I'm sure you've seen them, those noisy flying 'doofers' buzzing about, typically to be found at your local dog walking spots, or at a beach or lake somewhere. There's plenty of them out there now, and for good reason; they're getting cheaper, safe, more advanced, and offer a new perspective on what would normally be mundane locations that have already been photographed to death.
They're not without their own risks. You've liability and stability to consider. Nobody wants to receive an impromptu haircut whilst out walking their labradoodle, due to an errant quadcopter dropping out of the sky because the 'pilot' hasn't considered battery life.
You've also to factor in that you can't offer your services for any commercial gain from the product of your flights, without having the relevant certification from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK's Government Body tasked with policing the airspace for everyone's safety. Which is fair enough, however loads of newbie flyers are flying in a dangerous fashion with little or no regard for the rules, probably due to the fact that when you first take possession of your new fancy drone, you've no clue there are rules in place. However, we all know there's no defence in law for ignorance. So when one of these newbies takes flight near an airport or over a football game, it's the rest of us that get tarred with the same roller brush.
I've owned a drone now for the last 5 years, it's had it's fair share of abuse, upgrades and crashes. It's had new batteries, new parts, enhancements and modifications, it has even had it's entire shell replaced (from a low battery incident I'd rather not talk about). I've had emails and comments levied against my YouTube and Social Media posts by the CAA for improper use or flight, or merely questioning my motives for flying with reminders I can't operate it for commercial purposes (none of which were for commercial gain). Those sort of put me off for a while, added to the fact that the DJI Phantom P1 was the original high profile mass market drone on the market. Because of that it was pretty much lacking in any of the features you'll find in the more recently released Mavic Pro, which I recently took ownership of. The Phantom P1 had a very limited battery life and you never truly knew where it was in a spacial distance sense cause for the most part you were blind. It wasn't until I spent another chunk of cash on it, that I could finally see what the onboard GoPro camera could see. Which made life so much more easier, as there was many a day I thought I was close to the object I wanted to film only to find out much later that I was in fact no where near it, and sometimes not even pointing in the right direction to it, but we learn.
This brings me on to the next chapter of my drone life, certification. Next month I'll be starting the process of Civil Aviation Authority certification, which will finally allow me to start selling not only my work product (pictures and videos), it will also mean I can start advertising my aerial photography services to businesses and the general public. There are very stringent rules on where you can fly and what manner you can fly in, but at least I'll be able to see some return on my investment, or I should say, my wife will finally see some return on 'our investment', as with most of my hobbies and business ventures, there's always an associated running cost.
I've created a new section on my recently edited website for Aerial Photography, it doesn't have any sales type features activated on it yet, it's purely a gallery for viewing what I've done in the past, and once I'm certified those sales features will be switched on, and the marketing will fully kick in.
So far I'm just happy to be learning in more depth, all of the features of the new DJI Mavic Pro. It's a great quad with the added benefit of being super portable, with a really long flight time and huge range. I'll have to get more batteries for it obviously, though I'm stoked it's got me in the air for more than 5 minutes, so it already feels like I've got four batteries in it at the minute.
Make sure you do check out my new aerial photography section, more images will be uploaded very soon, and if you do have a future requirement for some aerial photography after February, please feel free to get in touch.