Drones are currently all the rage. They give us unique access to imagery we could never have captured without vast expense only a few years ago. Hiring a helicopter or even a work platform isn’t cheap; never mind permissions and licenses to do it!
I’ve never used a drone but luckily I know a man who’s been flying drones commercially for many years, my Asia workshops Partner Simon Taplin, who kindly offered to give me a crash course flying lesson and introduce me to what’s involved.
In this instance we’re flying a DJI drone costing around £900 to £1200 when you include a monitor and other specs. In this video we’re using a small sports action camera, which shoots both video and stills at the same time.
When flying a drone you don’t need a license at the time of making this film, unless you’re doing it commercially when you need a license from the Civil Aviation Authority.
On the surface of it flying a drone is very simple however you do need to get used to the subtleties of the controls, as I found out. Also use some common sense about where you fly one when you’re learning. The last thing you want is to crash and damage your investment, but also think of the potential for injuring someone else. Imagine driving your car and suddenly a drone is coming at you at eye level!!
It’s all too easy to get carried away with the excitement of a new toy too. Being the big kid that I am I was so excited to fly a drone, I completely forgot to ask Simon how to stop it! Luckily we were somewhere it didn’t matter - and the little DJI drone is remarkably tough!
This was my very first attempt at flying a drone. We didn’t do any training before we began filming because we wanted to show you what happened for real. But only 30 minutes later I was up and running and we got our ariel shot of a one handed clock tower.
For me it just goes to prove it’s not kit that takes photos it’s photographer’s use of that kit whether it’s a drone or a DSLR. To master anything we have to keep doing it repeatedly and use our Brilliant Brains to think our way through. That’s why I created the 7 Building Blocks of Photography!