Air Photos of Lake Superior Ice

This page contains links to a subset of scanned low altitude oblique air photos (35 mm slides) of Lake Superior ice from February-April, 1997. The photos were acquired in aerial reconnaissance flights simultaneous with RADARSAT satellite overpass and SAR image acquistion. They constitute a 'ground truth' data set for the radar imagery.

There is a tremendous number and variety of ice features in these photos. Most were taken from altitudes of 600-1400 m above the lake (some as high as 3000 m (Flight 7)). Photos were taken with hand-held 35 mm SLR cameras using standard slide films. The photographer leaned out the window of the four seater Cessna Blackhawk, with the plane rolling between 30 and 45 degrees to facilitate nadir shots; the navigator recorded various film and location parameters for each photo. Providing a scale for each image is difficult due to variability in camera look angle, but some general guidelines are possible. Depending on the camera look angle (close to nadir versus oblique off-nadir), horizontal dimensions typically run from approximately 500-2000 m across the scene.

Drew Pilant ( is the principal investigator for this project. Neil Harri was the pilot for all the flights. Mike Bohn ( perfomed most of the aerial photography. Ashok Agarwal ( organized and navigated the reconaissance flights.