Aerial Photography with Drones and Quadcopters
Brief History of Aerial Photography Aerial Photography, surveying and mapping using Drones and Quadcopters is an embryonic industry. Aerial photography however is something that can be traced back to 1858 when balloonist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon known as “Nadar” captured images of Paris. Kite photography followed in 1882 and like todays drones the military were responsible for rapid developments in aerial photography during the Great War. Aerofilms Ltd were the first commercial aerial photography business to be set up in England by World War I veterans Francis Wills and Claude Graham White. In America Sherman Fairchild developed an aerial photography aircraft and multi-lens cameras for aerial surveys and he secured a lucrative contract to study soil erosion in New Mexico. The Second World War saw spitfires stripped of their fire power and adapted as aerial reconnaissance aircraft.
The New Aerial Frontier Traditional aerial photography using piloted fixed wing aircraft is and will always remain an expensive undertaking but the industry is undergoing a dramatic change due to rapid advances in the development of small unmanned aerial vehicles, drones and the intelligent software used to control and fly these types of craft. Aerial Photography via fixed wing craft either piloted or radio controlled unmanned systems has always provided a challenge to photographers as they have to always have to be in motion unlike the new breed of Quadcopter, Hexacopter, and Octocopters Drones that can loiter or hoover at a fixed altitude,capture images then move on to another Waypoint and repeat the process.
Aerial Photography Quadcopter costs come down
A few years ago buying a craft capable of performing intricate flight patterns and capturing quality images and video would have cost over $100,000. Nowadays for under $2,000 you can purchase a Ready to Fly Quadcopter, a stabilization camera gimbal, a GoPro lightweight action camera some spare batteries and you are ready to capture commercial quality imagery. It is not only the big aviation companies that are prospering from this nascent industry as Chinese companies like DJI Innovations, Walkera and new entrants Cheerson are selling vast quantities of their entry level commercial aerial photography systems.Hubsan will hope to mirror the successes of these aforementioned companies with their X4 H109S PRO Quadcopter as the demand for these drones has rocketed over the last few years as hobbyist have started turning their passion for flying unmanned aerial systems into micro businesses.
Opportunities for unmanned aerial vehicle pilots and system operators The next decade will throw up some amazing opportunities for persons who have the inclination and dedication to learn all about this fledgling industry. A number of countries have followed the UK and are offering qualifications in UAV piloting. Persons with such qualifications will be sought after by many companies who can visualize the advantages that drones can bring to their business but lack the necessary personnel to implement an unmanned aerial vehicle system strategy.
Because drones are affordable, compact and relatively easy to control they are an ideal tool for journalists. Journalists in Asia and all over Europe are using these unmanned aerial vehicles to capture sporting event imagery monitor political unrest or cover natural disasters. These craft are imminently more affordable that traditional craft and can be sent into dangerous areas without the threat of any loss of life. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications has set up a Drone Journalism Lab and a number of high profile media companies including The New York Times and Associated Press are lobbying the authorities for the right to use unmanned aerial vehicles to collect news stories.