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Of Drones and Poles

One of the big trends in photography and video is the use of drones, or UAV's. Drone sales have exploded worldwide, and with HD video capabilities they are being used extensively in various applications. We've all seen stunning aerial shots and videos taken from drones.

I believe that drone use will continue to grow, both for personal use and for commercial use. The difficulty for commercial operators is that the regulatory framework is unclear in Canada. As of now, commercial operators are required to obtain a Special Flight Operations Permit (SFOC) from Transport Canada for each flight. This is cumbersome and time consuming. and of course, if the weather doesn't cooperate that day you can't fly. There are also a number of restrictions on drone use, including no use in built up areas; that includes virtually all urban areas.

Transport Canada has been working on coming up with new regulations for commercial drone use. Hopefully, we will see these new regulations this year. I also hope that they will come up with regulations that are streamlined and effective.

In the meantime, I've chosen to use an extendable pole system, which can be very effective in changing the perspective of a photo. My pole will extend to 20 feet, with a mini ball head and camera mount on top. I use my Olympus OM-D, which is a great micro four-thirds camera with wifi capability. I can use my phone or iPad to view the image, and release the shutter remotely. The results can be tremendous! For example, I can reach above a hedge or fence to get a better view of a home's front yard. Also, homes that are set above street level pose perspective challenges. A pole can effectively change the angle of view.

Here's an example of a photo I took with the pole. Being able to change the perspective by reaching above the hedge gives a different viewpoint of the home and the front yard.

Extended pole photo

I'm still considering purchasing a drone, but I'm looking forward to seeing what the new Transport Canada regulations look like. Stay tuned!

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