Paragliding Photography isn’t always easy. It is much easier to go out and just enjoy the day without having to worry about an expensive camera by your side. For those of you that do absolutely love photography and always remember to bring your camera, here are some quick tips.
If you are brand new to paragliding photography or paragliding in general, it is best to create aerial shots while using the help of a tandem pilot. You may not be able to get exactly where you want but should be able to get most of the angles you are looking for. Also without having to worry about the controls it gives you complete freedom to be able to focus on the camera.
Learn to fly solo
Developing aerial photos while flying isn’t easy. The first tip is to simply learn how to fly well solo. When taking your hands off of the controls in order to use a camera with two hands you will be fully accelerating the parachute. In order to be able to do this you must have the right conditions. If there is a lot of turbulence, fully accelerating the parachute may lead to you losing control.
For those of you that always want to have slight control of your flight, learning to fly with one hand is the way to go. You will find very quickly that you do not have the same control, however it is all in all safer.
You are much more agile and maneuverable in a one person parachute than a tandem.
Fly Safe – Don’t get too close
Remember if you are shooting someone in particular don’t get too close to other fliers. In this type of action photography, a gust of wind could make you crash with your subject. Bring radios with you so you can be in contact at all times. It also makes for a more enjoyable experience where you are not screaming and shouting at each other.
For paragliding photography as well as action photography in general you are typically capturing moving objects. Therefore you will want to be using a higher shutter speed, typically from 1/500s to 1/1000s. Also use a smaller aperture of around f/8 to f/11, depending on the light of the day.
Basic and Final Tips
At the end of the day you can make most paragliding shots look interesting even if you are brand new to photography. The main thing is to get out there, start flying and surrounding yourself in the paragliding culture. As for most types of action photography, the first and most important skill to learn is the activity you are doing.
And remember, shooting from the ground can always make your job 10 times easier.