User:Tysto/aerial

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I have begun a kind of personal project documenting cities and towns from the air during my regular travels. I'm using this page to keep track of them as I upload them, categorize them, and link to them from Wikipedia articles.

I only fly over US cities, and mostly Indiana right now. But I would encourage anyone to take aerial photos of any cities listed in Wikipedia. My view is that having any photos of towns and cities improves the articles, with ground photos of landmarks being best (see my home town of Bremen, Indiana) but I can take pictures of dozens of cities from the air that I'll never actually visit.

Please leave a message on my talk page if you have an opinion about whether this project is valuable or a waste of time, given that good satellite photos are readily available, especially for the US. Ironically, Google Maps added detailed coverage of all of Indiana in June 2005, making my task of identifying the cities much easier... and less valuable.

Indiana counties[edit]

Blackford County, Indiana[edit]

Dearborn County, Indiana[edit]

Decatur County, Indiana[edit]

Delaware County, Indiana[edit]

Elkhart County, Indiana[edit]

Fayette County, Indiana[edit]

Franklin County, Indiana[edit]

Fulton County, Indiana[edit]

Hancock County, Indiana[edit]

Grant County, Indiana[edit]

Henry County, Indiana[edit]

Huntington County, Indiana[edit]

Kosciusko County, Indiana[edit]

Madison County, Indiana[edit]

Marion County, Indiana[edit]

Marshall County, Indiana[edit]

Ohio County, Indiana[edit]

Randolph County, Indiana[edit]

Rush County, Indiana[edit]

Shelby County, Indiana[edit]

St. Joe County, Indiana[edit]

Union County, Indiana[edit]

Wabash County, Indiana[edit]

Wayne County, Indiana[edit]

Kentucky counties[edit]

Boone County, Kentucky[edit]

Michigan counties[edit]

Monroe County, Michigan[edit]

Ohio counties[edit]

Butler County, Ohio[edit]

Columbiana County, Ohio[edit]

Erie County, Ohio[edit]

Hamilton County, Ohio[edit]

Ottawa County, Ohio[edit]

How they're done[edit]

Light haze allows for excellent post-processing results. This is the original image of Lakeville-indiana-form-above.jpg.

I take photographs from the window of commercial airplanes I fly on each week in my business travels. Because I fly out of little South Bend Regional Airport in South Bend, these are mostly CRJs, which typically fly at about 25,000 feet, somewhat lower than than the jumbos. I try to take frequent photos of both towns and lakes along the route to help me identify the locations (lakes are much easier to recognize on satellite photos). I use Google Maps and Terraserver to do the indentification.

Heavy haze robs the image of color. This is the original of Matthews-indiana-from-above.jpg.

When the weather is clear in daylight, you can see the ground even at 25,000 feet, altho pictures taken from there have a strong blue haze over them. Results are best when shooting down almost under the plane; worst when shooting out toward the horizon, since the haze gets heavier toward the top of the picture instead of remaining even.

I take 5 megapixel digital photos and transfer them to my laptop for processing. I use Corel Paint Shop Pro (mostly because I've been using various versions for about 15 years), but Adobe Photoshop Elements is also a good choice (if you don't want to fork over the cabbage for Adobe Photoshop). Generally, I start by using the One Step Photo Fix, which automatically adjusts color, contrast, clarity, saturation, and some other settings to improve your photo. Then I manually adjust those same settings to further improve the image, trying to draw out natural color and contrast without burning the darker parts or oversaturating. It takes some trial-and-error, and it sometimes helps to create multiple adjustment layers so you can tweak adjustments separately rather than sequentially.

Getting even moderately comfortable adjusting these settings will help you improve all your photos, even everyday pictures of friends and family that seem fine when you initially shot them. You'll soon find that you prefer a bit more contrast or saturation than your camera produces naturally, and you'll discover that photography is as much about making great photos as it is about taking great photos.

Leave a message on my Talk page or e-mail me at 'derek...tysto.dot.com' if you have questions or if you would like help processing photos you have taken from the air.