Anyone into drone photography?

AcornTheBetta

Member
Hi all!
I was wondering if anyone is into drone photography? I was thinking of getting into the hobby and was seeking some advice. Thanks!
 

John58ford

Member
If you are interested in doing anything other than flying around an abandoned parking lot or dirt field, I would look into getting your faa part 107 before spending the money required to get a stable photography platform. It's not required "technically" unless you fly for money, youtube with a monetized account counts as money just FYI. The real reason I say this though, with a 107, you can apply for a waiver to do things you otherwise cannot do, as without the 107, you cannot get a waiver. These waivers could be as simple as to fly in your local neighborhood park, or over a different nearby populated area. Maybe fly up to a higher altitude. They could be complex, like a waiver to fly at low altitude near a neighboring airport with 2 way communication. By near, I mean within 5 miles, and low altitude usually less than 400ft agl. Usually a basic cellphone to the tower will suffice.

The trick to all this is: a .5 lb or heavier quad needs to be marked with a tail number linked to you or your guardian with or without the 107. Any remote aircraft, including those below .5 lbs are forbidden to fly over a populated area or moving vehicle. It's also illegal to fly within 5 miles of an airport (even small airports). Illegal to fly above 400' agl. Fly at a state or national park? Nope. The list goes on.

It's not a big deal for a young kid to fly a cheap drone at a park, even if it gets confiscated usually there's no real punishment. If you are flying a 3 lb dji phantom or larger, you will have a few thousand dollars tied up in it and the losses are more significant. Also due to the risk of bodily or property damage potential flying one of those, people and enforcement are more likely to pursue legal action. People are also more likely to file harassment suits if you fly a decent camera rig over their property, and it will stick if below 40' altitude in several municipalities. A cheapo toy doesn't look as "privacy invading" as a hovering dslr that screams like a damaged hornets nest.


That said, I think you may be young for a 107, but I'm not sure if there might be a waiver process for teen pilots. In the case of my kids, who like the drones I bring home occasionally, I have introduced them to stunt drones and small fpv. Tiny whoop size aircraft make a small world seem huge, if you can get out on a clear day in a park no one will call you in. If you get a tiny whoop into an nice rafter area or other small place where humans don't fit the footage is amazing to scale and very rewarding. I would invest in that size aircraft if I were a young person, couldn't get licenced, and didn't have an abandoned field to fly in. It is a rewarding hobby, it's an awesome way to spend the work day if you get lucky enough. You should definitely try it out but with commercial drones getting more common, don't try to stretch the law.
 
  • Thread Starter

AcornTheBetta

Member
John58ford said:
If you are interested in doing anything other than flying around an abandoned parking lot or dirt field, I would look into getting your fcc part 107 before spending the money required to get a stable photography platform. It's not required "technically" unless you fly for money, youtube with a monetized account counts as money just FYI. The real reason I say this though, with a 107, you can apply for a waiver to do things you otherwise cannot do, as without the 107, you cannot get a waiver. These waivers could be as simple as to fly in your local neighborhood park, or over a different nearby populated area. Maybe fly up to a higher altitude. They could be complex, like a waiver to fly at low altitude near a neighboring airport with 2 way communication. By near, I mean within 5 miles, and low altitude usually less than 400ft agl. Usually a basic cellphone to the tower will suffice.

The trick to all this is: a .5 lb or heavier quad needs to be marked with a tail number linked to you or your guardian with or without the 107. Any remote aircraft, including those below .5 lbs are forbidden to fly over a populated area or moving vehicle. It's also illegal to fly within 5 miles of an airport (even small airports). Illegal to fly above 400' agl. Fly at a state or national park? Nope. The list goes on.

It's not a big deal for a young kid to fly a cheap drone at a park, even if it gets confiscated usually there's no real punishment. If you are flying a 3 lb dji phantom or larger, you will have a few thousand dollars tied up in it and the losses are more significant. Also due to the risk of bodily or property damage potential flying one of those, people and enforcement are more likely to pursue legal action. People are also more likely to file harassment suits if you fly a decent camera rig over their property, and it will stick if below 40' altitude in several municipalities. A cheapo toy doesn't look as "privacy invading" as a hovering dslr that screams like a damaged hornets nest.


