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Old 08-02-2019, 01:44 PM   #17
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KevinM's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,185

First, let me apologize to Spacetrain for hijacking his thread. My fault for digressing. I do think his basic questions about the image under discussion were addressed by those of us who commented. In general, the shot could be made more appealing with better editing, but in the end, RP might still choose not to include it in the database here. Still, if you see something unusual, Spacetrain, by all means shoot it and hang on to it.

Originally Posted by JT Photography View Post
As for getting lower, I prefer not to tangle with trees and power lines or potentially distract a driver just for a photo. Flying at 20 ft AGL is nerve wracking and just an accident waiting to happen. I suppose I might be a little obsessed about the horizon - but there is something about having it there that just makes it seem more appealing then a random end with cut off houses and trees.
Hopefully, the discussion that Loyd and I were engaging in did not come across as a criticism of your work in particular. Rather, I think we were just expressing a mutual frustration that drone pilots in general, fly too high and shoot at angles which we personally believe to be too extreme to be pleasing at all. I found the aerial of the steam locomotive to be a great example of what I mean. Honestly, its an aerial of a neighborhood, not really a railroad shot. Yes, I can tell there's a steam engine there, but without your data telling me it's a Mikado type, I never would have known that from the photo. I guess in my mind, if I can't see any of the machinery on that steam engine, I don't find it of value as a railroad photo. Just my opinion, as a guy who spends most of his vacation traveling the country to shoot steam.

While I don't own a drone, I have thought about getting one, not as a primary camera, but as a tool in the bag, to be used in those situations when there just isn't a ground-based camera position from which I can frame the desired scene. I would use a drone as a replacement for the hill that's not there, or the overpass I wish were there, or the boat I don't own. I would probably never get about 100 ft.......and be at 20 ft. most of the time. I would also probably never shoot more than 45 degrees below level and I consider even that to be a bit extreme. I've been flying fixed wing airplanes for over 35 years and I've often been asked why I don't shoot trains from the air. The most obvious answer is that I'm too busy flying the airplane , but I also think the perspective is just not appealing. It's great for hurricane damage assessment photography......for railfan shots not so much.

Originally Posted by JT Photography View Post
Go on youtube and look at the videos of idiots flying their drones thousands of feet into the air. Drone use will not last forever. In my personal opinion, sometime within the next few years, there will be a major accident ending recreational drone use. You either won't be able to fly at all or it will be a operational nightmare going as far as having to talk to an air traffic controller. I personally intend to to use my drone all I can before then.
I think your assessment is spot-on. With relatively little regulation and the price of admission pretty darn low, just about anyone can go down to Best Buy and come home with the tools to really cause a tragedy. All you have to do is observe highway traffic for 5 minutes and you'll conclude that a substantial percentage of the public doesn't possess the common sense to operate automobiles safely, much less fly in the National Airspace System. I see violations of the very basic drone regulations all the time (flying near crowds, flying over stadiums, and yes, flying near airports too.) During the recent Big Boy event out in Wyoming and Utah, I really feared for the safety of the Sheriff's Department helo pilots who were monitoring the event.....because I knew the air was thick with drones. There has already been one documented collision between a DJI and a helicopter. Fortunately, the helo was a military UH-60 Blackhawk and the damage was survivable. It the machine had been a Robinson, or something with a much lighter rotor system, the results could have been different. Take a look at this NTSB report on the incident and take note of what they say about the drone pilot. If this Blackhawk had crashed, you'd probably already be looking at much heavier regulation.

My RP stuff is here.

Link to my Flickr Albums. Albums from Steam Railroads all over the US.
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