While chatter about cameras has gone quite this week, chatter in the photographic, and gadget community about drones is only getting louder. A few months back it seemed government agencies were starting to fire warning shots at rogue drone photographers by taking irresponsible snappers to court. Technically anyone who is experimenting with drone photography is called a pilot but this is an analogy comparable to witch doctor and hospital doctor. Yet, at the same time with drones being the latest gadget for tech enthusiasts to “wow” over, their well earned rep as a big persons toy is deserved because, they are really, really cool. And, they have helped to produce some unbelievable shots especially of action sports.Last month it was also reported that a pilot -of the conventional kind- while flying his passenger plane over Florida nearly collided with a drone that came within meters of striking the plane, although no damage was caused. With drone technology still prohibitively expensive at about $2000, much the way photography was years back, the use of drones is limited. This will change as technology always advances and so becomes more affordable. What will that mean for people then? And do drones pose a security risk?
The latter is not really a question for a camera blog but the former is worth thinking about, and Kerry Garrison at Camera Dojo has stepped up to start things off. As a drone photographer it may be his first person experience…
There is also a question of intent, regardless of how easy it might be, if I am intentionally trying to get views of someone within their house, this could easily be used against me. People can be very uptight about this issue and my next door neighbor saw this photo and said he couldn’t believe I had a camera 30 feet from his bedroom window. The fact is, it was a lot further away and not pointed at his house at all, no zooming in would let you see into his house. Regardless of facts, that is how he felt and even threatened to shoot it out of the sky with a shotgun the next time he sees it.
… that has triggered Garrison to ask whether we should use drones for aerial photography. Along with privacy concerns he looks at “safety issues” like using them in urban places ,read irresponsible snappers, and whether there is a “creepy factor” to drones and their pilots.
However a mark of their popularity is in March’s National Geographic which featured the article “So You Want to Shoot Aerial Photography Using Drones?” An article written in response to the eager gadget lovers out there who are keen to take their photography into the skies. Drone beginners are looking to more experienced professionals to guide their gear buying choice. Which may be why Kike Calvo ended the article with this:
Flying Unmanned Vehicles is a work in progress. As pilots, we are permanently learning from our achievements and mistakes. For this reason, it is important to be informed about new technologies coming up and the new tendencies in the market. And remember, even though access to many of these machines will become increasingly easy, do not forget to have a humble approach to this technology. As scuba divers and sailors say, you should not fear the ocean, but you should never forget to profess respect to it.
What do you think? Have you experimented with drones yet? Are they an asset or a menace?