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Challenges of Drone Photography

4th February 2018

When I purchased a drone, I wasn’t really sure what I would be in for.  The main hope is that it would allow me to get many shots from new angles that weren’t possible without one.  After completing 57 flights in the past month or so, here is what I’ve found.

When I’m photographing trains with my dSLR, it takes me very little time to get the shot.  A couple of minutes to inspect the area is always helpful, but not required.  If I arrive just as the crossing goes active, I can still get the shot.  With a drone, it takes me five minutes from when I park the car till I’m up in the sky.

Cold Weather
The cold of the winter reduces the fly time.  The specs say around 30 minutes, but in the cold it seems to be closer to 15 minutes.

One shot, one chance
With a dSLR, you get multiple chances to get the shot.  That isn’t possible with the drone for four reasons:
1 – Burst mode is limited to 14 shots (within half a second) or 1 shot every two seconds
2 – It takes about 2 or 3 seconds to focus
3 – Changing camera direction can take a second or two
4 – While the image is being stores and processed, the drone is in-operable

Camera Issue(s)
The first is that the lens is a 24mm which isn’t the best for getting close up shots without getting very close to the object, which results in poor shots or excessive cropping.  The other is that I’m comparing (image quality and focusing) on the drone to that of my dSLR, which isn’t a fair comparison, but is still one that I can’t help making.

All the new shots didn’t open up
When flying the drone, I was expecting all of the angles and shots to open up for me, but trees were causing me just as many problems from the sky as they were from the ground.  In the sky, you need to fly at a reasonable altitude to get the trees out of the shot, but then you come into the problem where you’re now to far away from the subject.

It isn’t all negative though.  I do find the drone quite fun to fly and many shots have opened themselves us (as shown below).

I’ve started another post where I’ve made a bucket list to photograph, but interestingly enough, I’ve been able to knock a couple of them off of my list with the drone in the past month.



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