My photography isn’t that straight forward and people know me understand, but see that it doesn’t hold me back. I’ve been in a wheelchair since 1995, but I’ve never seen myself as one that won’t push the abilities of being in a chair, and my photography has also been about pushing the abilities.
Landscape with a camera.
Living in the UK, we have some amazing landscapes, from right on the doorstep of Somerset, the beauty of the Cotswolds, and the breath taking views of the Brecon’s and Snowdonia, which are all within a days drive from Bristol.
But I can only capture scenes from afar, flat ground or the roadside. Even though most of my landscape is taking from these positions, I try to make them as original as possible. What I mean by that, is the viewer wouldn’t know where they were taken from.
But I’ve always seen places, photographs by others that have climb hills, mountains or places that from a chair are just out reach, this is frustrating, to say the least.
Chew Magna Lake.
The lake or reservoir is a beautiful spot just outside my city of Bristol, about 20 minutes or there about’s. it use for sailing, fishing and has many different types of wildfowl. One spot along the side of the lake has a wonderful tea rooms and climbing centre for the kids, that pulls people from the city to the lake for a cream tea.
At the other end of the lake is a roadside lay-by that many bird watchers park up to get out the binoculars out or the long lens cameras to watch and photograph the wildfowl. On sunrise, the sun rises across the lake and I’ve photographed it many times with the mist just sitting on the water from this very spot.
Getting a Drone.
The last couple of years, I’ve seen more and more people taking images or film with the use of a drone. After doing lots of research, looking at images captured with a drone as well as film, I can see the potential for my own photography to take me to new heights without having to climb myself.
The price is something I did consider as some of the top end drones are into the thousands, but there has been a new bread of affordable drones for under a thousand pounds that have the capacity to capture quality images and 4K video.
One of the top drone manufactures, DJI has tried to reach not just the professionals, but those’s that do it as hobby or for photographers to get into drone photography at a reasonable price. Some may say a thousand pounds is still a lot, and yes it is, but what you get is good and safe quality drones that are easy to learn to fly and can be used for those moments when a normal camera, just quite get there. Of course for me landscape is a love, where my portraiture work is my main work in the studio.
DJI builds in sensors that can detect obstacles and go round them, GPS for spot on navigation, wifi controllers, Sony sensor cameras as well as Hasselblad lenses, batteries with over 20 minutes of fly time, and app that runs and controls the drones with features that let you know how much battery you have left and the ability to bring your drone back to where you took off and land within a foot of that original place of flight. To me this is amazing with powerful and quality features that are packed into these small drones that you can stick in a backpack and take up very little space.
Over the years with drones becoming affordable and sometimes really cheap and what many would call useless, and many people using drones in a dangerous way, has lead to laws on the use of drones become what some would call extreme and punching out the hobby flyer. There has been well document cases of people flying drones near airports to film plains landing and causing very close calls of damage to aircraft that could lead to plain crashes. Flying drones extreme heights in places where airforce training takes place with close missy’s. drones that so cheap that they end up flying away and out of control into crowded areas, all these kind of events has meant a crack down on where and who can fly where.
Drones are in the main air space as any other aircraft, man or unmanned. So the National Air Traffic and Civil Aviation Authorities have had to right rules for the use of drones and come up with a license for commercial drone pilots that film, survey or photograph as part of a business, that requires training and licensing. This is not cheap with training starting at £500 - £1,000 and license £285 first year and £175 every year after. If your doing as a business then it’s worth the investment, but then your going to want the high-end drones to do the work. As a hobby, there are still strict guidelines and each flight has to be registered with the NAT, but if you stick to them, you can still have a lot fo fun and get some great images, even though 2019 might see some new laws brought in as more and more people get drones, means the sky’s are going to get fill even more.
I’m not a commercial drone pilot or do I need to be for what I do, which is for myself, but I’m happy to put the images up on my website to show what I can do.
A New Perspective.
There is a great difference from photographing from the ground to photographing from above, the is a view that neither one can replicate and makes them unique. Photographing the lake from above shows the reflections of the sky on the water, which is amazing and just couldn’t be shown from the a ground shot, so they both had there perspective of the same scene, but from different angles. This allows to make maybe 30m from the place my chair will only take me and above or maybe just a couple feet from the ground. This my reason for getting a drone and allows me to look towards film as a videographer, that I never thought of. Maybe one day if I have to, then I might look to become a commercial drone pilot, but at the moment my work doesn’t call for it, and by then there probably too many of them all fighting for a share of the market, who knows.
From the side of lake.
This is an image I took back in 2015 from the same spot I took a still image from the drone. It’s kind of ok, not my best work but gives a view that you can get from this one spot.
Still Image from drone.
This is the same spot but has a much different perspective of the lake and land, which I feel has more to the image. Just been from a birds point of view, see the lake and land in a much more realistic view.
Chew Valley Lake Movie.
This is a six minute movie I made with the drone, and I just love the colours of the clouds reflecting off the water and you move from one point to another, you see the clouds stand still. I can see why people look to using a drone to capture a scene, either in an image or as a film, its quite breath taking to me, and gives me the ability to be somewhere I can’t get to any other way.