TWiP 387 – DJI Gets Inspired

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This week, Syl Arena & Don Komarechka join Frederick to share their thoughts on DJI's newest drone – the Inspire 1. Plus SkyPixel is a new website for aerial photographers & videographers & Kiera Knightly thinks that digital shooters aren't as connected to their subjects as film photographers.

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  1. I love your podcasts, however, in this one I believe you read too much into Keira Knightley’s statements. First off, she talked about “people who started on film still have the ability to see the person in front of them”. Since you all started in film, her theory is that you relate better to the person (subject) even though you’ve moved on to using digital systems. She isn’t saying you don’t check the digital screen, she’s saying you probably don’t get lost in the screen and forget about relating to the person you photograph.

    Assuming that her statement is true, photographers that started in film may be generally better versed in the basics, and may feel both more comfortable trusting themselves on the mechanics of photo taking and are accustomed to working more with the model for best results.
    Another issue is that I believe you misspelled both her first and last name in the link to the article.

  2. – I’m with Syl Arena on the drones; we need some principles to keep everyone safe.
    – I welcome competition to 500px, but not copycats, otherwise no point in using one vs the other.
    – Kiera Knightly’s statement has a bit of validity. Considering master portrait shooters like Peter Hurley and Sue Bryce, it is their interaction with the subject that gets them to the next level in producing a photo with expression and not just a technically well exposed/composed image. I don’t agree with her fully, we all need to check the LCD to ensure close to perfect results while being paid, but I acknowledge her feelings because the subject’s feelings do matter to get the right expression. I saw her shots, I don’t know if that’s how she poses, but the images have no soul to them in my opinion so they probably reflect her relationship with the photographer (no soul).

  3. I am just now listening to TWIP #387 and there are a lot of questions that folks have about how legal it is to fly Quads / UAVs. In being a pilot and a photographer, I feel that gives me almost NO additional credibility since the law is not totally clear yet 🙂 However there are a few points that I might be able to add in for folks who are interested.

    Firstly, let’s pretend we’re in an area no airports or military bases around us. In these areas we are most likely in what is called Class G airspace. This is uncontrolled and not monitored airspace which requires no communication with anyone. FAA rules still apply here, but you are on your own and can fly around visually without ever calling any tower, control center or filing any flight plans. Class G airspace typically goes from the ground up to 1200 feet BUT there are spots where it goes up to only 700 feet. The FAA “gently” suggests that folks operating their own recreational aircraft fly at no higher than 400 feet above the ground. Why 400 feet and not 1200? Likely several reasons with one being that the requirement for “real airplanes” is that they must fly AT LEAST 500 feet above the ground. So it’s likely that their suggestion is to keep 100 feet of distance for what would be called “low flying aircraft” which is very rare. While it might be legal to fly your Quad all the way up to 1200 feet, it’s suggested that you keep it at 400 feet.

    If you are closer to major cities then you need to learn what airports are around. For example, a good chunk of Chicagoland is covered by O’hare and Midway airport airspace. That means that from the airport to a radius of 5 nautical miles out, they own every inch of airspace above the ground. The Class G space mentioned previously does not apply when you are within a 5 nautical mile radius (5.75 regular miles) of an airport (with a tower). To fly in that area, technically you would have to contact the control tower and it’s not likely they would give you clearance to fly there, especially because these folks are busy directing real commercial or private flights.

    Secondly, and here’s where the future of Quads and UAVs will be decided…In congested areas such as large cities, aircraft must stay 1000 feet above the tallest object in a 2000 foot radius and 1000 feet away from people. Outside of “congested” areas, flights must stay at least 500 feet away from people and objects. It’s not likely that UAVs would face this kind of rule exactly, but the FAA has the ability to make it very inconvenient to launch a UAV if for example they rule that UAVs must keep that same 500 foot distance from people. Launching from most parks, beaches, streets and backyards could become illegal. At the moment the FAA simply has guidelines and suggestions for flying your UAV mostly based on “common sense”. If / when they do make a ruling on them officially, then we are indeed very likely to see tighter restrictions.