Drones have brought about an unfathomable revolution in photography over the last couple of years or so. They give you the amazing power to capture common targets with the help of flying cameras from perspectives nobody would have ever imagined. These days there has been a substantial decline in the costs associated with using cameras that can be sent whizzing into the air. If you decide to buy a drone to carry out sensational drone photography, we believe that you will definitely end up having a good future. In addition to capturing some mind-blowing photographs, you will also enjoy a brilliant flying experience.
As is the case with technology in every sphere of life, the market has been bombarded with a diverse range of drones or UAVs. Just as the amount of investment directly correlates with the quality of the camera equipment, the amount of money an individual is willing to invest determines the standard of the integrated camera into the drone as well as its flight capabilities. You will come across cheap drone models that can capture quite basic images as well as the more sophisticated machines that are capable of elevating your top notch DSLR cameras into the air. If you have some camera paraphernalia with you, you can mount a GoPro action camera for drone photography. DJI are the entrenched market leaders that excel in producing top quality consumer and commercial drones of the highest pedigree. The Phantom series drones produced by DJI are the best consumer drones produced so far. As a matter of fact, the DJI Phantom 3 Standard, Advanced and Professional versions are the most sought after devices among drone enthusiasts around the world.
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Let’s get going
The intuitiveness and ease with which pilots can manoeuvre drones these days is being reckoned as their standout feature. Most of the machines are being sold in Ready to Fly configurations. You just have to unpack your device, get your battery charged, install the associated Android or iOS app on your smartphone, launch the drone and off you go!
Having said that, pilots need to be really careful during their flying adventures to make sure that they keep their drone safe as well as the onlookers from any harm. The users can nowadays set up a few restrictions on their smartphone apps and we strongly advise you adopt this practice. You can quite easily restrict the maximum altitude that the drone can achieve and also the optimum distance the drone can cover; all through your Android or iOS app.
It is always going to be prudent to start your flying off in large, open spaces. A local park or a playground in the neighborhood could be a pretty decent option. Try and get yourself acquainted with the controls before you even think of ramping up the speed and start whizzing through the air. Be cognizant of your surroundings and ensure the safety of the onlookers. Most of the modern day cameras boast a wide angle lens (almost equivalent to 20mm), so you can quite comfortably lose track of your actual location and end up crashing into trees and buildings. This could especially be the case if you are using your handheld mobile device for the First Person View.
Rules and regulations with regard to drones
Most of the countries have formulated rules and regulations in a bid to control and regulate the flight and ownership of drones. They may vary from place to place, however, they are generally along the lines given below:
- A pilot should be able to keep an eye at the drone during flight
- A drone should not reach an altitude more than 133 meters
- A pilot should make sure not to fly a drone over a group of people
- Drones should not infringe on the privacy of individuals
- In accordance with the law of the land, drones should not be flown near airports and other sensitive installments and establishments
You should definitely get in contact with your local authorities to get information about rules that regulate drone flights in your neighborhood.
Just a few days back, I happened to fly my drone over our local railway station in an attempt to capture a stunning photograph of the sunset. It was round about the time when lights were switched on every evening that enlighten the tower located in this ancient building. As I was enjoying my flight, I caught sight of a couple of policemen making their way to me. My immediate reaction in such a situation is typically to get an idea of what the policemen have to say about my drone flying and to bring my device down without wasting any moment. It is a matter of real concern that drones have received a lot of criticism in the press. This assault has become more severe ever since a drone landed in the front lawn of the White House in Washington in 2015. Fortunately for me, the two policemen were more interested in flying the drone. I showed them on my smartphone screen the real time video feed and explained them how to fly a drone. Moreover, I told that I was exercising extreme caution while flying my drone and was making sure that I did not fly the machine over a group of people. They appeared satisfied and left the scene content.
You should ensure that you fly a drone with a positive frame of mind. And when you fly a drone in a nearby park or a playground in the neighborhood, be prepared to see hoards of people and onlookers goggling at you, really astonished, as if you were performing an immensely novel act.
Another interesting fact about drone photography is that it is likely to become a tremendous pathway for entrepreneurs to earning big bucks. The rules in this regard vary from one country to another. So, one should ensure that he/she possesses the requisite registrations and licenses to carry out paid work using drones.
The modern day unmanned aerial vehicles are equipped with state of the art cutting edge technology that has the ability to bring about a paradigm shift in the field of drone photography.
- The pilots can connect their handheld mobile devices with their radio controllers and get to view live video feeds transmitted from the drone via the First Person View feature. This is a tremendous characteristic that allows dronies to pursue impressive composite modifications.
- A diverse array of camera controls are provided in drones these days including automated or full-fledged manual control, RAW capturing, time lapse etc.
- The modern day drones are incorporated with a remarkable ability to hover seamlessly over a single spot with ultimate steadiness; as if they were air borne tripod stands mounted with the camera. A pilot does not have to worry about controlling the machine and the device automatically hovers over the same spot for as long as you want.
- Failsafe flight features are another set of fabulous characteristics that make modern day drones better than ever. These machines are capable of providing flight durations of a whopping 20 minutes. Once the battery starts running out of juice, the device automatically detects the scenario and triggers the Return to Home mode; thereby ensuring that the drone returns to the base and lands safely. Generally, when a drone flies at the backside of buildings and trees, there is a likelihood that the lightbridge connection between the drone and radio controller might break down. Even in such a case, the Return to Home mode is switched on. Similarly, when your device gets too far away from your line of sight, you can switch on the Return to Home mode so that the machine returns back to you and does not get lost.
