Commercial drone use is still in its relative infancy but as drones become more reliable and affordable new opportunities, and benefits for aerial photography are presenting themselves.These new available avenues in the visual arts were best demonstrated last week by the visual agency Fiction. They published a stunning set of pictures featuring extra-terrestrial light effects created with the help of an unmanned aircraft and high EV values. The Federal Aviation Administration had sought to fine photographer Raphael Pirker $10,000 for what they determined to be a list of dangerous actions he undertook with the drone while conducting a shoot in Virginia for Lewis Communications. Among the complaints facing the photographer was that he did not possess a pilot’s license while piloting the aircraft and that he was reckless in bringing it close to people and buildings.
The good news for photographers not just in America but elsewhere is that the recent ruling by the National Transportation Safety Board found Pirker was not covered by the The Federal Aviation Administrations guidelines since he was using an unmanned aircraft to take the photos.
Because Picker was on a paid assignment a ruling for the FAA would according to DPreview have
been a dark cloud cast over drone flights for commercial purposes because any commercial drone flight would then have been subject to possible FAA regulation.
However, this legal first sets a precedent allowing for a continuation of greater freedom in using commercial drones, especially for creative purposes, and although the FAA will appeal in the meantime the opportunities with drone photography can continue to be explored.
What do you think? Have you used drones in your work? What are the potentials of this new technology?