We recently invested in a DJI Phantom 4 Pro which we intend to use to extend the scope of our landscape and travel photography to include Drone Photography and video.
Drone photography is in its infancy right now, sites like Dronestagr.am providing a community and inspiration to a new generation of photographers and videographers who are taking to the skies. Some of the images are spectacular and have quite rightly won awards in international photography competitions. What is for sure is that like HDR and Panoramas before it, the genre will go through a period of intense popularity that will generate a mountain of very derivative imagery before it settles into being part of the international language of photography.
We’re very excited about the possibilities, especially having access to some of the bet landscapes in the world in Andalusia and Shropshire. Very different landscapes which can now be seen from a very different point of view!
The big challenge for photographers is learning to fly the drone competently. Its not that difficult, however flying is different to photography and its probably best approached as a different phase. That is, first fly the drone to where you want it to be, then focus on the photography. The Phantom 4 is a superbly stable platform, basically a tripod in the sky thanks to the superb gimbal provided with the aircraft. You can look up and see the drone being buffeted by wind, look down and see a rock solid picture on the monitor. Try that on dry land with a handheld DSLR and a 200mm lens and see how much difference the gimbal makes. So the idea is – fly the drone to a good vantage point, then concentrate on taking the photograph, shooting the video. Try different altitudes, line up the objects in the frame as you would a normal landscape. The same rules apply.
Try – abstracts. Shoot directly downwards and reveal the patterns you can’t see form the ground. Treelines, roads, pathways, even tractor tracks are clearly visible in cornfields. A whole new world of patterns and textures reveal themselves.
Lastly, if you haven’t invested in Drone Photography and Video yet, here’s a tip – don’t underestimate the cost of the accessories – you’ll need an iPad mini to see what you are doing, a shade to shield the monitor from the sun, polarising and ND filters, a backpack to carry the kit in and I’d strongly recommend a landing pad to stop the drone kicking sand and grit up into the camera and gimbal on take off and landing. Its also very helpful in landing, to know where the drone is going to land – i.e.. not in that bramble patch 5 yards away from you. Bear in mind that the drone is most vulnerable to accident when its a couple of metres off the ground, you want to come straight down, land and switch off the motors, not fanny about trying to dodge brambles, long grass and hedgerows.