Drones – Love or Loath? (08.04.18)

The use of drone photography has exploded in recent years, but it is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the travel industry has been able to positively market locations and destinations, while on the other it may have negatively impacted on their customers’ experience at worldwide picture-perfect sites.

With powerful imagery reigning supreme these days, the opportunity to maximise on easy-to-use and financially-friendly drone equipment is hard to resist. They offer such a wide range of compelling and hitherto unseen photographs and videos, that the tourism industry, as well as tourists, have embraced drone (UAVs – unmanned aerial vehicles) equipment to the full.

It should come as no surprise. For a relatively cheap price, hotels, wilderness camps, travel companies, tourist offices and destination promotors are now able to offer exciting and innovative eye-in-the-sky windows to their wares.

The flipside is that in a world that constantly craves a higher standard of selfies and pictures, travellers, tourists, bloggers, vloggers, Uncle Tom Cobley et al are, in many cases, destroying visitor experiences at the very locations they wish to capture.

Security, privacy and noise issues add to a debate which has culminated in aviation authorities, destination custodians, local governments and a growing list of countries banning drones outright.

As a passionate photographer yet to embrace drone technology, I am certainly excited by the results of others, and have enjoyed talking to drone photographers in many traditional tourism destinations. Their passion for capturing the perfect image, or video stream, matches the most enthusiastic of stills photographers. Even if a gentleman flying his drone across the southern icefields of Iceland did tell me that his wife was fed up with him editing his video footage every night while still on holiday.

Sense of scale particularly prevalent with eye-in-the-sky imagery.

It remains a balancing act. Some national parks, public venues, cities and airports ban drones, whereas, as long as you respect local rules, you can enjoy using drones in many natural wilderness destinations – including most coastlines, live events and many, many remoter destinations such as the Himalayas, New Zealand and Antarctica.

Love or loathe the thought of drone photography, when trying to decide whether to embrace, or shun, this modern-day drone explosion, one of the first steps should be to check the most beneficial drone flying Apps with Air Maps.

Sense of absurdity, as well as scale.

Above all, fun.

Drone advice, outside the Kremlin, Moscow.