For quite some time I have been wanting to do a little sports photography and started by photographing Kite Surfers a little while ago. My images weren't the greatest but I did manage to get some really good shot's more my good fortune than by good planning.
Anyway I wanted to look at my panning technique and improve on it and was looking for an opportunity to do just that without going to any great expense when a friend started chatting to me about RC Helo's (Radio Controlled Helicopters). Well being a guy fascinated by anything remote controlled (Yeah I'm just a big kid and no it's not a mid-life crisis) ever since they came on the scene.
I had to do a little investigating as I wouldn't mind having a go at this but can just imagine spending a fair amount of money only to obliterate the machine within minutes. I did a little research online and found that there is a local club with a field just up the road from my home where the members meet every Sunday morning. I was invited to join them as an observer to learn a little more about the sport. Yes it is a sport.
Well I trundled down last Sunday with my camera gear as I saw this as an opportunity for a few images. A most enjoyable day and the guys were all very friendly, didn't mind my zillion questions and the few photo's I took. It turns out that this is great practice for panning and sports photography as these helicopters are amazing, super quick and unpredictable for me which meant keeping the machine in frame was a major effort let alone keeping it in focus. I will include a number of unedited shots at the end of this blog (apart from adding my logo, downsizing and converting from RAW to JPG).
The sport is a lot more involved than I first thought with starter machines priced at around $500.00 and Radio's (Controllers priced anywhere from $200-$1000) then there is the requirement of membership to the clubs which carry the benefit of huge savings to Public Liability Insurance. Of course at the mention of Insurance the ears pricked up. Is the sport dangerous? - oh yes! rarely, but none the less there have been fatalities, not many casualties but one needs to remember that the blades of even the smaller Helicopters pictured below, can be deadly.
Some clubs require a level of proficiency before one is allowed to join and just as with life size aviation one may be required to obtain their bronze wings before membership is finalised. There are of course instructors and assessors to take care of the novices such as myself. Well the big kid in me is not satisfied yet so I'll return to take more pictures and of course ask another zillion questions (slight exaggeration) that I have floating around in my head.
Till next time, Take Care and Stay Safe.