The Eagle View: Aerial Photography with Drones.

At the beginning of this year, Brian Tecero, a realtor from Santa Fe, NM, bought a Dji Phantom 2 Quadcopter and a GoPro Hero 3 camera. He sold a farm, which had been on sale for three years, in two weeks by showing clients the aerial photos and videos taken by the drone. “Flying over (the property) adds a whole other dimension,” Tercero said. “It’s powerful. And it was instrumental in getting the buyer to bite.” He believes that drones will become the “cookies in the living room” to real estate industry. “Consumers are going to start demanding this. Buyers searching for homes are looking for a better experience in home shopping.” Image “Drone” means any aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, defined by the Public Act 098-0569 of State of Illinois. Drones themselves have been around for a while. Until recently, they’ve been mostly known for military uses. But they’re being adopted now for a wide range of commercial purposes. In addition to real estate sales, drones are useful in firefighting, search-and-rescue operations, disaster relief, weather monitoring, hurricane tracking, crime scene documentation, crop dusting, water leak detection and research of environmental disasters. Image The FAA(Federal Aviation Administration) published a notice in Federal Register in 2007, which states that drones may not be used for commercial purposes. But the notice does not apply for personal use of aircraft models, which can be flew under 400 feet, at least three miles away from airports and populated areas. In March, Raphael Pirker, a swiss multirotors and FPV enthusiast also known as Trappy was fined 10.000$ by the FAA for allegedly flying over the premises of the University of Virginia, who had commissioned him some aerial footage of the campus taken by quadcopter. Congress recently requested that the FAA devise a plan to safely integrate unmanned aircraft by late 2015. Image Safety is clearly not the only concern about the drones. Many organizations and individuals consider the drone as a whole new invasion of privacy. Being even worse than other surveillance cameras, the drone is able to get images of people in public and private spaces. With the flexibility and controllability, the camera on the drone could catch you cooking in your house, drinking in the yard, jogging on the street etc. You think you can get rid of this if you live in a 50th floor condo? Too young, too simple, sometimes naive. The latest model of Dji Phantom 2 Vision Plus can fly as high as 1,000 feet or about one-fifth of a mile, which is about the standard height of the John Hancock Center. It can also go 800 meters away from you, or almost half a mile. But these heights and distances aren’t advisable because the operator can no longer see the drone. Meanwhile, that also means that if it’s under accurate control, you cannot see the drone operator, either. Image As an owner of two drones myself, I only used it for fun. It is just a remote helicopter that carries a camera. That gives me many amazing angles of photos that I normally cannot get. It also allows me to make all kinds of camera movements. With proper control, I can make tilt, pan, pedestal and dolly at the same time. Isn’t that amazing! However, I did crash it for several times, on the building, trees, ground. Fortunately, it never crashed onto any person, and hopefully it will not in the future. Image It always takes some time to have people accept new things, especially new technology. I personally believe that the drone aerial photography will have a huge market potential. Amazon is also considering using the drones to ship their products, which saves tons of money on delivering. Chinese farming companies are using the drones to monitor large scale of fields. With proper regulation and controlling, the drones will become a major aerial photography method that could be applied into many industries. Here below is a short video of my third aerial test,


Illinois General Assembly – Full Text of Public Act 098-0569. (n.d.). Illinois General Assembly – Full Text of Public Act 098-0569. Retrieved June 13, 2014, from

Zdanowicz, C. (1970, January 1). How to shoot amazing video from drones. CNN. Retrieved June 13, 2014, from

Santa Fe real estate agent takes to using drone. (2014, April 27). Yahoo! News. Retrieved June 13, 2014, from

Realtor’s drone takes marketing to new heights. (n.d.). The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved June 13, 2014, from

Personal Drones. (n.d.). Personal Drones. Retrieved June 13, 2014, from

Phantom 2 Vision+ | DJI. (n.d.). Phantom 2 Vision+ | DJI. Retrieved June 13, 2014, from

7 thoughts on “The Eagle View: Aerial Photography with Drones.

  1. Enjoyed your perspective as an actual drone owner. Also, I have a possibly dumb but sincere question: What’s the difference between a drone and a remote control helicopter? This subject is also timely as this week a viral video of a woman attacking a teenage boy for flying his drone over a public beach garnered a lot of attention on Gawker:

    I wouldn’t be shocked to see this behavior continue in the future as the use of drones becomes more prevalent.


    • I’m not quite sure about the difference between a drone and a remote helicopter. I think the drones are for other purposes like aerial photography, but the remote helicopter are just for fun, which is flying it.
      Watched the video, the woman is totally a freaking stupid and crazy hctib, who called the police ended up being arrested herself.
      As far as I know, the only state that prohibits personal uses of drone is Texas. For others, everyone can fly and film with it for personal purposes under the FAA’s regulation in public places.


  2. Your post made me think to a recent experience I had watching a series of images posted on Facebook. One of my connected friend posted few pics from a manifestation held in the Italian countryside. So, I quickly scrolled down FB because I was not truly interested in seeing these pics in ore detail. Shortly after I stopped when I saw an aerial photo of the same manifestation took with a drone. As you touched on in your post, I think that aerial photos are representing a new interesting way to present from a different and fascinating point of view something we are used to, like an home on the market from years or a manifestation
    like many others.


  3. I think the technology behind drones, and how it has been used for photography is incredible. Drones are able to access places that might be difficult for a normal human being to get, and in doing so, opens us up to a whole new realm of possibilities. With that said, the privacy issue is a big one, and weaponized drones bring up a lot of ethical issues. In this case though, what they have been able to accomplish is nothing but stunning. Great shots!


  4. This is absolutely amazing. When I see pictures like this I assume that they were captured by some guy who has millions of dollars in resources to fly a huge helicopter jet over an area to get a cool picture. However, the way you have described this topic is very interesting in the sense that Joe from up the street can capture this essence with our new technology. Technology can be scary in this sense because what becomes as an advantage can sometime come as a disadvantage as well.


  5. I wonder about the ways these drones are being used by film-makers to save money. Countless big money movies (like Collateral directed by Michael Mann) utilize conventional ways (helicopters probably) to create the establishing shots that make the cities come ALIVE, thus setting the tone of the movie in such vivid way. Collateral’s overhead night shots made LA into a creature of its own. These establishing shots painted the affective background of the story supporting an atmosphere of skyscrapers that live and breathe. Gosh, now to be able to dream about it doable (up to 400 ft.) on a student’s budget is awesome.

    And you have two. My birthday is coming up soon Nan.


  6. This is so cool! I want a drone too! lol I think it’s an amazing way to collect data, but also an intrusive element — and this aspect makes me nervous. I guess we shall se what the future brings.


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