We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.(George Bernard Shaw)
As a photographer with thirty years of experience under his belt, I've felt for a long time that nothing can – or should – surprise me. Those among you who are a little older will surely remember the well-known Yugoslavian slogan “Nothing should surprise us!”, launched in then-Yugoslavia in 1979; as I’m sure all of you remember well, Yugoslavia fell apart a little more than a decade after that. So, what can we learn from this story? Well, that something can always surprise us, even when we believe that it's not going to happen. So, what surprised me? A new toy in the wide array of photography equipment that I’ve accumulated in my cupboard over the years; a new toy that even has its own pet name – I call it “Dronči”... A flying toy that I’ve wanted for a really long time and that actually made its way to me on its own after a serendipitous and totally unexpected coincidence.
My students and participants in my courses will surely remember one of the basic rules to prepare a good classic photographic report that I've been teaching for years on various occasions. The rule goes as follows: one (or more) photograph with the greatest ability to take us where the story is taking place, which is the only way to convey the atmosphere and the rhythm of a certain place for the spectator (or reader). And what can be better than an aerial shot? But things haven’t always been as simple as they now seem to be. Wickedly expensive plane, helicopter, and balloon flights are something almost completely out of reach for the average photographer; in addition, they are also extremely unreliable as far as lighting is concerned, since they have to be prepared, reserved and paid for in advance, while sticking to an extremely precise time schedule. Nowadays, however, things have changed drastically with the development of modern technology and the invention of drones. If you're willing to pay the price of a one-hour helicopter flight, you can now park your own “little helicopter” in your photography equipment cupboard. The vastly improved technology of the latest generations of drones have made it possible to take photos of sufficient quality which can then be used for countless purposes. The quality is maybe not appropriate for anything which would require enlarging the photos to a size larger than a couple of square metres but is definitely enough for a double page spread in any magazine. And that’s who I work for... The term “toy” that I used above is actually not even a slightly appropriate term to describe this extremely powerful “machine”, making videos in 4K resolution and taking 20MP photographs with a high-quality Hasselblade camera lens. Recently, we have been filming a documentary co-produced by RTV Slovenia; aerial shots made by a drone were perfectly suitable to be broadcast in the highest resolution allowed by TV coverage. The model we used was a much older and less performing predecessor of my drone. This handy device opens up completely new ways of taking photographs and watching videos; my last trip to Namibia that I just got back home from this week was heavily influenced by taking aerial shots while flying a drone. Of course, I’m not fooling myself: I know that I’m light years away from being able to fly skilfully while taking good shots (or videos), but I’m still having a ton of fun. And practice makes perfect, after all ...
Nowadays, you need permission to fly a drone, and there is a great deal of restrictions involved. If anyone wants to know how I handle it, here is my answer. It’s a very simple one and the same as with all other rules and limitations in my life: “F*** ’em!” :)
Below, you can see a couple of shots, and just in case somebody thought that I'd forgotten the good old (earth-bound) photography, I also prepared some classic points of view from a more down-to-earth perspective.
Klemen Zupan – Zupo, thank you so much for making me realise that even after a career in photography spanning over thirty years, I can still learn something totally new (and take so much joy in doing so)!
My life-motto is “You can sleep when you’re dead!” and I stick to it every day in my life! I worked with the Company “Our Space appliances” for many years now, and together we have prepared numerous successful events, lectures and team-building articles for you to enjoy and read. The best part of it all is when Jure (the CEO of Our Space appliances) comes to visit my family and me at the seaside and together we can grill a tasty fish or 2. That’s when life becomes even better…