Drones: Aerial Photography for Wimps

On Thursday a genius used his unauthorized drone to buzz and then crash a U.S. Open tennis match. Play was stopped and the drone inspected. The tennis players were unnerved.

I’m guessing this was a guerrilla attempt at drone photography. Photographers, pro or amateur, have to stop and think about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. It might sound cliché by now in our age of glorious “disruption”, but it still holds true, that just because people can do something doesn’t mean they should.

It doesn’t help when earlier in the week NPR gushed over the new toy and linked to some guy with a drone camera business.

I’ll also add that if pro photographers want to save themselves, then acting like children with a shiny new toy is probably not the way to go. I doubt the drone photographer in question is a professional.

Drone photography have any good uses?

As for so-called professional drone photography, I suppose it’s all subjective. I can see some uses for it. Law enforcement, for example. Preferably unarmed, to put it mildly. Traffic. Emergency response, perhaps. Scientific research is another possibility.

What about real estate?

In real estate photography I find drones unconvincing and a gimmick. Some are okay, but the photos are usually not compelling.

Frankly, nobody experiences their home from 300′. Kitchens, baths, communities, and school districts are what sell. Interior and lifestyle photos are most important, in that regard. The Fed, Uncle Sam, and market conditions have a bit to do with home buying and selling, too.

So what’s up with that wimp thing?

Creatively speaking and in terms of Photography a drone is aerial photography for wimps, in my opinion. Get in a plane, glider, helicopter, sky dive, climb a mountain peak, etc. Pay the insurance cost for it. This goes with the adventure and risk of aerial photography. Drones? No.

(Side questions, do drone camera people have insurance? Are the drones covered? If so, how much for the additional risk and liability? Do they price that into their fees?)

Sure, people have the right to take drone photos within limits and good sense (similar to driving cars, a drone should be considered a privilege). But I also have the right to criticize it.

Moving Forward

Who knows? Someday I might come around to drone photography. I might even use a selfie stick someday.

If I do, the photos will at least show the attempt at quality. It will be with good etiquette, not crashing a tennis match. And I’ll never see it as something that measures up to aerial photographers, the ones who really get up there.




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