Cameron Davidson


A blog by Washington DC photographer Cameron Davidson.

Posts in aerial
Nat Geo shoot in the American West

Nice and short all aerial shoot in the American West last week. Shot aerials on a very interesting place on the West Coast. Primary photographer for the story shot on the ground and I filled with images from above.


Found the pilot I wanted to work with via calls to other aerial photographer colleagues. Spend a few hours researching this person after our initial phone call. I felt comfortable flying wth them after a bit of “background” checking.


There were two flights for this assignment - O’Dark early in the morning and O’Dark later in the evening. One of the joys of the new Nikons’ is their extreme low-light capability. I feel quite comfortable shooting from the air well after dusk. Throw in super fast Nikon and or Zeiss lenses and it is a winning combo when stabilized with the Kenyon 4x4 gyroscope.


This was a quick turn-around assignment. Fly to the American West last Thursday. Pre-flight meeting with pilot. Fly two flights on Friday. Return home on Saturday that ran into Sunday due to numerous flight delays due to thunderstorms in Texas.

Helicopters, Helicopters and more helicopters

I have shot aerials for most of my career.  Starting off in the early eighties, I shot aerials from a Piper Cub for a National Geographic story, quickly switched over to helicopters and now shoot a mix of drone and helo shoots.

Helicopter list (so far) of all the ships I have flown in for aerial photography. (29 and counting)

  • AStar B350 (Ethiopia, NYC)

  • AStar B350 FX (British Columbia, Alberta)

  • AStar Twin-Star (Squirrel) (NYC, London, New Zealand)

  • Eurocopter 120 (Denmark)

  • Bell 47 (Florida, Delaware, Texas)

  • Bell Jet Ranger (USA, UK, Canada, Jamaica)

  • Bell Long Ranger (USA, Canada, UK)

  • UH-1 Iroquois (Huey) (Missouri Flood - US Army Guard)

  • Bell 47 with Soloy Turbine conversion (Florida)

  • Bell 407 (New York City, New Jersey)

  • Boeing CH-47 Chinook (Washington DC-Maryland - US Army)

  • Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight (Florida - Hurricane Andrew - US Navy)

  • Airbus MH-65 Dolphin (Missouri - Mississippi River Flood - US Coast Guard)

  • Bolkow BK-105 (Gulf of Mexico)

  • Mil Mi-8 (Wrangel Island - Russian Arctic)

  • Fairchild Hiller FH-1100 (Alabama)

  • Enstrom F-28 (Tennessee, Virginia, Texas)

  • Enstrom 280 (Tennessee, Arkansas)

  • Enstrom 480 (Chicago)

  • MD 500 C (Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Chicago, NYC)

  • MD 500 D (California)

  • MH-6 Little Bird (Chicago, Missouri)

  • Robinson R-22 (East Coast USA - no longer use for aerials)

  • R-44 (USA, Canada, UK)

  • R-66 (Virginia, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, California)

  • Rotorway Exec 90 (Arkansas - home-built helo - never again)

  • Schweitzer 300/269 (Idaho, Virginia, New Jersey, New York City)

  • Sikorsky S-76 (Gulf of Mexico)

  • UH-60 Blackhawk (Virginia)

Schweitzer 300/Hughes 269

Schweitzer 300/Hughes 269

Drones flown/owned so far:

Inspire 2 with five lenses

Inspire 1 with four lenses (sold)

Phantom P4 Pro

Phantom P3 Pro (sold)

Phantom P2 with GoPro Hero 3 (sold)

Phantom P1 with GoPro Hero 1 (Crashed in Virginia - resting in the branches of a national forest)

3DR Solo (Sold)

Archive Posts on Instagram

I've been exploring mixing up the Instagram feed with new and archive material.  This morning I dug through my libraries and came up with an image from one of my favorite aerial shoots, Christo's - The Gates in Central Park.  Shot from a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter and using a hand-made lens for Hewson Group, a NYC design firm that was a long-time client. Jane Hewson, the founder, is one of my favorite designers/clients/people and she recently moved away from NYC and is semi-retired.  We did three-flights that day.  Early morning, mid-day and a sunset/dusk flight. Since it was winter, my favorite images are from mid-day, the light is bright, clean and casting long shadows.  The hand-made lens was inspired by photographer Mark Tucker's explorations with loupes as camera lenses.  (This was before Lens Babies and tilted tilt/shift lenses were commonly used for commercial shoots) 

Of course, I shot with traditional lenses for my client.  They ended up using a combination of both as large display prints for a law firm office that overlooked Central Park.

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DanFoss Campaign

A campaign shot this spring in Texas.

Shot aerial video outside of a store plus interior stills and videos inside the store.  Flew one of my drones down the middle of an store aisle with the drone turning on the lights as it flew past the cases.  My friend Jon Roemer shot loads of B-roll for this project and his shots are also in this video. Check out the second video to see one of my drones flying inside this mega grocery store.

Client: APCO Worldwide

Creative Director: David Sanchez

Client: Danfoss


Behind the scenes footage by Creative Director David Sanchez.

Exploring fog along the New River

Set of aerials for Virginia Tourism shot a few years back.  Spent two mornings shooting the New River Valley from a Bell jet Ranger. The fog grew so heavy at times, that we set the helicopter down along the river and waited for about 45 minutes.  Wonderful day. It is interesting (to me) to revisit shoots and take a look at what I missed and how I can grade and process the images in a contemporary manner.