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Are Drones Dangerous?

As I am sure you and most everyone is aware by now, drones are becoming more and more mainstream, especially professional drones. No I am not talking about the Reapers that Uncle Sam uses to rain down Hellfire missiles on terrorists, I am talking about photography and videography drones.

I personally own the DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone and love it! But many people are nervous or even scared of drones after all of the negative coverage on the news, especially on TV. They hear stories about drones falling on people or crashing into objects and wreaking havoc on innocent people.

People are afraid of many things, and thanks to all the negative press, many people are afraid of drones. They are paranoid that someone is using a drone to film them in the shower, or in some other “Peeping Tom” fashion, or that a drone will fall out of the sky and hit them or their children in the head. This first image I captured in downtown Barnesville, Ga with my DJI Phantom 3 Professional.

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The truth is drones are no more dangerous that anything else and safer than cars, yet you drive your car all over town every day and never give another thought about it. The incidents of drones crashing are the exception, not the norm as a general rule, anyone like myself that has spent considerable money on a professional grade drone will take the time to learn everything they can about it to fly it as safely as possible. I watched hundreds of videos on the Phantom 3 and drones in general to try and make myself as knowledgeable as possible on the subject of drones and safe drone flying.

Additionally, the better, professional drones like mine come equipped with a “Safe Mode”, which prevents the drone from flying more than a certain distance away from it’s GPS “home point” and it also doesn’t allow you to fly more than so many meters off the ground. The manufacturers
put these safety features into their software to help prevent people from making serious mistakes and hurting people or property. Once you have mastered your drone and honed your piloting skills, you can take it out of “Safe Mode” and then you can fly mine up to 2 miles from the take off point and fly to the maximum legal altitude which is 400 feet in the U.S.

The point I am making is that drones, like many other items are just another tool in a professional photographer’s bag. A drone can be dangerous, but why live in fear of something happening when the chances are Slim to None and Slim is out of town. I personally have practiced with mine a lot while nowhere near people or property, I also use and recommend an app call UAV Forecast, which uses your GPS location to tell you if the weather is suitable for flying or not. This next image is a display railroad car I captured in downtown Barnesville, Ga with my Phantom 3.

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Most anyone that is a serious drone photographer or videographer is going to spend considerable time learning everything they can about their new gear before they ever use it out near people or objects that it could cause harm to, no one want to pose a risk to the health and well-being of others on purpose and most of us also buy special drone insurance just in case something does go wrong. Many of you probably don’t even realize that a lot of your favorite TV shows and movies now use professional drones with professional “pilots” flying them to film.

With the enormous cost in making a block-buster movie these days, studios look to save money any way they can and a $1,000-$5,000 drone that be used over and over again is way more cost effective than say a $60,000 a day camera boom truck. Just as many of you might not be aware, but the GoPro action camera is also used by many studios for shooting TV shows and movies because again a few $300-$400 GoPros mounted on car bumpers for chase scenes are way cheaper and the GoPro is capable of extremely high-quality video and stills with it’s 12MP camera capable of 1080p or even 4k HD video as the new model is capable of and so is my drone.

If there is one thing I want you the reader to take away from this week’s post is that drones are nothing more than another camera “body” and most of them are being flown by professionals who take flying and filming with them as seriously as any other photographer using any other conventional camera body and lens combination. So, next time you are out at a skate park or some vacation spot like a beach in Florida and see someone flying one of these professional drones, instead of being afraid of the drone, walk over and strike up a conversation with them.
I have people walk up to me and ask me about mine all the time and many times they ask me to shoot some footage or stills of them.

Keep in mine that the media loves to blow things out of proportion as they are looking for ratings and sensationalism and less about sharing the truth on a subject. Now get out there and check out some drone photographers, or rent one and try it out for yourself!