Tips & Ideas:

5 Great Things to Photograph from Your Paramotor

Producing a Great Photograph Takes Time, Energy, and a Cautious Approach

If you’re like me and have shot from your paramotor for while, you’re probably wanting to expand you’re “visual ambitions” a little. Or perhaps you’re starting out and just want some ideas on what to shoot. This article will hopefully give you some awesome goals to strive for in your paramotor photography. Just remember, putting a camera to your eye is akin to putting a bag over your head, and like all of aviation it’s no different in paramotor photography – Altitude is always your friend. Before putting the camera to your eye, make sure you have enough altitude and be absolutely certain there’s nothing in your path to run into.

Photograph - Winding Road

1) Anything That’s Winding

Winding roads and rivers offer an inspirational fix to our natural sense of curiosity. They create pictures that tell stories and serve to draw us into the photograph. Like any story, you have to tell it correctly though or else it will fizzle out faster than a wet sparkler. That’s why (usually) portrait orientation works best for this subject. It allows for a longer start to finish so to speak as your viewer’s eyes will naturally tend to begin at the bottom of the photo and work their way up.

2) Sunsets (and Sunrises for that Matter…)

Sunsets make for spectacular paramotor photography. Naturally, we are at an advantage because with the paramotor we can create our own mountain top vantage points. The reason I mention sunsets over sunrises in order of preference though is because typically the sky tends to be a more of a golden color at the end of the day then at the beginning. This is because of haze (salt particles) and pollution tinting the sky after accumulating in the atmosphere all day.

Photograph - Sweeping sky

3) After it Rains (but be VERY CAREFUL with this one)

Rain does two things for us as paramotor photographers. First, it cleans the sky of the above mentioned contaminants and second, it provides for silver linings – Literally. On the first point though clean air provides for unobstructed visibilities and unobstructed visibilities provide for stunning panoramas, but be sure to use a wide-angles lens to capture the scene’s full potential! Secondly, if there are clouds on the horizon you can position yourself in such a way to have the sun piercing them, creating a stunning sunbeam and cloud edge lighting scenario (called the silver lining).

Safety Tips:

First, and I can’t stress this enough though, always observe your country’s cloud clearance requirements. Airplanes can emerge from clouds at any time going over 500 feet per second! Second, DO NOT FLY NEAR STORMS/CUMULUS CLOUDS OR WHEN THE WEATHER IS BAD!!! The best obtainable photograph in the world isn’t even worth it. And always always always give bad weather at least a 24 hour buffer on either end before considering flying – The air will be especially “mixy” during these times as the atmosphere is resettling, it’s just not worth it. Double check your local weather before and after bad weather events just to make sure things have returned to “normal.”

Photograph - Paramotor

4) Foreground Objects (Windmills, barns, etc…)

This subject only really stands out when there’s nothing else around. In other words, a foreground object only turns into a great photography subject when it’s uncluttered by any surrounding distractions. Use the rule of thirds and place your foreground subject in the lower left or right third of the photograph, 1/3 in from the side. On the other hand perhaps you have a lot of completely clear foreground instead. If your main subject is slightly uninteresting, you can place it in the top third of the photo, in the distance and let curiosity fill in the gap.

Safety Tips:

First, only use a zoom lens when shooting subjects on the ground! The telephoto will give you safe birth, giving you and your subject plenty of room to avoid a collision with each other. A lot of motorcycle accidents are caused from fixation – The same could be applied to paramotoring when there’s a reality distorting lens to your eye, which by the way, is all lenses really. Also, start framing your shot from a distance so that when you’re closer the pic will be quick and easy, and the camera will only be in your field of vision for a second.

Photograph - Gear

5) Your Setup

There’s something nostalgic to me about capturing your own setup and launch site from the air. Maybe it’s because it tells the story of the effort you put into your endeavors, or maybe it shows how small the world is from the air. And perhaps it’s a combination of both; but for whatever reason, I always find myself capturing this shot. Take a minute the next time your airborne and snap a pic of your car, wing sack and everything else lying there. It’ll certainly give you a sense of appreciation for all your hard work getting airborne. Usual foreground shot safety tips apply though!