate if someone could directly email me. My contact is in the website. Many Thanks, Liam www.sydneyrealestatephotography.com.au

 

Oct 21, 2008 11:31 PM #80
Anonymous
Anonymous
drew

how much is charged for pap photos

Nov 05, 2008 01:41 PM #81
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

I have charged to take photos for other agents, but that's not my business.  I figure the PAP shots would be included in a package price.  Allow the PAP shots to become the reason they choose you as a photographer.  If you want to charge differently for PAP shots over traditional "ground" shots, I would suspect an additional $50 would be fair.

Nov 05, 2008 02:06 PM #82
Anonymous
Anonymous
Eddy Kimani

Hi.

 

Am in Keny and am setting up an aerial photography business.

 

Im still looking for the best and affordable kit available but we dont have that arund this sides.

 

Can anyone assist, would like to buy even if its second hand, preferably the a full 30ft kit.

 

Anyoe with leads?

 

Kindly assist.

 

Thanks.

 

eddykimani@gmail.com

+254-722-760144

Nov 02, 2009 07:56 AM #110
Anonymous
Anonymous
Eddy Kimani

Sorry meant am in Kenya, East Africa.

 

Eddy Kimani.

Nov 02, 2009 08:03 AM #111
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

Eddy, "KITS" are often very expensive.  Most people doing PAP have built their own system.  The first step is often to use a telescopic painter's pole and set the timer on the camera.  Then guys think they need to get higher so they will get poles like the WonderPole or Hastings HotStick.  Some guys use Carp poles, but I think those would be used with much lighter cameras than the one I use.  Now the complexity increases with height.  At 30 feet, you WILL need a remote shutter release and video downlink.  This can be wired or wireless.  Wireless is more expensive, but I think worth the effort.  If you go over 30 ft tall, you will need something to hold the pole (tripod or truck mount) then you will need a pan/tilt unit to control the camera's direction.  Do you see how this whole thing can get out of hand very quickly?

Let me know if I can help any more.

Nov 02, 2009 09:36 AM #112
Anonymous
Anonymous
John Hokkanen

Hi Lee,

I just wanted to post the link to my site in case anyone wants to convert

the painter's pole in their garage to a camera mount.  See: www.PolePixie.com

I'm scheduled to preview our aluminum mount this week!

John Hokkanen

 

May 16, 2010 10:00 PM #113
Rainmaker
31,158
John Hokkanen
SurfTheTurf.com - Encinitas, CA
Encinitas Real Estate

Hey Lee,

We just got done creating our all-aluminum Pro Adapter for the painter's poles.  Here are the various configurations that we have. See them at www.PolePixie.com. Feel free to send any questions!

Pole Pixie Painter Pole Adapter for Photography

John Hokkanen

Aug 16, 2010 07:33 PM #114
Rainmaker
239,703
Lee Jinks
Greater McAllen Association of REALTORS® - McAllen, TX

I'd like to add that I've done PAP now for several years.  I have a 30 foot pole, but because of John's PolePixie I know use my 9 foot pole much more often.  I can't say enough good about this product.

Aug 17, 2010 09:28 AM #115
Anonymous
Anonymous
Aeromao

Hi all!

 

I hope I donk't brake any rules on this site by posting this, but just wanted to share our models of aluminum telescopic poles or masts for aerial photography as well for multipurpose applications.

We have two models 40ft and 60ft of maximum elevation. We worked in this masts pretty hard until we ended with a good design at probably the best rate among all poles of similar maximum heights. We wanted to keep things simple and super reliable, and affordable.

The result now is that we have orders from all over the world in our first year of operation. As soon as we have finish building a mast we just shipp out. Actually, most of the times our customers have to wait a couple weeks   :-)

Your comments are very welcome!

if you have questions feel free to email me!

www.aeromao.com

 

Jul 05, 2012 06:40 PM #116
Anonymous
Anonymous
Jeff Cartwright

I have something like this but it has no labeling. Its got red lines on the tip of each pole.

Oct 06, 2014 01:02 PM #117
Anonymous
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