Construction Progress & Commercial Real Estate Aerial Photography
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This week I’ll be telling you all about our construction progress and commercial real estate shoot last week on April 27th.
Typically, the last week of the month is when we schedule our monthly construction progress shoots and last week was no exception.
Like any other day, when my dad Pat and I arrive at the airport, we call for fuel and start preflighting the plane. Once the fuel truck arrives and begins topping us off, we give NorCal a quick phone call to confirm they received our flight plan email. With our flight plan confirmed, the preflight complete, and my wallet on fire from recent gas payment (have you SEEN the prices of AvGas lately? ⛽️ CA is averaging $5.29/gallon) we hop in the plane and start up. After completing my run-up our journey finally begins at 11am PST as we take off from Runway 32 at the San Martin Airport, E16.
I climb out, turn toward the West, and radio NorCal for flight following. After establishing contact I turn toward our first site. I hand over controls to Pat and crawl into the back, buckle in, put on my headset, and set up my cameras.
Our first site of the day sits just east of Moffett Federal AirField in Sunnyvale and just west of the SJC departure corridor. This particular job requires not only our usual oblique closeups and wides, but also a vertical map of the site. This requires one or two orbits around the site and one GPS guided flight line over the top of the site. I can’t share photos of the site or tell you anything about the client, but here are a couple photos of the 129th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard based at Moffett right next door. I captured these military beasts as we were leaving our site.
Our second site is a commercial real estate shoot just west of the San Carlos Airport in Belmont. The client requested close up and wide obliques from three altitudes and a tip over vertical. The three altitude requests are normal shot at 1500′, 2500′ and 3500′ (depending on airspace restrictions and other factors). I was in the back shooting so I can’t tell you our exact altitudes. A tip over vertical is basically just a straight down vertical image shot by hand instead of from our belly camera. We can usually get a shoot like this done in 3-4 orbits around the site.
From here we headed to our third site in San Francisco. Another commercial real estate shoot.
This shoot was pretty basic, two sites sitting catty-corner to each other. The client requested close ups of each building separately and the wides would capture both buildings at the same time. This shoot should have been simple, but unfortunately so many buildings in this area looked alike! It took me a few extra moments to find the correct site and get to shooting. Once we were finished here, we headed to downtown to capture a few fun ‘Window Seat’ photos. Like this one. 👇
From San Francisco we headed across the bay to our fourth site of the day in Berkeley.
We’ve been capturing images of this MCR Trust construction project for a number of years now and I’ve enjoyed seeing it grow. One of the coolest things about this site is that it is being built on and around existing buildings. It’s incredible to see how they’ve been able to protect some of the historic storefronts on the block. This site is shot at one altitude and takes one to two orbits. I shoot mostly close ups of areas of interest.
Our next site is another MCR project in Oakland, near Lake Merced. This site has also been a fun one to watch grow. Like our previous site, this one is also mostly close ups on areas of interest.
On to our last site of the day….
Site 6, A construction site on the northeast side of San Jose. This site has been growing FAST over the last few months and it’s crazy how much progress they’ve made in the short time we’ve been shooting it. For this shoot we do a tip over vertical, and one to two orbits, getting close up and full site images.
Once we finished up here we were finally ready to head home. We turned and headed toward E16, landed, and put the plane to bed. Next stop was home where I dove into post production before sending the completed photographs to our clients. It was definitely a full day of work but it’s so nice to get it all done and off our minds…until next month that is.
Tune in next week to find out what’s new at The 111th Aerial Photography!