As a result of the COVID-19 quarantine I took part in a global photography contest (Shoot and Share 2020). There was more free time to explore my passion and the contest occurred during a time that I was re-evaluating many of my images. The contest comprises submissions by many photographers from all over the world in several categories, and it's all voted on by other photographers. So a significant amount of time was spent "voting" on other photogs' images, and during this process I was crazy- inspired by the photography of others. Some of the most inspiring images to me were those taken by drones. Arial photography blew me away. In the past I have mainly thought of droning as simply flying and viewing the world from above. Often only video is used, and I had no idea the images produced by drones could be so sharp and gorgeous.
Drones have come a long way in the last few years, and now one can buy a consumer level drone that has a camera with quality that rivals higher end DSLRS. I imagined all the sidewalk chalk rainbows and calm empty streets I could capture. But how could I possibly fly a drone? A flying camera just scares the heck out of me (I leave my cameras on the floor so they won't fall off anything, and I may or may not have strapped one camera bag in with the seat belt before). But soon enough I was searching up various models, watching YouTube videos, chatting with other photographers and envisioning everything from above. After months of consideration my new Mavic Air 2 arrived (magically ;) ) and it was time to get started on learning how to fly.
This drone was unbelievable easy to learn. I am still working on smooth movements and video in general, but the camera work is all I expected. However, droning can be complicated. There are many places you can't fly. You need to complete an FAA certification to use it for commercial purposes, and there is a lot more air traffic out there than I ever noticed before. It takes quite a bit of planning and consideration for others- basically can't fly over crowds of people and it really helps to have another person around to help you keep an eye on the environment. So taking pictures from above can prove to be somewhat of a challenge in general.
I have a hard time being satisfied with images that have no people in them so I had to get creative. Its important to look for patterns, contrast, and the abstract. Sometimes people have a hard time figuring out what they are looking at with drone images at first because ordinary things look miniature. I usually do people photography when the light is low on the horizon, but drone images are most clear when they are taken at midday (especially with water). If a person is in the image, they need to be somewhat prone and have a clear purpose for being that way or it looks awkward. Laying on the beach seems normal, but laying in a parking lot doesn't. Shadows often define an object rather than the object itself.
I am looking forward to sharing this journey here. Please stay tuned!
"Coke Bottle Green" - Panama City Beach, FL. 9/9/2020