Ariel Drone Photography

Not sure if the term Ariel Drone Photography is a thing or not. Good drones that don’t go up in the air and fly away for ever, have so much scope to photography in where they can go, how high they can go, and what angles they can achieve.

As I’ve mentioned in pass posts, that I use Google Earth to search out areas that I can spend the day travelling around to. But what Google Earth gives, is an image taken at some point that can only give you a glimpse of what could be. This all depends on what time of year, what season, and even how the weather has acted during the year before you visit the place.

Pontsticill Reservoir - The Brecon Beacon’s, Wales, UK


There are two points of interest on the Pontsticill Reservoir, each giving a different perspective, but for me one is more accessible than the other, as the one is used by canoes and other boating activities. But the other point where this image was taken, has a high wall, that makes it impossible for me to see over from being sat in my chair, but has more of an interest point to the reservoir. This is where the use of a drone allows me to see over the wall and gives me a better perspective of whats possible.

When I looked at the Google Earth, I could see the water funnel and small tower at the end of the walkway that runs across. I’m guessing that the funnel is connected to the water pump house thats on the other side of the road, but not sure if its still in use. Since my visit was at the end of one of the hottest summers on record, the water level is low, and so the funnel lays bare as well as the cobbled stone work that surrounds the funnel.

I’ve seen many images of the funnel and its tower taken from the wall of the reservoir, but only one from above, taken by Photographer Matt Thomas, who also uses a drone in his photography, but he got lucky with the water level high and so gets a totally different image.

Drones have a time scale of how long they can stay in the air, as some its only 20/25 minutes per a battery like with the current DJI Mavic Air that I have, but the latest DJI drone has a time scale of 30 minutes. It’s a bit like working with the golden hour of a sunset or sunrise, you have to look and and see what you can make of an image within that time scale, with some of the best taken right at the last minute.

The great thing about a drone is that they use a 3-axis gimbal, which means your image you capture is not going to have any camera shake, even with a gust of wind. And they can be manoeuvre with such precision, that it allows you to move with small movements, but also turn around to different angles, not something you can easily do with a normal camera.

This image was more about lining up over the top of the funnel to capture the lines. It’s not till I got to post edited it, that I saw what lines and curves the whole image has, and it reminds me of an owls eye, as their large and have this kind of strong brow above the eye. Yes I did a bit of cropping to the image, but thats about it. But the main thing is I couldn’t got this image any other way than with a drone. Without it, you would have to have some sort of scaffolding above the funnel to get the shot, how expensive would have that been. Drones are just another tool and in the photographers bag, that are small and only takes minutes to setup and get in the air, probably quicker that setting a camera up on a tripod. 

The drone is not a replacement, like some think the mobile phone camera could be. It just allows you to get above your subject and come up with exciting images, that you didn’t know you could achieve.

Drones are flying objects, and you need to know how to control a drone, which does take time and flight time to learn how to fly a drone safely. Sometimes because of interference, drones can become disconnected from your video feed or from the controller. This can be scary when it first happens to you, but if you’ve done your preflight checks, and you have a drone that uses GPS, then it should return back to you, and at some point it will reconnect to the controller and video feed.

The are laws and regulations that you must follow that are set out by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and governed by parliament. Today there are till those that flout the law, and post video of flights that break theses regulations. 

This is sadly doing harm to the drone pilots that have spent a lot of money on drones and do follow the code. In 2019 new regulations will come into effect, but we don’t know how this will effect those that use drones for personal use. At the moment is advisable to follow the code, have public liability insurance and make sure you are not in a regulated airspace.

Drones are allowing new photographers and videographers to make amazing photos and videos, and its bringing new art to the world of photography, it would be a shame if drones are stamped out or made harder to have and enjoy. We can only hope that the consultation thats taken place over this year will be in favour of those that have skills and follow the regulations to carry on to doing their art in the world of photography and videography.