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Author Topic: Drones  (Read 4073 times)

pcgpcg

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Drones
« on: June 23, 2014, 10:36:24 am »

I just read Stephen Wheatcraft's excellent article, "Landscape Aerial Photography Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles", and was dismayed because I feel it will encourage photographers to use drones in locations where they are inappropriate.  The author gives an excellent introduction on the technical aspects of using drones, but I respectfully encourage him to consider the aesthetic impact of their use in natural settings.  It is my strong opinion that, unless drones can be made completely silent and invisible, they should not be introduced into an environment where their very presence is at odds with what the photographer is trying to capture.  More specifically, when I am outdoors in a beautiful natural setting I don't want to see or hear a machine in the air. For thousands of years, these areas have been graced with natural sights and sounds only.  Contrails and the distant roar of traditional aircraft have already become a nuisance. Please - don't visually and audibly pollute natural scenery with drones.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 02:17:59 pm by pcgpcg »
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Rajan Parrikar

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Re: Drones
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2014, 11:26:45 am »

I read a circular a couple of days ago issued by the National Park Service that bans drones in all the National Parks.

PS: Here -

http://home.nps.gov/news/release.htm?id=1601
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 11:28:28 am by Rajan Parrikar »
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Kevin Gallagher

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Re: Drones
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2014, 04:25:50 pm »

 Wow, talk about being timely! I recently purchased a DJI Phantom 2 Vision + and I've been having loads of fun flying it around as well as taking still pix and videos. It's very easy to learn to fly and as long as you keep to soft surfaces for a while you should not have any problems with impromptu arrivals (crashes). I'm also speaking as an RC hobbyist flyer and not a conservationist but I can completely understand the concerns, not only ecological but also safety of persons and wildlife. Hopefully there will be some kind of middle ground reached on all this (see the thread I posted few days back) http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=90650.0 

  In the meantime I'm always careful to let nearby folks know what I'm doing before setting out to fly and on several occasions I've had people offer me their email addresses so they can see the vids I've been shooting (mostly of pickup basketball games and team softball). The Phantom is always popular with any children that see it and once I get the OK from their parents I'll let them stand with me as I fly and let them operate one of the control sticks (you should see the amazed expressions when the craft rotates about in response to their input on the stick) I'd like to see more articles from Stephen in the future.
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john beardsworth

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Re: Drones
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2014, 05:14:37 pm »

Have you looked into insurance?

I ask because I received a couple of requests this year to fly drones over historical battle re-enactments. Apart from a drone spoiling the crowd's appreciation of 17th century warfare, we use real gunpowder and often have horses which can be easily startled or cause danger if their rider is distracted. But what I used to kill the requests was our insurance which didn't cover drones. Even if the drone-owner had sufficient insurance, we'd be stuck with the bad PR and increased premiums.

John
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 05:26:06 pm by john beardsworth »
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pcgpcg

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Re: Drones
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2014, 06:06:49 pm »

the vids I've been shooting (mostly of pickup basketball games and team softball).
This is a good example of where I think the use of drones for photography is appropriate and I would not object.  Sounds like a fun application.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Drones
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2014, 06:29:57 pm »

This is a good example of where I think the use of drones for photography is appropriate and I would not object.  Sounds like a fun application.

Just wait till the goal of the game becomes, instead to knock it out of the park, to knock it from the sky  ;)

http://gizmodo.com/watch-a-pro-golfer-knock-a-drone-from-the-sky-with-one-1568096735

LesPalenik

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Re: Drones
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2014, 01:51:10 am »

As long as the drones won't start picking up small dogs or rustling chickens from neighbouring backyards, I'd say they are harmless.
And when it comes to noise, jet skiers or firecracker lovers are much more annoying.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2014, 04:34:58 am by LesPalenik »
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michael

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Re: Drones
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2014, 08:09:45 am »

Can we add lawn mowers and leaf blowers to that list.

They make me homicidal some days.

Michael
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Kevin Gallagher

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Re: Drones
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2014, 11:22:07 am »

 Hi Slobodan, I think there was a recent incident in LA after a hockey game where people were tossing stuff at a drone (once again, it looks to be a DJI Phantom) until it too was knocked from the sky. FWIW the golfer video looks more than a little contrived to me.  :)
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Kevin In CT
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Peter McLennan

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Re: Drones
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2014, 01:09:57 pm »

I earned a substantial portion of my income for many years shooting aerials from helicopters for the movie business, so I have (or at least had) a dog in this hunt.  Now retired, I look on with interest.  On seeing many drone-acquired shots, my reaction is "I just got outta that business in time"

Here's my opinion on this development.

They can be and probably will always be somewhat dangerous.  I believe there has already been one death of a drone operator due to a rotor strike to the body.  This danger can be mitigated by the use of a protective ring around the rotor system and should be mandatory for all drones.  Relatively light and fragile, they pose little risk beyond that generated by their rotors.  As their use proliferates we will no doubt see other accidents, some involving injury.  Unfortunately, this is how we learn.  Increasing regulation will undoubtedly result and that's a good thing for all concerned. Including the lawyers.

Drones constitute no more an invasion of privacy than a long lens or a covertly mounted surveillance camera.  It's the application of the tool, not the tool itself that creates the infraction, if there is one.  User responsibility trumps all.

Small drones are surprisingly quiet.  The commonly seen white drone, the DJI Phantom, is inaudible at more than a few tens of feet over normal urban sound levels.  In desert silence, sure, you could hear them, and I'd certainly be annoyed if my time in Eureka Dunes was altered by continuous drone noise. But in a typical natural setting, they're inaudible from reasonable distances . Larger "hexacopter" drones, capable of lifting several kilograms, are noisier, but their endurance is short.  Unlike leaf blowers, lawnmowers and barking dogs, their sonic intrusion would be of short duration. They're expensive to own and operate, so they're not going to become a common and continuous noise annoyance like the aforementioned intrusions.

