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Drones: The Gateway to Aerial Photography
Transcript of Drones: The Gateway to Aerial Photography
Drones Are Photographers' New Best Friend
Most popular drones today are made in China, thus quality tends to suffer. This innovation is so new to the private sector that the technology is still not polished, and many drones malfunction and even fly away at random!
It's Not All Fun and Games
There has been a scramble in Washington DC to regulate this surging industry. Drones were banned entirely from commercial use by the FAA up until very recently (last week). There is a great deal of grey area surrounding current regulations involving personal profit and use.
Drones use GPS coordinates set by satellites to lock in place (GPS Stabilization).
If you lose sight of your drone, it will use the GPS coordinate to "return home". This will also happen if your controller dies.
The GPS plotting application above allows you to program courses for your drone to fly through. These plotted coordinates could then be used in a GIS environment with the drone's collected data!
The Incredible World of FPV
First person view is the ability to fly with visuals on a screen or through wearing goggles.
FPV set up allows you to have an eagle eye view which proves invaluable for photographers.
Here's a list of "safety guidelines" for the hobbyist established by Congress:
These are Dangerous Devices
It would not be hard to cause an accident, fly into someone and injure them, damage private/government property or otherwise.
Extreme caution is advised as fly away drones are not unheard of and maneuvering a drone can often become difficult the second there's wind, or you've turned your drone around.
As one would expect, a quadcopter flying vehicle (NOT a toy) will do some damage to your wallet.
Drones aren't usually preassembled with all the bells and whistles, and parts can be expensive.
Drone cost ranges in price from $700-5 thousand dollars for the decent "rigs".
First Person View can range from $300-2000 set up.
Compact, high performance cameras such as GoPros sell for around $400.
Camera stabilizing gimbals are ~ $400 as well.
Drones are the future of professional/prosumer level photography. Just think of all the different angles and altitudes that can now be achieved.
Many cutting edge technological marvels go into drones that allow for easy use, and highly rewarding photography.
Due to a synergism of different technologies drones can do now do the unthinkable.
How Can a Drone Benefit My Photography?
All Drones use radio controls to pilot, and flight controls are so simplistic children can use them. Now that doesn't mean you won't crash it!
The signal of your radio controller can reach over 2,500 feet, some flights extend further than a kilometer!
Taken by Pablo Brown
Gives you an edge by allowing freedom of mobility.
Allows for movie quality cinematography and mind blowing photography.
Opens a new frontier for high altitude shots and fresh looks at vistas.
Many side jobs that are emerging - data collection, real estate, events.
Technologies such as First Person View can allow you to see through the eyes of the drone, and set a frame.
My first drone!
Drones Gone Wild
Many professional aerial photographers have larger drones that can carry heavy equipment such as full functioning DSLR Cameras. Nat Geo flies around the Amazon with a $15,000 drone.
However, most of us don't work for Nat Geo and thus most beginners, hobbyists, and thrifty professionals will simply purchase a cheaper drone and equip it with a miniature camera. This is a good way to get started.
What are Drones?
Similar to the drone in the demonstration, drones often have quad-propellers, lithium powered batteries, and a camera incorporated setup. They typically can fly for around 20 minutes, use radio frequencies for controlling different functions, and can fly 1,000 meters in any one direction.
Follow community-based safety guidelines, as developed by organizations such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).
Fly no higher than 400 feet and remain below any surrounding obstacles when possible.
Keep your sUAS in eyesight at all times, and use an observer to assist if needed.
Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations, and you must see and avoid other aircraft and obstacles at all times.
Do not intentionally fly over unprotected persons or moving vehicles, and remain at least 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property.
Contact the airport or control tower before flying within five miles of an airport.
Do not fly in adverse weather conditions such as in high winds or reduced visibility.
Do not fly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Ensure the operating environment is safe and that the operator is competent and proficient in the operation of the sUAS.
Do not fly near or over sensitive infrastructure or property such as power stations, water treatment facilities, correctional facilities, heavily traveled roadways, government facilities, etc.
Check and follow all local laws and ordinances before flying over private property.
I've done many interesting jobs with my drone which include:
Creating a picture inventory of MCV campus buildings
Monitoring a canopy nesting zone for bird species
Collecting unique sculpture art atop a tower in Richmond
Capturing aerial video of a sporting event
Inspecting my parents' gutters for cloggage
Capturing aerial shots of real estate
Question and Answer Portion
Once the investment is made, everything is set up properly, you learn to operate your drone effectively, and you follow the safety guidelines the rewards can be very fruitful.