As artists and photographers we tend to be an opinionated lot. Some folks are pro this brand of camera and have what appears to be contempt for other brands. I think this is typical of human nature, I have noticed this type of rivalry around favorite sports teams. I think when we become passionate about something, we can not help but be opinionated as well. I’m not seeking to change any of that with a short blog post, but perhaps some perspective on why we fly drones and the occasional push back we hear from photographers and others that find flying drones somehow offensive.
First why we fly. I must admit I enjoy flying and at this point I’m over 100 flights and it’s been a long time since I had an accident. There was the time where I crashed into a tree. I was suffering from a bit of overconfidence in my flying abilities and that was a good lesson. As such I fly a bit more carefully these days. Also I recommend that people get a cheap quadcopter to learn on before spending the big bucks on a real drone. Yes I crashed a couple of times while learning.
DJI is the market leader in the drone market and their products are very easy to fly. The crafts are GPS stabilized and this makes flying much easier. The craft goes just where you send it and you don’t have to worry about the craft drifting or being pushed from moderate winds. Without the GPS, flying under these conditions would be challenging without experience. So yes there is a learning curve and like anything else the more you do the better you get as a pilot.
Back to the reason we fly (both Denise and I fly). Flying a drone gives us a vantage point that would not be available otherwise. For instance, the roof of the Waterside Woolen Mill feature above. When we were in Palouse this past summer Denise took a shot of the Miller House that is otherwise not available. The reason it is not available is because the family that farms the field the house sits on is adamant that photographers shoot from the road and not step on to the field. Her shot of the Miller house was one of the best taken during that trip in my opinion.
When I started flying I liked to shoot down on the subject, what is commonly called top down from altitudes of a 100 feet or so. Denise has a different approach, she prefers to shoot at heights that are much closer to earth, perhaps 10 of 20 feet off the ground, This can give much different perspective than you would get just shooting from a standing height. I find today that I do a combination of top down and much closer to earth. But please don’t tell her that she was a positive influence on my shooting style…
Back to people who do not share our love of drone photography. Most of the time when I’m flying, assuming there is anyone around, people are curious and generally positive. However, I also hear negative comments from time to time. I think the best way is for people who fly to do so responsibly. There are a number of rules and regulations regarding the flying of recreational drones and it makes sense to be aware of these rules and fly responsibly.