To Infinity and Beyond

Dirk Dallas and his drone photography

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We love fresh perspectives and anyone who helps us to see things in a new light: Dirk Dallas and his drone photography do just that. He shows us how gravity is no longer a limitation of art: drones mean you can capture angles, places and people that you never could before and he has taken full advantage. The collection of photos showcased on his site, From Where I Drone, capture landscapes unseen and patterns in our planet that the human eye, from our pavement perspective, simply cannot see.

The father of three, whose drone films were an official selection at the 2015 New York Drone Film Festival and again this year for the 2016 festival, lives in Southern California and has spent 10-years playing with toy helicopters and RC airplanes. It was this fascination with flying that lead him to buy a DJI Phantom Quadcopter and begin his aerial photography journey. His blog showcases some of his favourite work while also acting as a guide for anyone looking to get into aerial cinematography: ‘I wanted it to be the website I wished I would have found when I was getting started’ he explains.

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There is a sense of peace that envelopes all Dirk’s images – we are observers, looking down on the bustling beauty of the world, from our vantage point high above the chit-chat and the car horns. But there is also a disparate element to his work: the shadow of technology – fast moving, constantly developing and pushing the boundaries of what we thought possible. This mixture of the man-made and the natural will have you falling in love with our planet all over again.

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We sat down with Dirk to discuss all things drone:

The Plus: Did you first start flying your drone with the intention of capturing such striking photographs?
Dirk Dallas:
I really got into drones because I wanted a flying camera. Back when I first started I had no idea where to begin but I knew I wanted to shoot from new angles. I didn’t know what kind of drone to get but I researched it, asked questions online, and finally bought my first drone. The technology since I first started has really developed and it is now easier than ever to capture stunning aerial imagery with a drone.

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TP: What is your favourite drone?
DD:
My favourite drone is the DJI Phantom 3 because it’s small yet has an impressive 4K camera.

TP: What kind of views do you enjoy capturing the most?
DD:
I love shooting at the beach and I love capturing patterns from the air because it really is an untapped angle, and subject, that we have never really seen before.

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TP: How many different countries have you travelled with your drones?
DD:
So far I have been to three and I hope to go to a few more this year, so stay tuned!

TP: Have you had any accidents with your drones?
DD:
I have had a couple of minor accidents with some older drones – they have hit into or gotten stuck in trees and have hit the ground before. Like all things the more you practice the better you get and thankfully I haven’t had a crash in a long time – a streak I hope to continue!

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TP: What’s your view on drone photography’s future?
DD:
Drones are going to get smarter and smarter so that accidents become rare. The first phase in the drone world was just able to get them to fly and the second, to equip them with GPS satellites for table flight and automatic flying. The next phase will be preventing accidents as the drones learn more about their surroundings. This is great news for drone photography as it will eliminate the worry of them crashing or hurting people.

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TP: What are your top 3 tips for anyone who is new to the world of drones?
DD:
Tip #1 – Know the drone rules! I wrote a blog post in hopes that I could help educate newbie flyers since I want to make sure everyone is safe! You can check it out here.

Tip #2 – Like all great photos you must have a concept and subject. Make sure there is a point to the photo you are taking. Ask yourself, what do you want the future observer of your photos to think or feel? Thinking about that will take your photography to the next level because then you’ll start thinking more about telling visual stories.

Tip #3 – Try shooting in lower light situations with a slow shutter. The drone cameras have many of the features that a normal camera has so experiment with the different settings. That way you can get some interesting light effects from angles that have never been shown before – like this example.

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