How Dronestagram is changing aerial photography

Cheap, remote-controlled aircraft are helping inspired photographers reach new, low-level altitudes
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Capungaero's winning image in Dronestagram's recent photo competition, taken in Bali Barat National Park, Indonesia
Capungaero's winning image in Dronestagram's recent photo competition, taken in Bali Barat National Park, Indonesia

Like Instagram? Love Bernhard Edmaier's photography? Then try Dronestagram, a great photo-sharing site that celebrates its first anniversary this month. Drone photography, which places remote-controlled cameras onto small unmanned aircraft, has been used by paparazzi photographers for some time now. However landscape, fine-art, nature and documentary photographers are starting to buy radio controlled quadcopters with dedicated cameras to extend their reach.

 

Jericsaniel's shot from Manila, in The Philippines took second place in Dronestagram's recent contest
Jericsaniel's shot from Manila, in The Philippines took second place in Dronestagram's recent contest

Though the results still depend on the skill of the photographer, we were taken with the winning images in a recent Dronestagram/ National Geographic contest. 

While the winning images don’t really impinge on the sweeping work of Edmaier and co., the photographers operate incredibly well at lower altitudes, capturing scenes just a few hundred feet above ground level.

 

Drone-cs's shot of Annecy, France took third place in Dronestagram's recent contest
Drone-cs's shot of Annecy, France took third place in Dronestagram's recent contest

It’s a distance most planes can’t dip down to, and brings a new, more human scale range of low-level aerial photography into focus. While most countries have passed laws governing the height and weight of remote controlled aircraft, there’s still a huge amount of photographic potential to be explored in these lower reaches. 

 

Bernhard Edmaier, Estuary, Landeyjarsandur, Iceland
Bernhard Edmaier, Estuary, Landeyjarsandur, Iceland

Take a look at Dronestragram’s winning images here. For more on Edmaier, go here, and for insight into another aerial pioneer take a look at Georg Gerster’s Paradise Lost, a unique archive of his beautiful aerial photographs of Persia.


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