Drones – what’s new?

There is something really special about aerial photography, which is perhaps why drones are so incredibly popular.

A recent article published in The Guardian calls attention to pertinent issues, such as privacy and security, that surround their recreational use.

It is reported that Georgia – which was one of the last remaining countries to remain free of restrictions – have now strictly regulated use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in skies over their dizzyingly picturesque landscapes. As is evident from Amos Chapple’s photography, featured in the article, capturing the country from above helps to best communicate its scope and truly mountainous terrain.

Boasting some of the highest peaks in Europe, Georgia’s land is steeped in history, littered with ancient towers, about 25,000 rivers and lowlands full of vineyards and agriculture.

Above: Amos Chapple’s drone photography over Georgia, featured in The Guardian.

A pioneer of drone photography, Chapple’s aerial images taken on a high-end quadcopter, made one last flight over this beautiful country before the recent restrictions were enforced. His aerial perspective helps to communicate scale and spectacle, as well as the beauty of these rural and urban expanses.

Georgia’s change in regulation regarding small UAVs would seem to reflect concerns about leisurely use of drones; with the new restrictions in place, drone photography over its countryside areas is still achievable, but capturing cityscapes and places with crowds of people are forbidden.

Of course, drones are both safe and fine to be flown on a commercial basis, provided the operators are fully qualified.

On a practical level, an extreme aerial perspective can provide information that is vital at a macro level. For the construction industry, especially, drones have more or less replaced the need for helicopters – once the principal method for capturing photography from the air.

As well as offering a cost effective means for construction companies to spotlight the scale of their work – extended further via the capabilities of 360° photography and video – such aerial innovations have transformed how companies market themselves to the public.

Not only visually impressive, the level of interactivity allowed for in 360° imagery encourages engagement and enthusiasm from the public, as people arguably get a better sense of what companies can and do offer their clients.

The speed at which such technology is developing means that regulations are often lagging behind which, in turn, causes techno-paranoia and fears that such innovations are going beyond our control.

Regulating drone flight is often, therefore, about striking a balance between what is necessary and what can be deemed, by some, as immoderate restrictions.

It’s a heated debate that is not seeing any signs of cooling off anytime soon. Drones continue to show promise in terms of what they can do, with this technology at the centre of 21st century innovation.

With scenes like this, for example, we get to explore mesmerising weather patterns over stunning parts of the world. There’s no doubt that drones will be integral to the future of photography.

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