As you begin your flying sojourn, it is always a great experience to get back home, get your images transferred to your viewing device and simply enjoy incredible scenes that you captured. During my initial days of flying my drone, my whole experience was just exquisite. However, soon enough I came to realize that drone photography is no more different from normal photography in terms of light. So, I started planning my flights in accordance with the outdoor lighting and weather conditions. And this is really what has become the strong side of my drone photography.
As a photographer who takes a fancy to capturing landscapes, I always take care of the weather conditions and keep an eye at the weather forecasts and predictions. Moreover, drone pilots will also have to be careful about the wind conditions. You do not fly your drones generally in strong and gusty conditions. However, if you are confronted with a dilemma where on one hand you’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime scenery begging to be photographed and on the other hand, harsh weather conditions, you might take the odd risk. But more often than not, dronies are always on the lookout for serene and calm weather conditions with plenty of daylight.
Currently, the cameras integrated into the modern day drones do not match in ability, quality and features to the cameras that are used to capture images on the ground. Having said that, the image quality captured with the help of drone cameras is not at all disappointing to say the least. The highest camera quality that one can get with drone cameras is 12 megapixels but the fact that they let you shoot images in RAW format, lets you carry out plenty of editing once the photograph has been taken. If your drone adventures have been performed in broad daylight, the quality of JPEG images is also quite good.
Moreover, even if the lighting is poor and considering the miniscule size of the drone camera unit, the photographs are of decent quality. What’s so exciting about drone photography is that a picture taken from an altitude of 300 feet looks quite amazing. Panorama shots, similar to the ones captured below the surface of water, can also be shot with drone technology. This is another one of the tremendous benefits that one can get with drone photography. A timelapse from a height of 300 feet can also be quite rewarding. I have got my photographs printed to about A3 size (12 x 16 inches) and you would be astounded to learn that they were all captured with a 12 megapixel drone camera.
Another important point to discuss here is the most of the modern day drones are able to capture videos at Ultra High Definition (4K) ensuring sensational aerial drone videography. As a matter of fact, at a resolution of 4K, it is also possible to take a top quality frame out of the video for use in some other project.
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Views that thrill
What really makes capturing landscapes astonishing from the top is the brilliant patterns that one gets to view from such a height. With the help of drones, you can get into regions that cannot be accessed by helicopters and other aircrafts, that is, below an altitude of 300 feet. With the help of Google Maps, you can locate excellent locations that will let you grab wonderful landscape images. Even if you put your camera at the wrong end of a 10 feet long pole (which I by the way did try), it won’t be able to give you the output, drones could promise you.
As a professional photography who is an expert in landscape photography, I highly recommend drone photography to add that extra flavor to your portfolio. Your viewers will certainly like what they see and they will enjoy your perspectives in letter and spirit. If this entire exercise, ever gets boring and monotonous, you can even herd your flock of sheep with your drone. Hey, I’m serious about it and it’s been done before.
A diverse range of photography methodologies are being used by photographers around the world to capture sensational images with the help of drones. Ranging from single shots to producing multiple shots photomosaics for high resolution panoramic images, possibilities are absolutely endless.
20 stunning drone photographs
Were you ever skeptical that images shot with the help of drone cameras from high altitudes were amazing? Well, these wonderful images should allay all your suspicions and fears, my friends! Dronestagram, an online community for drone users, recently revealed the most stunning examples of drone photography for the year 2016.
The Dronestagram experts claim that they chose the most enthralling photographs for 2016 based on the different eye-catching aspects of drone photography namely sports, agriculture, tourism, adventure, wildlife, landscape, culture, social life, people and much more.
Landscapes rule the roost
According to Dronestagram managing director, Guillaume Jarret, landscapes are where drone photography excels over all forms of photography. Which image became the most popular last year? A magnificent image of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Italy’s Umbria region, just as it emerges out of the mist.
In fact, this image also grabbed the top prize in the 2016 International Drone Photography Contest that was organized by Dronestagram in collaboration with National Geographic.
The image that got wildly viral on Dronestagram is the phenomenal eagle of Bali that dates back to 2015 that was able to garner about 150,000 views and they are still increasing.
According to Dronestagram’s founder, the web platform is still receiving more and more photographs of people. He believes that people seem to be enjoying capturing their memorable moments with friends and family with the help of drone cameras.
Drone wedding photography
It appears that people seem to be really enjoying capturing their life-changing events from high altitudes.
Jarret is of the view that drone wedding photography is rampant in California and Israel. Among the 20 stunning photographs featured on Dronestagram, there is a photograph of a couple lying casually in the midst of palm trees.
In April 2016, Dronestagram initiated a unique online marketplace named as MariageParDrone (Wedding by Drone) which endeavors to connect brides and grooms with dronies.
Typically, the quality of drone imagery is improving by every passing second.
The managing director of Dronestagram, Jarret, however, believes firmly in quality rather than quantity. He opines that the photographs taken with drones vary from those captured with ground level cameras or handheld mobile devices. He claims that while the number of images taken with drone cameras are only a few, they certainly have their distinctive edge in contrast to the photographs taken with normal cameras.