drone photography

Using a Drone For Commercial Use and The Importance of Using a Certified Drone Pilot

Today more and more businesses are using drones to survey all types of locations. According to Geospatial World, “There is an aerial revolution happening across the globe. Drones have emerged as a highly viable commercial tool with applications in numerous sectors, most notably, construction. This isn’t surprising, as their benefits range from on-site safety to a level of project monitoring which wasn’t previously possible”. Today photographers are using commercial and non-commercial drones to survey all types of sites.

Recently, I visited a construction site in Jamestown North Carolina and did some surveying of my own. In Jamestown, major road construction is ongoing and the road construction is massive. I was interested in knowing how much progress was made on the new road. I could see locations were the road was being built but I wanted to see the true progress of the road construction. However, getting a true representation of how much had been completed required the use of my DJI Mavic Pro drone.

Using a drone to fly over a construction site is not so easy. If you do it right and understand the does and don’t when it comes to FAA regulations you will be fine. If you don’t understand the FAA drone regulations or you are not a certified FAA drone pilot doing commercial work you can be hit with some pretty steep fines. One of the reasons why I feel it is important to become a certified FAA drone pilot is that is important to understand how to legally fly a drone. Commercial drone operators must comply with restrictions and understand how and when drones may be used. The FAA prohibits drones being flown:

  • outside of the operator’s visual line of sight

  • when visibility is less than three miles

  • at night

  • less than 500 feet below a cloud or within 2,000 feet horizontally from a cloud

  • directly over people not directly participating in the drone’s operation

  • higher than 400 feet above either ground level or a structure, whichever is higher; and

  • without permission in controlled airspace

I find there are many uses for flying a drone and being a certified FAA drone pilot can be profitable. To learn more about flying a drone or if you are in need of an FAA-certified drone pilot, contact me. Maybe, I can help.

Until next time!

Roger

Capturing Images of The Carolina Field of Honor

One of the best things about being a photographer and someone who loves to capture images using a drone is visiting unique locations. Some people don’t realize some of the best locations are within in an hour of their homes. One such place is the Carolina Field o Honor in Kernersville North Carolina. In this post I want to cover what is the Carolina Field of Honor and about my experience was in capturing images from the location.

What is the Carolina Field of Honor

The Carolina Field of Honor has several functions for it’s visitors, but the main function is the veteran’s memorial. The veteran’s memorial was officially dedicated back on Memorial Day in 2014. The memorial’s main function is to serve as tribute to fallen service members of the armed forces. The memorial is an important part of not only the town of Kernersville, but also for other surrounding counties and even the state of North Carolina.

Why I Chose to Photograph The Carolina Field of Honor

I had visited the Carolina Field of Honor not long after is was officially opened in 2014. I had seen some images of the memorial on different websites and social media outlets. To me, there was not enough images of the Carolina Field of Honor Memorial location.I felt the memorial needed more visual imagery to showcase it importance for the communities and help visitors not forget our fallen heroes. I wanted to create not only photographs of the structures, but I wanted to provide aerial imagery of the memorial.

Getting Drone Footage at the Carolina Field of Honor Memorial

Prior to visiting the memorial I did my research and found that taking photos of the memorial was not going to be too difficult. I chose a day when I felt the site would have few visitors. I chose the middle of the week when not only fewer people would be there but kids would be in school. Schools love to take students there to show the kids the memorial and explain the reason why the memorial was built. One the day of my photo shoot, no kids visited the site. That was a great thing for me because I had the entire memorial to myself. For a photographer, that is awesome!

As part of my planning, I had to find out if I could fly my drone at the site. As a FAA certified drone pilot I understood there are steps you have to take to find out if you can legally fly at a location. Many people that are not FAA certified do not understand the rules for flying a drone and that the FAA can fine them if rules are not followed. I had no desire to have the FAA fine me. So I did my research.

AirMap App

AirMap App

Part of my research was to find out if I could fly my drone so I could get some drone footage. I used a very useful app called AirMap to determine where restricted areas are anytime I go to a location to fly my Mavic Pro drone. While visiting the location I found out I was slightly within restricted airspace of the Triad Park where the Carolina Field of Honor is located. I first thought I may not be able to fly the drone. However, in some cases, a drone pilot can request a waiver from the FAA to fly in a restricted airspace. In most cases, getting approval could take 90 days. However, at the Triad Park, I was fortunate to be able to request a limited temporary waiver while I was onsite using the Airmap app. I requested a one hour flight time and the permission to fly up to 400 feet. For those of you that may not realize it, 400 feet is the limit drone pilots can fly. After getting the permission to legally fly my drone I took the air to get a few pass over shots of the memorial.

it was a lot of fun to be able to capture images and video of the Carolina Field of Honor. As a photography and a drone photographer it was a way for me to help remind people of the veteran’s memorial in Kernersville and why they should visit the Carolina Field of Honor.

To learn more about the Carolina Field of Honor visit Carolina Field of Honor website.

Until next time!

Roger

The Benefits of Using a Drone for Inspections

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Today drones can be a great benefit to help industries and companies collect all types of data very quickly. The problem is most companies are unaware of how beneficial and useful UAV's can be to help inspect all types of assets and properties. Traditional methods used to inspect properties and other assets can be very costly and the safety risk can be very high for personnel that may be used to conduct hazardous inspections. That is where the use of an FAA-certified drone pilot and a high-quality drone can be very helpful to an organization.