That said, I think you may be young for a 107, but I'm not sure if there might be a waiver process for teen pilots. In the case of my kids, who like the drones I bring home occasionally, I have introduced them to stunt drones and small fpv. Tiny whoop size aircraft make a small world seem huge, if you can get out on a clear day in a park no one will call you in. If you get a tiny whoop into an nice rafter area or other small place where humans don't fit the footage is amazing to scale and very rewarding. I would invest in that size aircraft if I were a young person, couldn't get licenced, and didn't have an abandoned field to fly in. It is a rewarding hobby, it's an awesome way to spend the work day if you get lucky enough. You should definitely try it out but with commercial drones getting more common, don't try to stretch the law.
Isn't it a FAA part 107? For that one, you need to be 16 which is a bit of a problem.

Yeah I know a lot of the airport and max altitude rules.

I wanted to get a DJI Mavic Mini (Recommended by my ski coach who owns too many drones lol). That is one of the smaller ones (249g or ~0.55lbs) so it will be a bit less noticeable.

Yep! I am too young by 3 years. Do you know any other ways I could get a license to fly?
 

SlickNick

Member
I used to have a hubsan 501s nothing special cost about $300. I had a blast with it though I’ll share a photo I took just taking off from my front yard and flying it up as high as it could go. I did a bit of editing to it. By the way I live in Arizona.
 

John58ford

Member
AcornTheBetta said:
Isn't it a FAA part 107? For that one, you need to be 16 which is a bit of a problem.

Yeah I know a lot of the airport and max altitude rules.

I wanted to get a DJI Mavic Mini (Recommended by my ski coach who owns too many drones lol). That is one of the smaller ones (249g or ~0.55lbs) so it will be a bit less noticeable.

Yep! I am too young by 3 years. Do you know any other ways I could get a license to fly?
Unfortunately at that age I'm not aware of any legal way to get you over anything worth taking a picture of unless you are controlling with the supervision of a licenced operator. That's not to say I would think you to be any less capable than an adult if your were to pay attention during training. My experience with these is fairly limited in the civilian world and I went with the smaller aircraft for my kids after asking advice from an instructor at work.

You are right that the mavic mini is smaller, it likely won't be noticed by the average passer by as more than a toy. As long as you don't act foolish with it you will likely get away with playing with it and low occupancy parks and such.

My UAV courses covered the dji line up from a couple years ago, p4p, mavic and several non civilian type quad rotor and fixed wing. With the dji, my only real advice is be very careful in cinema mode. It's like playing a first person shooter with awful lag, it's the only time I have crashed within line of sight/heads up lol. Stay away from airports and stadiums as they are the most likely to give you the shake down, followed by national and state parks. Many event coordinators are getting licensing for counter uas equipment on situation based waivers as well. There are also USCG and USN assets authorized to disable uas within 1000 feet of operations so stay clear of that as well (like fleet week). If you keep to low population areas under 400' with that little drone you should be good to go.

The good thing about dji is that for everything you sacrifice in privacy, you gain a ton in software. If there is a normal no fly or restricted zone it shows it on the app. It won't tell you not to fly over people though so use your common sense. One thing I like to practice that is super useful is orbit. Avoid flying in "headless" mode, it is a crutch and you will have better situational awareness without it.

Edited: yes, you were correct on FAA 107 btw. I get swiping pretty fast on my phone and miss a ton of errors, I'm also horrible about reading back through. Some of the things the mods have edited for me are pretty entertaining as well.
 

fish 321

Member
Haa! Sounds like I have been doing some pretty illegal stuff then. I never really pay attention to those laws as people could care less about a drone where I live. I also live like 3 miles away from an airport so I can't really get away from it, the surrounding area is just thick woods and nothing much to film.
 
  • Thread Starter

AcornTheBetta

Member
John58ford said:
Unfortunately at that age I'm not aware of any legal way to get you over anything worth taking a picture of unless you are controlling with the supervision of a licenced operator. That's not to say I would think you to be any less capable than an adult if your were to pay attention during training. My experience with these is fairly limited in the civilian world and I went with the smaller aircraft for my kids after asking advice from an instructor at work.

You are right that the mavic mini is smaller, it likely won't be noticed by the average passer by as more than a toy. As long as you don't act foolish with it you will likely get away with playing with it and low occupancy parks and such.

