Many a photographer has their eye on a drone these days and, since DJI launched the Mavic Pro in October last year, the prospect has become much more realistic in terms of both price and portability.
So it is that I finally took the plunge and sold some rarely-used camera gear (including my lovely Bronica GS-1) to free up funds and space for a Mavic Pro. After arriving on Wednesday, work and weather conspired to prevent a first test flight until Saturday but I think that first attempt can be deemed a success: I got some really nice images and learned a good deal about what it's like to actually use a drone for stills photography.
For the Mavics maiden flight, I drove 5 minutes up the road to the Severndroog Castle, an old memorial tower set on the edge of Oxleas Wood where there are some nice open fields for flying the drone and of course the castle itself for a good point of interest. It's a lovely place to have on the doorstep, particularly in London.
While Alex had his morning nap and Liz kindly stayed behind to watch over him, I used the opportunity to dash up and see what I could do with a first test flight. I lucked into a short window of beautiful, fine weather (a huge thunderstorm rolled in 10 minutes after I got home) and so was able to complete three flights, using up the three batteries I got with the Mavic.
By the end of the morning I had taken 255 raw photos and already got some keepers including todays shot, above.
Severndroog is a location I've photographed in passing before but—being a tall, narrow tower tightly surrounded by forest—it's not an easy one to photograph well from the ground. The Mavic opens everything up and allows you to show the tower in its full setting.
This is just the kind of possibility I was hoping for from the Mavic and I'm excited to see what else it can add to my photography. I'm really pleased to get such solid results on day one and I'm sure there's much better to come!