The companies that do understand the benefits of using a drone to conduct inspections use drones for aerial photography survey's, deliveries, asset inspections, and other types of tasks. Other companies don't fully understand the great benefits of using a drone. Companies that do take advantage of the use of drone understand that drones are very helpful in getting information and valuable data very quickly and safely. Drones can provide accurate inspection data in a shorter amount of time. Drones can be used to inspect many types of facilities, industrial building, energy resources, real estate, insurance related incidents and activities, and a wide range of other inspections. Traditional inspections without the use of a drone can be risky, costly, and take a lot of valuable time. Drones in a sense can help eliminate inaccurate or incomplete data due to human errors and other mitigating factors. There are benefits to using a drone for inspections and using a FAA certified drone pilot to do the job.

Reduces Dangerous Risks and Health Risks to Personnel

Depending on the area needing inspections, drones can be used to inspect structures that may be too tall or complex. Many industries have facilities and structures that can be very complex and difficult for personnel to inspect. Drones can be used to access hostile locations, inspect tall structures and be can be used to easily access locations that may be too risky for personnel.

Data Collection

All drones are not the same and it is important to make sure that an FAA certified drone pilot is used for any type of commercial work. A high-quality drone has the capability to inspect areas because of the unique features of the drone, such as obstacle avoidance, 4K video, and a high-resolution camera. The high-quality of the camera allows a certified drone pilot the ability to inspect the properties in greater detail and can be accessed much easier than using an inspector or inspection team.

Access Properties Very Quickly

The benefit of using an FAA certified drone pilot is that inspections can be done very quickly. In a matter of moments, a drone pilot can quickly and safely launch a drone. Drones are very helpful not only for routine inspections but for emergency situations. Drones are fast and in many cases, an inspection can be completed in less than 30 minutes. The quick use of a drone can help insurance companies, engineers, lending companies, home buyers get the information they need very quickly.

More Capabilities of a Drone

Drones have the ability to conduct inspections from different altitudes and angles. They have the ability to collect accurate data because of how they are equipped. Drones can take a wide variety of images, capture in-depth and impressive video, and gain access to locations that require effective data collection. In many cases, access to some properties would be very difficult and unsafe for an individual.

No Downtime

For some companies, an inspection would require downtime. Downtime may require a company to shut down operations during the inspection to eliminate potential risk to personnel and equipment. Drones can be used to safely inspect facilities and locations with complex systems such as communication towers, radar systems, and other important and highly complex structures. Drones can eliminate downtime so operations and can safely proceed.

Saves Time, Money, and Insurance Costs

Personnel inspections cost money and so does the insurance cost to protect inspectors and workers needed to conduct high-risk inspections. Drones can help eliminate the costs and the risk. Using a drone eliminates the need, time, and cost of using high-risk equipment to conduct inspections. A company does not have a need for ladders, heavy equipment, and large commercial vehicles to conduct sometime dangerous inspections.

Drones can be used for more than just aerial images and videos for photographers and hobbyists. They can be used to eliminate the risk of personnel, properties, and save companies a great deal of time and money. More companies should consider using a drone for their inspection needs. Companies just need to make sure they hire a pilot that is FAA certified and qualified to do the job. All drone users are not the same.

Until next time!

Roger

Understanding Your Drones Capabilities

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How well do you know your photography gear? I was thinking about that and realized I don't know everything I need to know about my drone and its capabilities. I am pretty familiar with camera settings but I wasn't too impressed with my drone shots. To me, they seemed sorta flat. My first reaction was the drone camera was not that great. Then I started thinking, maybe it is me. So I started doing a little "Youtubing" and found I was not as familiar with the drone camera settings as I should be, especially the photo settings. I was finding that many of my photo images were not good at all and I needed to get a better understanding of the settings and learn more about how to more effective usage out of the available manual setting options.

Most people that have a drone that has a camera normally know enough to get the drone in the air and have the auto setting do all the work. That is not knowing your drone and its capabilities. Many times you end up with bad photos and sometimes those photos are unusable. Unusable photos equal a waste of time. I don't like wasting my time when I flying my drone. Those that know about drone batteries understand you have a limited time when it comes to battery life and time is important when trying to get good images.

It is important to understand how your drone works. You can't always blame poor quality shots on the drone. It is good to dig deeper into your drone settings. All photographers must fully understand ISO, shutter speed, types of formats, and aperture settings when using a camera. That includes the drone camera. Yes, auto settings are cool but that is also the lazy way to do. Manual settings can be very cool and produce some amazing images even when using a drone. You just have to be willing to dig a little deeper if you want to improve as a drone photographer and get great quality shots.

Knowing how your gear works are so important when it comes to doing photography. That is equalling important as a drone pilot. As a certified drone pilot I understand no one is going hire me if my images and videos are not a good as they should be. It is very important to embrace seeking knowledge of my gear. Knowledge is cool and never-ending. That also applies to any drone that has ability to shoot great images. What I have learned is not to blame my gear when it come to photography. It is me that needs to put in the work and learn as much as I can about all the gear I use, especially, when it comes to my drone.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger