Aerial Camera Blimp System
An aerial camera blimp made systematic low-level stereo aerial photography possible at Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite. The 20-foot-long, helium-filled blimp is capable of lifting a 35mm camera to 250 feet above the ground. Photographs were taken using a Pentax medium format camera with a 4.5cm by 6.0cm negative size.
The view from a 1-ounce black & white video camera mounted on the still camera is viewed from below on a 4-inch monitor. Pan and tilt motors on the blimp camera mount are controlled electronically by the operator on the ground. A swivel mount lets the camera hang plumb to offer a degree of self-leveling. Flight heights are determined beforehand and marked on the tether/control cable.
The camera blimp is designed for a single operator, but a second line helps control the blimp in windy conditions. The camera is set on auto exposure and the focus is preset. Since the blimp is always moving in the breeze, fast shutter speeds are needed. Although the camera blimp is mainly used for low-altitude oblique photography, it can also be used for vertical photography of areas.
A radio-controlled (RC) airplane took to the Wyoming skies to photograph the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite.
Using a radio-controlled plane is a new approach to mapping track sites. The photographs were taken from about 80 feet off the ground.
3-Dimensional imaging views of the dinosaur tracks.
Color bands indicate a two millimeter elevation change.