For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in film and photography. Being able to capture a moment and share it with others always strikes me as a unique concept, as that moment can be interpreted in numerous different ways. As a photographer or videographer, you play a large roll in how those moments are received. I am a firm believer that content is made in the edit, especially with videography, so for me, this is where the story starts to take place. The cameras that I use to capture content are important because I like having a quality image, but on a student budget I had to make use of the gear that I had. Typically, all my shots were on your typical DSLR, GoPro, Smartphone etc., but I had always wanted to get a different perspective which you can’t necessarily easily get on the equipment I had been using.
That’s when I came across drone photography and videography. The well known ‘lukemaximobell’, as he is known on Instagram, opened my eyes to the incredible options that drones offered. I previously had not paid too much attention to this sort of tech, but once I had seen it being used in Cape Town and the possible shots that I was offered right on my doorstop, I quickly changed my mind.
After working a couple part time jobs throughout my first year at UCT, I was able to save up enough cash to get my first drone. The DJI Phantom 4, the tech that my Instagram had sorely been lacking. To say that I did not struggle in the beginning would be a lie. The first month with my drone was as stressful as a night on long street with a pair of brand new yeezy’s. Every time I went to pack the drone away, I would wipe it down, making sure that no sand or dust could be seen. I was too scared to put the drone over any body of water incase the signal cut out and it decided to take a quick swim.
Eventually I got to the point where I was comfortable enough to send the drone further than thirty meters away from me and the reward was truly worth it. I was finally able to get photographs that satisfied my need for change from the traditional point of view images that hand held cameras had previously offered me. However, to this day, I still struggle with trying to get the best shots I can, while staying within the boundary of the law set out by the South African Civil Aviation Authority. Due to the fact that I wasn’t using the drone for commercial purposes, the need for a license was removed, but the guidelines by which drone enthusiasts have to follow are still fairly extensive.
This is where the idea of this blog comes into play. This blog will allow me to explore my experiences as a new drone pilot with regards to the laws set out by the civil aviation authority as well as dealing with debates such as the one surrounding drones and privacy and anonymity. Hopefully some of the posts will help alleviate some of the stresses of being a new drone pilot, as well as help guide those more experienced drone pilots traveling to South Africa get the best shots possible, whilst staying in the boundaries of the law.