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Old 06-02-2017, 05:39 PM   #7
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,077

Originally Posted by Decapod401 View Post
I agree. Most drone shots that I see immediately jump out and scream "drone shot". I think that they would be much more effective if they looked like they were taken from a non-existent adjacent hillside, and not from the overlook at Gore Canyon.
Amen, Doug. Just because a drone pilot can legally go to 399 ft. AGL (Above Ground Level) does not mean they should. How often do we scope out a potential shooting location and say: "Gee, I wish I could get up there" or "Man, if there were only a building there with a second floor window." Those are the ideal applications for these machines. The problem with excess altitude and/or down-angle is that the image no longer has a human perspective that most people can relate to. It becomes a bird or airplane perspective. And truthfully, at least with respect to trains, the bird perspective is not always more interesting.

I've been flying fixed-wing aircraft for 36 years. People often ask me why I don't shoot train pictures from airplanes and my response is pretty much always the same. Number one, I don't fly a helicopter. A drone is more like a helo than an airplane. Putting a fixed-wing airplane that is moving at perhaps 75 knots (slowest safe speed for gentle maneuvering) into just the right position for a shot, at the exact moment when the train is positioned perfectly is extremely difficult to do. The Blue Angels have an easier time getting two F-18s to cross the center of an airfield at the same time. Second, the perspective sucks. I'm looking at the top of the train as much or more than the side of it. Sure, for someone who doesn't fly, that unique perspective may initially be interesting because it is so different from what they are used to.....but that's a thrill that fades quickly for most. In my humble opinion, the percentage of train pictures that are improved by more than 100 ft. of elevation is pretty darn small.

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Link to my Flickr Albums. Lots of Steam Railroad stuff there from all over the US.

Last edited by KevinM; 06-02-2017 at 05:42 PM.
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