My UAV courses covered the dji line up from a couple years ago, p4p, mavic and several non civilian type quad rotor and fixed wing. With the dji, my only real advice is be very careful in cinema mode. It's like playing a first person shooter with awful lag, it's the only time I have crashed within line of sight/heads up lol. Stay away from airports and stadiums as they are the most likely to give you the shake down, followed by national and state parks. Many event coordinators are getting licensing for counter uas equipment on situation based waivers as well. There are also USCG and USN assets authorized to disable uas within 1000 feet of operations so stay clear of that as well (like fleet week). If you keep to low population areas under 400' with that little drone you should be good to go.

The good thing about dji is that for everything you sacrifice in privacy, you gain a ton in software. If there is a normal no fly or restricted zone it shows it on the app. It won't tell you not to fly over people though so use your common sense. One thing I like to practice that is super useful is orbit. Avoid flying in "headless" mode, it is a crutch and you will have better situational awareness without it.

Edited: yes, you were correct on FAA 107 btw. I get swiping pretty fast on my phone and miss a ton of errors, I'm also horrible about reading back through. Some of the things the mods have edited for me are pretty entertaining as well.
Dang! Does licensed operator just mean someone with an FAA 107?

Yeah especially since it's like palm sized. I won't do anything dumb.

Ok. Thanks! I would most likely be flying in my neighborhood which is in the hills and I don't have too many neighbors. I wanted to start with some simple stuff like drone shots for my friends and stuff.

Oh nice!

Lol.
 

John58ford

Member
AcornTheBetta said:
Dang! Does licensed operator just mean someone with an FAA 107?

Yeah especially since it's like palm sized. I won't do anything dumb.

Ok. Thanks! I would most likely be flying in my neighborhood which is in the hills and I don't have too many neighbors. I wanted to start with some simple stuff like drone shots for my friends and stuff.

Oh nice!

Lol.
Yeah, if you can get in with a club or someone old enough to be licensed 107, and that person were to pull a waiver for a cool area or event, I would believe you could fly aircraft under their supervision. We pretty much do all of our training that way. The instructors that fly out to train us are operating under our waiver for airspace even though they are the ones teaching us about the specific platforms.

It's a bummer it has to be this complicated to fly high or where there are people but it's really for the best. Before there was much knowledge or enforcement I saw an unregistered larger quad rotor flying over a car show hit a fully restored 58 corvette. It caused significant damage and the operator was never found (last I had heard). With a waiver and licenced operator flying a registered drone the damage would obviously have been owned up to. A smaller drone probably wouldn't have caused damage.

I don't see anything wrong with flying as a recreational flyer (non-licenced)with the little drone, just really look out for those areas I mentioned above and pay very close attention to not flying over people or moving vehicles. One "Karen" type getting a video of your drone "over" them and you will have the wrong kind of attention.

When you get the bug and decide to go bigger, you will need to think about expanding your legal capabilities. With the factory blades on a phantom 4 pro we can hear the aircraft at ~2000 yards away 600+ ft altitude (we have a good waiver for altitude at work) on a clear day. You can't hear a conversation if it's hovering within 10 feet and it's louder yet in sport mode orbiting. It's hard to get away with even testing software if I have to take it home, the neighbors hear it from inside their houses and come out to see what's going on when I spin up in the front yard; and to do that I first have to call the airport that's about 4 miles away so they can put out a notice to nearby aircraft. Private pilots I have found to be the most consistent in reporting my location as they literally have nothing better to do. I know the private pilots make reports to tower as I have gotten a couple calls from the local tower to ask if I had forgotten to call in when other (likely unregistered) people fly in my usual testing areas. There are currently systems being cleared for use that can triangulate a drone operator and "finger print" the signal, once these are common, I wouldn't want to be an unlicensed operator without a waiver and permission in those areas. Once you get fingerprinted you could light off anywhere within the area of detection and be imediately identified, triangulated and contacted by the appropriate law enforcement. Enforcement will only get stricter as more commercial drones come online.

Flying big quads inside is pretty fun though. In precision flight modes we were able to trash an office, the rotor wash could toss manuals off desks and knock pictures off the wall, with a pencil taped to the skids you can log into a workstation and send an email with patience. If a p4p size quad makes contact with a cubicle wall it does trash the rotor pretty well and tear the fabric open, they can cut a basic office chair wide open too. That's exactly why my kids think they are cool, and my wife won't let me spin the rotors in our house lol. The smaller drones are ok though.

Here's one fun picture of what happens if a p4 falls out of the sky from 1000' agl. I really wish I was allowed to use these for photography, I have seen some pretty stuff up there.

