Drone Pilot Bucket List #28: Fly into a Barn

Yep, that's a barn.

I love epic aerial views of flying through tight spaces. I caught the bug to buy a drone, because I enjoyed watching the videos as they flew through arches or amusement park rides. I knew I had to get a drone and I wanted to develop my skills to the level I could achieve such stunts. I’ve flown my Inspire 1 drone about twenty times and my confidence has grown with each flight. I’m so excited about flying that it’s all I talk about with friends. They are gracious, though, because they entertain my animated and endless talking about drones while I use excessive hand motions. Many of them have given me suggestions of great places to fly. Recently, my friend Bill Hicks offered me a place where I could fly my drone into a barn, so I jumped at the chance.

Pretty Soon I'll be Flying through (or into) carousels 

I’m learning to fly a drone while simultaneously learning photography. Sure, we all take pictures, but how do you make them look good? I mean, really good. I’m talking about those colorful pictures with brilliant clouds. Those are my favorite to view and I couldn’t figure out how to create them. Recently I started a tutorial by Trey Ratcliff, a renowned High Dynamic Range (HDR) photographer, and I am loving it! In a short time I’ve made significant strides in taking HDR photos.

HDR brings out all of the details... including that dead Christmas tree in the lawn.

Photoshop for President 2016

I’ve been discovering the power of Photoshop. Sure, I’ve heard all about the program, but I didn’t think it was anything I could learn. It seems I was more likely to learn Spanish than Photoshop. Since I’ve been following along with Trey’s tutorial (affiliate link) I’ve made good progress and discovered some of the basics. There is one function in the software that totally blows my mind. It’s the spot healing tool. With one click you can make something disappear and Photoshop will replace it with pixel magic. I’ve used the spot healing to erase high-tension power lines that spanned the length of my picture. Way cool!

(off topic: I had a nightmare that Photoshop was written in Spanish. AHH!)

Mind = BLOWN!

We Could 'Spot Heal' Everyone!

All this Photoshop power creates an interesting integrity challenge for commercial drone use. Many are aware that drone photography is useful for selling houses. As I flew around this house I noticed a number of little things that were visually distracting. For example, there was plastic furniture turned over on the deck and a dead Christmas tree tossed on the front lawn. Also, the house could use a fresh stain and there was some moss on the roof. All of those things are easy to edit away in photoshop.

If a drone pilot is paid to provide photos of a home, and he wants to ensure the highest quality photos, how much does he edit out the flaws of the home and property? I acknowledge this dilemma isn’t new to photography. Yet, it seems, since drones see more places with more views that they are more likely to see flaws which were hidden from the traditional camera view. Therefore, this is a unique challenge for commercial drone photography.

What dead Christmas tree? Who said anything about a dead Christmas tree?

It's not done until it's perfect, or done. Whichever comes first.

Myself, I like to create the best possible product. Therefore, when I edited the picture which included the dead Christmas tree I cropped it out. I felt that the spot healing tool would have been an integrity violation. You might be thinking, “wait, did he fly commercially?” No, I flew so I could practice flying into a barn. Also, I’m learning my craft and developing my flight skills, photography skills, and Photoshop skills. (Nun-chuck skills… bowhunting skills… computer hacking skills…)

I Fly by the Seat of My Pants

Lastly, I don’t see it as my problem if the home owner neglects to take appropriate action to make their home as presentable as possible. But I’m not one to judge, because I also have a dead Christmas tree in my backyard. At the end of every summer we set it on fire and makes a HUGE flame. Come to think of it… I should get drone video of that!

My flying does need to improve. I’m still overly cautious and my maneuvers aren’t very smooth. And I was sorely lacking a camera operator for this flight. (My wife is my cam-op and she’s a rockstar! But she wasn’t available, because she has a day job.) You can see in the video I created that I’m a bit jerky on the sticks. Sure I could edit it down, but I wouldn’t be left with much usable content if I did. Therefore, I created a four minute video of flying around a house and a barn. But hey, the video length and song length matched so I was even less motivated to edit down the video.

You've won a Prize!

Wow, you've made it this far into the post? I'm impressed! As a special prize for you I would like to extend an invite. If you follow my Instragram account I will deliver awesome Inspire 1 pictures and video to you. I won't post pictures of my dog, I promise... unless they are taken from the drone! 

Just click that +Follow button below    vvv

HDR photo viewed from Inspire 1 Drone at 100'

I am loving making HDR Inspire 1 photos!

Bummer, I forgot to Spot Heal out the "photomatix" water mark. Oh well.