The ‘Flying High’ project – a spot landing by Sihl and photographer Ralf Spoerer

‘If my customers get a twinge of vertigo when they look at the image, then we’ve done our job!’

6. September 2016
Photography is taking off. First came the action cameras, and now the drones are conquering new worlds of images. So it’s about time aerial photographs were put to paper in breathtaking detail ...

‘My customers want to recognise all the kinds of things that can only be seen from these unusual perspectives. The images are meant to arouse curiosity and amaze the viewer’, says Ralf Spoerer, the photographer from Wedel. But not only is Spoerer a photographer; you could also call him a pilot of sorts. In the past, aerial photography meant professionals had to pay for expensive helicopters or light aircraft fitted with large, expensive camera equipment. But now, small drones are taking off on individual photo flights with manageable costs and uncomplicated technology.

A project partner with its feet firmly on the ground

If he was to achieve a truly fascinating impact with his photos, Ralf Spoerer needed a partner on his side – and a completely convincing print media solution that was capable of impressing even on the first test shots. ‘If my customers feel a twinge of vertigo when they look at the aerial photograph, I’ve done my job’, says Spoerer, getting to the heart of the demands on his work. ‘I also want to be able to produce the images myself on my Epson Surecolor P600. In discussions with Sihl I stressed that I need something that can pass through many hands without losing its lustre.’ Joint consultations then led to the decision to use the MASTERCLASS Lustre Photo Paper 300. Another decisive factor was that the high quality should be consistent throughout the entire imaging process. ‘We mainly use cameras with 24 or 36-megapixel sensors and for videoing we use 4K devices’, says Spoerer. ‘All edits are done using Lightroom or Photoshop, mostly from the raw files. The correct colour profile also helps when printing, as it ensures perfect prints are just a click away.’ The issue of quick, professional execution was thus another decisive factor in Sihl’s recommendation. Although Ralf Spoerer himself comes from the print sector, his real passion is shooting photography from dizzying heights.

  • The low-down: Masterclass under the spotlight

    The following are essential for producing detailed images in print presentations:

    • Impressive appearance, quality and feel
    • Robustness and resistance to fingerprints
    • Perfect grey balance value
    • Extremely wide colour gamut
    • High maximum ink density
    • Very good depiction of detail in shaded areas
    • Excellent highlight definition with harmonious tone gradation
    • Efficient, speedy printing

    The Sihl-Team recommended Masterclass for the ‘Flying High’ project with Ralf Spoerer because this product satisfies all of these requirements.

Ready to fly!

Ralf Spoerer is excited about the RTF concept (ready to fly). ‘It means I can now control four small drones and two large Hexa-copters straight from the box.’ High-power lithium-polymer batteries allow for flight times of around 15 minutes and with the help of an integrated GPS system they can be controlled right down to the exact position. The drones are fitted with a so-called Gimbal, which balances the movements on the drone thanks to control commands and thermal currents: the camera is steady at all times, so it cannot shake or produce unfocussed pictures.
Photographs shot by the camera are then sent by radio directly to the pilot’s screen. ‘This allows me to measure the exact perspective, distance and cut’, explains Spoerer. Aerial photography is demanding and requires the appropriate equipment and know-how. For this reason, not only is Ralf Spoerer a professional aerial photographer but he also passes on his knowledge to others in his ‘Drone College’ workshops.