Bruce Varner Photography

DJI Phantom II

Quad-copters for photography

Being able to do arial photography has added a new dimension to my photography not available before.  The resources necessary previously to accomplish images from the air involved large sums of money to rent a full size aircraft.  Then required very long lenses to obtain close up photos from those angles.  With a quad-copter you can obtain very intimate results because of the much lower altitudes.

No they are not dangerous! Those who fly quad-copters are very sensitive to the use of the word drone to describe their device.  Due to unfortunate circumstances, small, affordable, personal flying devices with cameras became available and popular at a time when unmanned aircraft are being used daily for armed military applications.  This unfortunately has caused many to have a negative view of what is essentially a model aircraft.

They are fun and they are safe!  A turd from an overhead commercial jet is more likely to fall on your head then be hurt from a quad-copter.

They Cost Money!  While affordable, these machines are not cheap.  With a first person view (FPV), which is the ability to see on a monitor what the copter sees, the setup cost something over $2000.  Sensible people are not prone to taking unnecessary risks with $2000.

Helicopters (one rotor) are hard to fly.  Quad-copters (four rotors) are much more stable in flight and easier to keep in the air.

The machines come with intelligent batteries, GPS, return to home capability, and heads up instrument display.  All to improve safety of those on the ground and the copter itself.

Intelligent batteries have small computer chips built into the battery itself.  It senses when the battery is low and will fly itself back to the ground in a controlled manner when the battery gets low to prevent falling out of the sky with a dead battery.

GPS allows for the copter to constantly know where it is in both height and location.  It can hover in one spot, no matter what the altitude because GPS holds it still.  It can return and land in its original takeoff spot even without help from the pilot at the controls.  I have tested this by turning off the remote so that the craft is no longer controlled from the ground.  The copter will hover, rise to a pre-determined height, then fly back to its takeoff spot and slowly descend and land safely within inches of that spot.

The software has Altitude Limits.  While the quad-copter has the capability to fly at higher altitudes, software has limited the height to 400'.  400' is high!  There would not be a need to fly higher.  Real airplanes should never be as low as 400'.  The software also has be benefit of limiting how close you can fly to airports.

Can something go wrong?  Yes.  Can people abuse the device, common sense, and rules that are in place?  Yes.  But just as with any other everyday item that has the possibility of being abuse, we have rules and punish those who break those rules, not take the devise away.

2014 Fairway Woods Villas Oktoberfest!!!

Below is the link to a short film I created during the neighborhood Oktoberfest.  Images/video was shot on GoPro cameras.  Second half of the video is from the DJI Phantom quad-copter.


More Coming Soon!!!