I bought a DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2 drone a few months ago and have been loving every minute of it. It gives me a whole new viewpoint and range of things to photograph. Being limited in my travels due to family commitments, I get to experience the familiar places I have captured many times before in completely different ways from ‘up there’! Sometimes I’m not quite sure exactly what I’ve captured due to glare on the screen of the remote controller and then I get home and am blown away with what has been revealed. I’m sure I will get less enthralled with it as the novelty wears off but for the moment… it excites me. Along with the buzz of the new views, their is also the adrenalin rush of having that quite expensive piece of equipment flying in the air at the mercy of sometimes dodgy software, high winds, impending rain and short lived battery power and my failing eye sight. I’m pretty sure it has been windier and wetter than ever before simply because I bought a drone and want to be out there at every opportunity flying it! They’re not keen on high wind and hate rain!
I like to do aerial shots of all sorts with mine, but do mostly beaches, the coastline and sea etc and I have recently discovered salt lakes. I also use mine commercially to do real estate aerials alongside the ground shots of the interior and exterior of houses and done work for architects to assist their 3D modeling of a project. The applications for drones is a huge and growing industry. They are being used in mining, farming and search and rescue to name just a few. I’m happy to leave the high tech applications to those who enjoy that technical challenge and have far bigger and better equipment than I’ll ever have. I’m a lot more interested in the images than the actual equipment. Truth be known, I wish I had the money to fly and do the aerials that way with my standard DSLR cameras… but till then, my drone is lots of fun!
When I talk with people about what I do, many are curious about the rules of drones and invariably have a story to tell of an experience they’ve had with a drone in the last couple of years. Often I hear about people who’ve had drones hovering very close to them or the feeling that their privacy is being invaded when they can see and hear a drone. There are people out there who will use them for the wrong thing and do incredibly stupid things but by and large I think most operators are actually doing the right thing, it just may seem like they are not! Recently I was on a job when someone came running across the road wondering why I was filming her workplace, ‘the drone is hovering right over us’. The drone was actually at about 80 metres high and whilst the drone was hovering over that workplace, the camera was pointed at something about 100 metres away across the road. I can’t zoom in and out with the lens on my drone, so I have to move the drone to the spot that will give me the shot I need. So the location of the drone doesn’t automatically mean it is filming right underneath itself…it just seems like it might be.
The other thing to think about is how big or small you might really be in the frame depends on how high the drone is. I thought it might be of interest for people to see what size you are in the frame at different heights. Here, the drone is hovering right above me with the lens looking straight down.
Pic 1 - 3mtrs, Pic 2 - 8mtrs, Pic 3 - 20mtrs, Pic 4 - 40mtrs, Pic 5 - 60mtrs Pic 6 - 100+mtrs
So, you can see, the drone has to be very close to see much detail at all. If you are bothered by a drone in the vicinity… see if you can find the operator, have a chat and find out what they are up to. Most will let you see what they have photographed, so they can put your mind at ease. If they are flying dangerously or being a nuisance and doing the wrong thing, you can contact CASA and report them https://www.casa.gov.au/webform/report-unsafe-drone-operations.
Ensure when you do approach a drone operator that they are able to talk or wait until they can. It is unsafe practice to fly the drone and talk to people at the same time.
Legally we can only fly to 120 metres high and should be at least 30 metres away from the nearest person. With proper CASA certification, the rules can change but most people use their drones for fun and not commercially. If you are curious about the rules look here: https://www.casa.gov.au/aircraft/landing-page/flying-drones-australia
When I’m doing real estate aerials, I need to fly over other land to get the shot I need - again, my camera is pointed well away from where I actually am. I also cannot zoom into people’s homes and photograph inside the house. So please be assured your privacy is respected.
Here are some of my recent real estate shots;
Of course, I see all the places we love at ground level from up high… pretty as a postcard I think and I realise all over again, how lucky I am to live where I do!
I have much to learn yet with aerial work, and hope not to scare anyone. Personally I’m a lot more interested in the lay of the land than capturing people secretly with it. I especially love the abstractness I can find up there. Here are a couple I took at the salt lakes in Cranbrook…