The era of aerial photography by remote control may have been well and truly ushered in, with the news that photo sharing Dronestagram held its first photography contest for drone enthusiasists. Judges included representatives from National Geographic and GoPro, with first prize ultimately being awarded to Dendi Pratam from Indonesia. Pratam used a drone to capture an eagle from above as it soared above, Bali Barat National Park.
Meanwhile, second place was awarded Jericho Saniel Lunario from the Philippines, who took an aerial photo of cyclists and journalists visiting a park in Caloocan City, the photo taken with a DJI Phantom drone fitted with a GoPro camera.
These photographs are certainly breathtaking to look at , and a quick visit to the Dronestagram website will give you an insight into the amazing potential of drone photography.
So what’s the future for drones? The mere utterance of the word possibly still brings with it some negative connotations, as the technology is most synonymous with remote controlled warfare being waged by the USA in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the latest weapon in the so-called ‘War on Terror’. Yet there is another side to these little machines, as they are also being used in civilian photography and film-making; they can be easily purchased and are capable of stability and precision for aerial photography purposes.
There are even reports of drone photography being used by estate agents to create stunning aerial photographs of properties, as well as making films which can be set to beautiful soaring soundtracks. These models of drone are much smaller, inauspicious and friendlier than their cousins in the war-zones of Pakistan, and are being used to film luxury properties in Oxfordshire, UK, to give one example.
Such is the promise of drone photography as a means of recording, that one Daily Telegraph article has postulated the arrival of the ‘dronie’ on the photography scene. The meaning of this title is hopefully fairly self-explanatory, as in place of a ‘selfie’, people can have self-portraits captured by a drone instead. Whether this will catch on in quite the same way remains to be seen, but its mere introduction into photography terminology says something about where drones are taking the art form.
Yet one thing is undoubtedly clear; whilst the FAA in America worry over privacy, and the boundaries that may may or may not be crossed by drones going where human photography cannot, the potential of drone photography as an art form has surely yet to be tapped, with the opportunities arising for bold, innovative and intimate photographs that the human hand might not be able to capture.