Editor’s Note: Getting an aerial perspective of your subject is great, but it doesn’t guarantee that the resulting photo will be interesting or appealing. Drone photographer Dirk Dallas knows what it takes to capture a picture that will stop the viewer, and his new compilation of drone photos on the coffee table “Eyes Over the World” is full of those breathtaking bird’s-eye views. We asked Dirk to share some highlights from the new book and to give us an insight into the secrets with which he and the other featured photographers have created their art.
Clara Cao, Mar del Plata, Argentina
Sometimes we are unable to travel to an epic location to fly and shoot with our drone. So we should all be inspired by Clara’s image, which is a great example of simplicity combined with a creative idea. What we see in this photo is that Clara spent time orchestrating a creative scene with a person, perspective, and prop. Drones give us the ability to capture unique angles so that if you put your subject in an unexpected position and then add a prop like an inflatable tube, you can quickly create a visual toggle that is sure to make your viewer stop double take, to assess the situation. Other ideas for creating a visual toggle include using props like a bicycle or a skateboard. You can also try to find a recognizable space, like a basketball or tennis court, so that it looks like someone is hanging or sitting on one of the lines of the court.
Sterling Galli, Salt Lake City, Utah
Sterling’s stunning ice image is inspiring because we see huge winter trees in a way that is truly unique. Top-down shots are a great way to compress the depth and height of a scene, making the landscape almost abstract. In this photo there is still evidence of what we see. First and foremost, there’s an easily identifiable subject that not only creates a clear visual break with the overwhelming scene of white snow and trees, but the kayaker is perfectly tuned and framed to be in the middle of the landscape. Images like these show that it can really pay off to be patient and wait for the perfect moment. A story begins next as the emphasis and contrast in the scene is directed towards the kayaker. Questions like: where is that? Who is this? How did you get there? and Are you alone? They all start to bubble and make us actually occupy ourselves with the picture. The tiny kayaker also helps the viewer develop a sense of scalability in this scene. Sometimes, drone imagery can be too abstract and / or too vague, so little-identifiable clues like a kayaker, car, or person can help tell a more complete story.
Abstract aerial art, Scheldt Delta, Netherlands
There are many things to this image, but my favorite aspect is the enormous and eye-catching shadow that dwarfs the otherwise huge cargo ship. Without the shadow in this picture, the scale of this ship would be drastically reduced. Shadow play is a great tool for drone pilots as it can reveal aspects of a subject or scene in ways that might otherwise be overlooked. The shadow play can also provide a strong contrast between light and dark areas, resulting in more than one focal point. This technique is known to add mystery, drama, and emotion to a photo. If you want to capture shadows, you should also consider the time of day you are shooting. In this photo, the shadows are long, soft, and dramatic as they were taken either early in the day or later in the day. Shadows can be equally impressive during the day depending on what you are capturing as they are shorter, sharper, and sharper. So, think about what effect you want to get before shooting your drone to capture some shadows.
Charley Fitzwilliam, Indian Wells, California
This is an eye-catching photo because of the mirror-like symmetry and repetitive pattern that is shown. In photography, symmetry and pattern attract the eye and often result in a nice visual balance that can lead to a sense of stability and harmony in an image. When taking symmetrical images, be sure to turn on your grid lines for visual aid as you frame the shot. Also, try to shoot in burst mode while recording in case wind or an accidental stick bump could move the drone. By shooting in burst mode, you can pinpoint the exact photo with the best framing and avoid post-processing that would involve cropping and losing pixels. Patterns, in particular, can be a great way to create an abstract image that just requires the viewer to spend a little more time than usual taking the image to see exactly what they are looking at.
Jacob Riglin, Luoping County, China
We all know that shooting with a drone is unique to ground photography for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is that we are very limited by our only light source, the sun! We cannot move it and we cannot add light to complement its intensity. So it is important that we consider sunlight and its impact on the landscape. Capturing an epic location is not enough, which is why this photo is the perfect example of waiting for the optimal moment to take the shot. If you want a dramatic, dreamlike effect like the one we see here, you need to be patient and plan ahead to find out when the light is best. There are many helpful websites and apps out there that track the movement of the sun throughout the day. What is important, however, is that the light of the early rising or late setting sun radically changes the landscape in a fleeting moment. So be ready with a full battery and the best positions and angles already established. Consider waking up to sunrise while most of the world is still sleeping. This gives you a better way to capture a scene with minimal distractions, and the early morning atmosphere often gives you a better chance of creating fog or hazy effects, resulting in a soft and glowing atmosphere.
Eyes over the world
A dizzying overhead view of a Tokyo city street grille lit by night lights. Aerial views of whales in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Sunbathers laze lazily on the pearly white sand of a tropical beach. These are just a few of the inspiring images featured in this stunning compilation of the world’s finest drone photography. As one of the fastest growing technologies of this era, drones have changed the world of photography, enabling a new class of creatives to capture images that change the way we see and redefine our view of the world.
Paying homage to the breathtaking beauty of our planet, Eyes over the World features an eclectic selection of natural wonders and man-made curiosities captured by both lights and amateurs in the emerging drone photography community. Edited by drone photography expert and Instagram creator Dirk Dallas, this fantastic, fearless book offers a new sense of perspective and awe of this fascinating new technology. Organized geographically, it can also be used as a sort of bucket list – a catalog of all the wonders the earth has to offer.
The 208-page hardcover book contains a collection of 20 of Dirk’s own drone photos and over 170 absolutely breathtaking #fromwhereidrone pictures by more than 125 friends / photographers taken on all seven continents!
The images are geographically divided into five different landscapes: water, arid, lush, urban, and ice. This inspirational book is the perfect addition to add to your photo book collection, stay on your coffee table, or use as a bucket list of places to explore. It costs $ 29.99.
By Dirk Dallas