As a new fashion for ‘Droning’ becomes evermore popular there is controversy over the fliers which snap scenes from overhead, so what’s with the fascination of getting a camera high in the sky?
Droning is the new hobby which continues to grab the child inside all of us that loves to keep a kite in the air.
But as an increasing number of people are flying them illegally, causing concerns over privacy and safety, the little unmanned hovercrafts have become quite controversial.
Peter Smith is a droner – not to say he goes on a bit, but he says its only a few bag eggs who are breaking the rules that give droners a bad name.
The 60-year-old father of two lives in Kilburn and took up droning over a year ago, but for him it’s much more than a hobby.
He says: “It was basically a late midlife crisis. I’m a retired teacher, and I was getting bored of being at home and doing nothing, and I’ve served my time at school.
“So when I saw one of these flying I thought, ‘that’s quite a nice little business idea.”
And it’s not as easy as you might think to fly drones properly.
“I went on a course to get my remote pilot’s licence, and it’s like a lot of things – it’s not difficult to fly but it takes quite a bit of skill to fly well. And then you have to d your assessment and get approval from the Civil Aviation Authority to operate for a year.”
Peter’s taken great shots from over Belper and Kilburn, as well as doing jobs for golf courses and residential developments who use the aerial shots for marketing videos.
He shot over the Tour of Britain as the bikes passed through Belper in eh summer.
“I had to get permission to take off and land from a carpark owner, and it was great to get shots of Strutt’s Mill – I always wondered what the roof looked like!”
In Matlock, he snapped some unique images of Riber Castle from above.
“Another photographer actually suggested to me it would be a good place to shoot. My family originates in Matlock and Matlock Bath, so I was keen to have some nice shots of the castle.”
And his snowy scenes around Kilburn presented some amazing images.
“They’re quite magical I think. They were taken from my sisters house, and I’ve always loved that view form her garden, so it was great to see it from the air.”
Positioning is everything for droners, and in some ways professionals find the greatest challenge is the take-off and landing because there are strict rules to protect people’s safety and privacy.
You must have permission from owners where you plan your take off and landing, you can’t fly more than 400 feet high and 500 feet away from the pilot, and the drone has always got to be within eyeshot.
There are also restriction on flying 50 metres from congested areas and windows for the sake of privacy.
So it’s a shame that some droners are breaking the rules and giving others a bad name - but that’s a symptom of the hobby becoming more popular. Drones have come down so much in price that you could expect to find one under your Christmas tree, so anyone can own one, making it difficult to police.
But Peter is fully trained and licenced, and can even fly his machine indoors – and once you’re savvy with the rules there is the possibility for some simply amazing photography.
“People are obsessed with technology these days,” added Peter. “But I think it’s much more about the brilliance and genius of the people who made it, and who put it to use.
“So it’s about seeing what you can do with the drone, and I’m having fun. For my next project I’d like to get some footage over the Peak District, but I’m not sure what their rules are.”
Contact Peter with your project ideas and queries at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01332781856.
Are you a keen droner? Send in your pics at email@example.com.