Google "helicopter noise" and you'll get thousands, if not tens of thousands of hits.  Conventional helicopter flight operations are regulated in virtually all urban environments for one major reason.  Noise.  Helicopter noise abatement regulations restrict operations below two thousand feet, greatly affecting photography.  Sound designers and sound effects editors looking to generate a "stressful urban environment" sound track will commonly reach for two sound effects: sirens and helicopters. If drones supplant conventional helicopters in any amount, noise will be reduced and images will improve.

Ever notice that in wildlife aerials the animals are always running?  Guess why?  They're scared $&#less by the noise and an size of the helicopter chasing them.  Wildlife tends to see drones as just another bird or bug and aren't frightened at all.  Their behaviour unaltered, amazing footage results.

Wind notwithstanding, most drones are surprisingly easy to fly.  Multi-axis gyrostabilization and GPS positioning lets them hover "hands off" for minutes at a time.  Compared to conventional helicopters, they are ludicrously simple mechanisms, with few moving parts other than the rotors themselves.  As are result, the opportunity for catastrophic failure is much reduced and their small mass will cause little collateral damage should they crash.  They also carry no inflammable liquid fuels.

Drones enable photographers to acquire many shots similar to those from a manned helicopter, but at a tiny fraction of the cost.  Better, and perhaps more importantly, drones enable shots that were previously unattainable by any means.  Further, drones are increasingly seeing use by search and rescue crews in conditions that would be impossible or too dangerous for conventional helicopter systems. Rather than costing lives, drones are saving lives.

I favour regulation of UAV flights in public spaces, especially in parks and absolutely in the national parks.  While those places offer incredible opportunities for UAV photography, such use by the untrained, unsupervised and inconsiderate general public can only result in damage both to the environment and the experience we all treasure.  Regulated, permitted, controlled use by professionals under specific conditions should be allowed.  It would benefit everyone, especially those who manage the national parks.

So, again in my opinion, unmanned aerial vehicles are a welcome addition to the toolbox of any photographer, not just Hollywood.  Certainly there will be idiots who attempt dangerous shots so that they can post them to YouTube, but this will serve to demonstrate just where these tools can fail or can be dangerous.  With careful, informed regulation I expect to see their use proliferate and I look forward to ever more astonishing shots appearing on our screens.
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Iluvmycam

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Re: Drones
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2014, 04:07:15 pm »

I just read Stephen Wheatcraft's excellent article, "Landscape Aerial Photography Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles", and was dismayed because I feel it will encourage photographers to use drones in locations where they are inappropriate.  The author gives an excellent introduction on the technical aspects of using drones, but I respectfully encourage him to consider the aesthetic impact of their use in natural settings.  It is my strong opinion that, unless drones can be made completely silent and invisible, they should not be introduced into an environment where their very presence is at odds with what the photographer is trying to capture.  More specifically, when I am outdoors in a beautiful natural setting I don't want to see or hear a machine in the air. For thousands of years, these areas have been graced with natural sights and sounds only.  Contrails and the distant roar of traditional aircraft have already become a nuisance. Please - don't visually and audibly pollute natural scenery with drones.

If it is legal..do as you please.
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Iluvmycam

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Re: Drones
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2014, 04:08:40 pm »

Hi Slobodan, I think there was a recent incident in LA after a hockey game where people were tossing stuff at a drone (once again, it looks to be a DJI Phantom) until it too was knocked from the sky. FWIW the golfer video looks more than a little contrived to me.  :)

L.A. -  Surprised the didn't shoot it?
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luxborealis

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Re: Drones
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2014, 04:06:48 pm »

As long as the drones won't start picking up small dogs or rustling chickens from neighbouring backyards, I'd say they are harmless.
And when it comes to noise, jet skiers or firecracker lovers are much more annoying.


I think there is much more to it than this... Noise aside, consider, for a moment, invasion of privacy. With a drone flying overhead (over backyards, city parks, campsites, beaches, etc.) and an attitude like the one mentioned above by iluvmycam (if it's legal, do as you please) and privacy laws being years behind drones, I'm surprised the paparazzi haven't made better use of them.

On the other hand, there might just be some entertainment value in watching a neighbour throwing BBQ tongs at an annoying drone. Heck, maybe those video game skills can be used on the drone controller to avoid your neighbour's missiles. There could be a whole new arms race of surface to drone missiles, just to keep a neighbourhood or city park free of them.

But seriously, they may be legal (as are leaf blowers and lawn mowers), but we don't have to like them.
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LesPalenik

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Re: Drones
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2014, 05:00:41 pm »

I tend do spend a lot of time around the lakes in Ontario, and have yet to see any drones. For the time being, the small airplanes and floatplanes are the only noisemakers in those areas. As for the privacy issue, when I hear them coming, I always put my swimming suit on.
 
One factor that I mentioned, could be the increased wind levels over the last few years. That presents serious problems not only for flying but also for paddling on bigger bodies on water.

Chris Calohan

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Re: Drones
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2014, 11:13:38 am »

They worry their collective intellignece heads over cell phone packed with explosives on airplanes and never give an ounce of thought to a drone packed similarly and landing on a fuel car on a train in the middle of downtown Los Angeles...the cell phones don't concern me because I do not fly but drones..."thems," said Piggy, "I doesn't like one bit."
 
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Re: Drones
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2014, 12:41:45 pm »

Interesting item in today's NY Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/nyregion/two-men-arrested-after-drone-flies-near-new-york-police-helicopter.html?nlid=7061205&src=recpb

If the link is too long to click, go to NYTimes.com and search for "2 arrested after Drone Flies Close."
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