It really took the hit pretty well since the ground was soft, but the impact had enough a force it completely sheared the camera gimbal off. I looked at pretty closely and it was a total loss. That's pretty significant as I am extremely well equipped for electronic repair.
 

86 ssinit

Member
I have the DJI mavic air. Which is a small drone. It is registered. Thing with DJI is mine has software that won’t let it fly in restricted areas. From its internal map. For me I have an airport a little over 10 miles away. Within the last year my neighborhood became a no fly zone. Thing won’t e en take off . They’ve made a lot more restrictions since I got it. So for me the only time I fly is away from home. I’ve taken it on vacation with no problems and flown in other countries without problems. Less restrictions outside the US.
Fun toys at first. Mine will follow you so it’s cool for action sports. But many people don’t like them! Everybody seems to think I’m looking at them . I’ve been yelled at many times. Things been shot at out by the in-laws house. Was fun but I haven’t used it in at least 6 months.
 
  • Thread Starter

AcornTheBetta

Member
John58ford said:
Yeah, if you can get in with a club or someone old enough to be licensed 107, and that person were to pull a waiver for a cool area or event, I would believe you could fly aircraft under their supervision. We pretty much do all of our training that way. The instructors that fly out to train us are operating under our waiver for airspace even though they are the ones teaching us about the specific platforms.

It's a bummer it has to be this complicated to fly high or where there are people but it's really for the best. Before there was much knowledge or enforcement I saw an unregistered larger quad rotor flying over a car show hit a fully restored 58 corvette. It caused significant damage and the operator was never found (last I had heard). With a waiver and licenced operator flying a registered drone the damage would obviously have been owned up to. A smaller drone probably wouldn't have caused damage.

I don't see anything wrong with flying as a recreational flyer (non-licenced)with the little drone, just really look out for those areas I mentioned above and pay very close attention to not flying over people or moving vehicles. One "Karen" type getting a video of your drone "over" them and you will have the wrong kind of attention.

When you get the bug and decide to go bigger, you will need to think about expanding your legal capabilities. With the factory blades on a phantom 4 pro we can hear the aircraft at ~2000 yards away 600+ ft altitude (we have a good waiver for altitude at work) on a clear day. You can't hear a conversation if it's hovering within 10 feet and it's louder yet in sport mode orbiting. It's hard to get away with even testing software if I have to take it home, the neighbors hear it from inside their houses and come out to see what's going on when I spin up in the front yard; and to do that I first have to call the airport that's about 4 miles away so they can put out a notice to nearby aircraft. Private pilots I have found to be the most consistent in reporting my location as they literally have nothing better to do. I know the private pilots make reports to tower as I have gotten a couple calls from the local tower to ask if I had forgotten to call in when other (likely unregistered) people fly in my usual testing areas. There are currently systems being cleared for use that can triangulate a drone operator and "finger print" the signal, once these are common, I wouldn't want to be an unlicensed operator without a waiver and permission in those areas. Once you get fingerprinted you could light off anywhere within the area of detection and be imediately identified, triangulated and contacted by the appropriate law enforcement. Enforcement will only get stricter as more commercial drones come online.

Flying big quads inside is pretty fun though. In precision flight modes we were able to trash an office, the rotor wash could toss manuals off desks and knock pictures off the wall, with a pencil taped to the skids you can log into a workstation and send an email with patience. If a p4p size quad makes contact with a cubicle wall it does trash the rotor pretty well and tear the fabric open, they can cut a basic office chair wide open too. That's exactly why my kids think they are cool, and my wife won't let me spin the rotors in our house lol. The smaller drones are ok though.

Here's one fun picture of what happens if a p4 falls out of the sky from 1000' agl. I really wish I was allowed to use these for photography, I have seen some pretty stuff up there.

It really took the hit pretty well since the ground was soft, but the impact had enough a force it completely sheared the camera gimbal off. I looked at pretty closely and it was a total loss. That's pretty significant as I am extremely well equipped for electronic repair.
Ahh so if my dad got licenced, he could just stand there and watch me while I fly.

Yeah. That sounds like quite the crash...

Yeah I will. The most likely thing will be me flying around my yard.

That sounds very loud. I don't live that close to any airports so I think I'm fine.

Ooo nice! My ski coach has flown a $1,600 drone with a $250,000 camera on it.

Ouch! I can't remember what my dad was working on, but I remember this, it fell from 80,000 feet and did not look pretty. This was for work since he works with satellite stuff...
 

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