Amazing birdseye photos taken by pigeons a century ago

In 1907, pharmacist and photography buff Dr. Julius Neubronner invented the "pigeon camera." Neubronner attached his cameras, with a built-in shutter timer, to his own homing pigeons and let them fly. For most people, the birds' photos provided a previously unseen view on the world. The images are collected in a new book, The Pigeon Photographer. From the New Yorker:

(Neubronner) showed his camera at international expositions, where he also sold postcards taken by the birds. Additionally, he developed a portable, horse-drawn dovecote, with a darkroom attached to it, which could be moved into proximity of whatever object or area the photographer hoped to capture from on high. These inventions represented a breakthrough at the time, allowing for surveillance with speed and range that was previously impossible. (Whether the cameras would actually capture the desired object, however, depended on luck and the whims of the pigeons.) The technology would soon be adapted for use in wartime—the cameras served as very early precursors to drones—although by the time of the First World War, just a few years later, airplanes were allowing people to do things that only pigeons could have done before.

(Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)

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Bernhard Lang's gorgeous aerial shots of marble quarries

Carrara marble is one of the most sought-after types, and these remarkable images by Bernhard Lang show how enormous some of the quarries are. Read the rest

What happens legally if you shoot someone's drone out of the sky?

Probably not much, as Brad Jones learned over Easter when a neighbor allegedly blasted his DJI Phantom. Even if his prime suspect confessed, there's not much precedent for prosecutions. Read the rest

SkyPixel announces aerial photo contest winners

Drones have really upped the aerial photo game, so SkyPiixel's winners for their annual contest include some really remarkable shots, like the caravan above. Read the rest

Birdie: a GoPro parachute case for aerial photography

The Birdie is a case for GoPro cameras that resembles a badminton shuttlecock and enables you to toss your camera into the air for aerial photography. (I presume you could drop it as well, but I'd imagine any real altitude would risk catastrophic failure.) The Birdie also floats.

Birdie (Amazon)

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What's in a square mile? Instagram account of aerial photos

The Jefferson Grid is a deeply compelling Instagram stream of aerial images depicting "everything that fits in a square mile." The name refers to Thomas Jefferson's efforts around a Public Land Survey System to divide US property along a grid structure. Read the rest

Video: Spectacular aerial views of Los Angeles via drone

Ian Wood created this aerial exploration of Los Angeles, capturing the feel of a day in the city. Perfectly accompanied by Boo Boo Davis. Read the rest

Want to fly a drone at Burning Man this year? Better read this first.

Camera-equipped drones, like the one that shot the video above, are a wonderful tool for photography at the annual Burning Man festival. But "if you're planning on flying a drone at Burning Man this year," says BB pal Eddie Codel, "You'll need to register and follow a ton of new rules." Read the rest