Area man launches aerial photography business

Phillips captured this majestic shot of Brownsville and the surrounding areas utilizing aerial photography. Photo courtesy of Joseph Phillips.

Phillips captured this majestic shot of Brownsville and the surrounding areas utilizing aerial photography. Photo courtesy of Joseph Phillips.

Pennsylvania Bridges chatted with Joseph Phillips, who recently launched an aerial photography business. Here are the details about his new operation and how he became interested in aerial photography, in his own words:

Falcon Photo and Oils is a business created to capture different methods of producing imagery. It is primarily a combination of aerial photography and oil painting that I see myself pursuing. There are some issues about quadcopters and drones that warrant a closer look. Laws are murky, interest is exploding and issues of safety and privacy come up a lot. I get a kick out of flying and this is a form of exploration.

My first flight with a quadcopter lasted exactly three seconds. I got the bug from that fleeting moment with a palm sized quad. I had wanted to get a really nice model with a 4k resolution digital camera that had position stabilization and awesome range, but I was a bit intimidated, so I started with a kiddie drone and worked my way up, using a plan. I flew fifty times with a beginner quad and crashed it many times, in many ways, logging and learning, repairing and flying. The easier it became, the more urgently I wanted to move to a more technical model for taking and framing stunning aerial photo and video. My training lasted three months.

With cool software like GIMP, I can edit images and video and share them with clients on my laptop, put the finished work on a thumb drive and give it to the client within an hour of flight setup.

My goal is the “lunch break” session, a one hour production limit.

Safety issues pop up in the news and on social networks a lot. I have insurance to protect myself and others and their property in the event of a crash. All of my flights are logged digitally on my smartphone’s pilot app. Flight details such as location and altitudes are available immediately if needed.

Laws differ from state to state on both drone usage and open carry laws. My biggest worry is being shot down. I keep a sign with me with a QR code on it so anyone who gets hurly and burly about my whirligig can start capturing data about me and my shenanigans while I can continue to pilot the craft safely back to its launch point.

Flying is about scaling up abilities and knowledge of the rotorcraft you use and how and why you use it.

The possibilities just keep growing.

Since I purchased the drone I have performed two upgrades by downloading and running firmware updates that the manufacturer provided in order to fix bugs or add another stylish Ikea monkey to its cornucopia of blessed cool parts. Some of these operations were announced months ago.

For example, I can now get my drone to follow me, to circle a point of interest with the camera locked on it the whole time, to execute a series of waypoints, and to be able to invert directional controls when flying the thing back to me. These devices will be able to perform more and more customizable tasks.

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