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Flying with a camera

Still having lots of fun with my drone and making some money while at it …

Often the challenge is to see something on the ground and try to imagine what it will look like from the sky.

Sometimes it works, sometimes, not. But often it’s a surprise!

Had a couple of interesting interventions.

One with a woman who was walking her dog on the same open field in which I was practicing flight manoeuvers. I was about to run out of battery and her dog was intent on attacking the drone. I couldn’t land and she was pissed off that I asked her to get her dog under control. I was told in no uncertain terms and many four-letter words that I was in a dog-walking field and she had rights. Her dog, I was told, would eat my drone. My response was that it would be a R30 000 meal and that I was rapidly running out of air time!

She went storming off in a mumble seaman’s slang.

On another occasion I was on my own at Rhodes Memorial early one morning. I had launched the drone and was positioning it to shoot the monument looking down from above. Two security rangers had crept quietly up, one on either side of me,

“Take that down or we will confiscate it”


“This is part of SA Parks and it’s illegal to fly on our property!”


‘You’ll disturb the animals!” I was told.

Many years ago, all the resident fallow deer were removed, the tahrs had all been shot,

not a squirrel or even a bird in sight – the city-bound traffic on the highway 100m below was, if anything, more of a threat.

Being the shy and retiring pacifist that I am, I simple landed the machine, packed it up and drove off. (I still wanted The Shot, so a couple of weeks ago, a lot more proficient, I parked next to Mostert’s Mill on the highway below, flew the drone to the ideal spot above the Memorial and got my pics.

A similar thing happened in Tokai forest which is really a timber plantation, but this time there were five uniforms surrounding me – also owned by SA parks.

I think it’s something to do with giving a man a uniform?

Rhodes memorial on the slopes of Devil's Peak

The historical Mostert's Mill - still used on occasion to grind flour

One doeshave to be very careful of intrusion and I’m all for that – many people feel that their privacy is being compromised. Rules and regulations are becoming more aware of this.

A few weeks ago I asked the manager at Groot Constantia if I could fly around the Estate.

“Not a problem”.

Yesterday, I went back, I was given a long story about ownership by trusts, copyright

restraints and generally no photos please. But then one thinks about all the tourists with their phones and cameras … hello?

Besides simply shooting from above the earth, I’m also trying to do aerial panoramas which, depending one the drone settings, achieve weird and wonderful shapes.

This little machine is capable of a wide range creative options.

So now I’m experimenting with new creative software and combining this with what I get out of the drone …

Every day is a learning curve!

And I’m not doing too badly for a dinosaur.

I’ve included a few of my pics – if you have any questions, use the email button.


Panorama of Devil's Peak, Table Mountain and Lion's Head

with the curve of Kloofnek Road sweeping between

Canola fields in the Western Cape

Winter vine trellises

Sheep finding their way home

Campus of The University of Cape Town showing the back (southern cliffs of

Table Mountain and Devil's Peak

The same sheep form a higher aspect

The colourful homes of Bo-Kaap on the edge of the city of Cape Town

Top of a tall palm tree

Floating alongside a spread of spring flowers (mainly daisies)

Floating alongside a field of spring flowers and daisies

Reflection of snowed peaks in a farm dam. Cederberg Mountains

Sir Abe Bailey's old fishing cottage - almost a monument to the man

Suburban communal identity

More Bo-Kaap

Prancing horse

An old fishing jetty about to collapse into the sea

Panorama (21 images stitched together) of an apartment block

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