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Old 01-10-2006, 05:03   #1
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What About This Idea?

My wife and I have both been amateur photographers for many years. (Hasnt everybody?) But we've put a few bucks into the hobby. Have a number of cameras, including underwater housing etc. Last year I put together a system with a radio controlled pan and tilt, video downlink, zoom, shutter etc. The whole package fits under a helium balloon.
Since the system would easily fit on a boat, I was thinking of taking it cruising and I was wondering if other boaters would be interested in aerial photos of their boats when they pull into scenic locations? I already know local waterside businesses are interested, because thats why I got the blimp setup in the first place.

What do you think? Would anyone want boat photos from the air if it was immediate? Could hand you a print and photos on CD within an hour. Can photoshop the colors, boat name, erase that bikini bimbo who bummed a ride...clean up clutter, erase love handles and bald spots etc. LOL

these pics were just me messing around from the beach one day here where I live. Are there a lot of people doing this to pick up pocket change and beer money? I could put the system on my dink and photo every boat in an anchorage in an hour or so..sunrise, sunset, whatever. Photos looking straight down on a reef in clear water are pretty neat, too.
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Old 01-10-2006, 05:17   #2
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Yes, there's a market for your near-instant custom photo's.
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Old 01-10-2006, 06:15   #3
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I would certainly think so. And not just for scenic, but from a maintaince standpoint as well to check on the masthead.
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Old 01-10-2006, 06:26   #4
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thats a thought. It wouldnt be all that difficult to put balloon say, upwind or alongside and above the masthead. Especially if I anchor the dink.
Can zoom in easily enough, and I am getting live video feed from the camera on the ground station, so its no problem, generally, to get the shot you want.
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Old 01-10-2006, 07:06   #5
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It wouldnt be the same as climbing up there and wiggling stuff with your fingers, but it would show corrosion, missing hardware, etc.
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Old 01-10-2006, 10:22   #6
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And not as much fun, but since I sometimes do real estate brochures for upscale properties as part of my document business, I have considered it and thought realtors would be interested in it. However, the price tag for the commercially available aerial cameras is much too high for my small business. Might even be some realtors in T&C who would be interested.

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Old 01-10-2006, 10:39   #7
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I've got a Sony DSC-V3 at 7.2 megapixels with a 4x optical zoom, Zeiss optics, that does a pretty good job. It's fine from a stable platform ( no vibration) for good prints up to about 11x14 or better. 8x10 is really good.

I considered RC helicopters, but started with the blimp approach because i dont like the idea of having 10K worth of stuff hovering over salt water. Logistics on the RC helicopters is tough. The helium approach is limited by wind velocity. but when its good, its really good.
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:14   #8
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Canibul - I think it is an excellent idea and a hell of an opportunity to make a few bucks while enjoying yourself. I think the trick will be pricing. I would think that some of those pictures of someone's boat at anchor would be priceless - Photoshoping them is probably minimal - and depending on the number of shots they wanted - could probably fit on just a floppy. Although, anymore, I think the RO CDs are just as inexpensive and, of course, more durable.

good luck on that - I think you've found a winner!
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Old 01-10-2006, 11:27   #9
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Rick (with appologies to Canibul) - my hamster and I are NOT amused.
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Old 01-10-2006, 12:48   #10
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I did tons of RC airplane ("plank") building and flying. So that part of it was old hat.

My wife is the professional computer expert in the family, and I am sure that if its a current, supportable format, she knows all about it. So far, she's taken most of the photos with the balloon rig, since I am usually messing with the trim, tether, positioning the boat, etc. I keep it going, electrically, too. We're a team.

The camera has a 1 gb CF in it now, it holds a LOT of the 7 meg. pix in jpeg format. Most of them can be cropped a bit.

Our AP rig is set up to weigh just under a kg. As new cameras come out ( and there are a bunch) with light weight, higher resolution, better optics, and a LANC port for camera control, I can upgrade.
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Old 01-10-2006, 13:55   #11
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I only have four of the 1Gbyte USB drives - but I still have CDs AND floppies (3.5" not the "real" floppy disks). There is an idea though, to go with the pictures - perhaps the people who want the photographs would supply the media that they would like it on. Or, for a slight additional charge ... Not ALL cruising folk have the latest and greatest in computers and peripherals - and many may have preferences that might differ from yours and mine.
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Old 01-10-2006, 14:23   #12
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Interesting idea. I've got to wonder and play devil's advocate though:

Rich folk will say, you're papparazzi intruding on them and try to shoot you down, then sue you. (Easier to sell the rig to real papparazzi.<G>)

Plain boaters won't pay you enough to pay for the continual need for helium.

And local harbar patrols and small Caribbean countries will try to throw you in jail for espionage in this crazy jihadi world. (Apparently there's even one island nation down there where it is illegal for anyone--including children--to wear camo clothing, which is a fad elsewhere these days. Go figure!)

Nice toy though, I'd be tickled pink to see if you COULD make a buck on it. Or rather, a buck more than helium refills cost. Got any pictures of the blimp itself to share?
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Old 01-10-2006, 17:00   #13
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I would think that it would be an approach and ask then do situation, rather than float it about and see if anyone wanted pictures. Otherwise, no telling what you might photograph!
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Old 01-10-2006, 17:08   #14
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And Hello? Rick has more than enough devil for this forum.
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Old 15-01-2008, 21:48   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Elusive View Post
I only have four of the 1Gbyte USB drives - but I still have CDs AND floppies (3.5" not the "real" floppy disks). There is an idea though, to go with the pictures - perhaps the people who want the photographs would supply the media that they would like it on. Or, for a slight additional charge ... Not ALL cruising folk have the latest and greatest in computers and peripherals - and many may have preferences that might differ from yours and mine.
Canibul,
I don't know if your aware of a company that is in the business of taking photos by helocopter called "boatpix". They have been making a living by taking pix on major events (like sail rallies and photos of yachts underway)
So there is a market for that too. Good luck.

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