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Commercial Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Unmanned aircraft systems, drones, quadcopters, rc helicopters, UAV’s, whatever you want to call them, they are making surge in the US, especially in the last couple years. So much so that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and state agencies has been playing catchup to provide regulations and rules to govern the use of these vehicles. Just another example of the government’s lack of ability to keep up with technology.

What makes this a bit concerning isn’t the government’s failure to keep up with the times but its obvious need to tax it. That means fees for classes, licenses and the right to your piece of the airspace. The federal government is in the process of, as we speak, developing the regulations to be placed on small businesses.

Current Regulations in Laymen’s Terms:

Specifically for small UAS drone aircraft.

  • Must be under 55lbs
  • Must fly under 400ft
  • Must fly in line of sight
  • Cannot fly near airports or stadiums
  • Cannot make money off your footage or images

Excerpt from NC Senate Bill 744 – scroll down

A great source for current regulations:

With the proliferation of UAS or drones, there will be a definite increase in the amount hitting the skies. I know this because I own one of the most popular out there, Dji Phantom 2 with H4-3D gimbal for a GoPro. This thing is amazing and the quality of video was enough for me to add it to my arsenal…right before my trip to Alaska last summer. It was delivered the day before we were to leave and added that joker to the list of bags to bring. I made sure I bought the custom hard case from HPRC and strap to keep everything intact. We made it fine and it did to. The day after we arrived I finally had time to practice flying, granted in Fairbanks Alaska. Below is my first flight.

Obviously there is a learning curve that I took for granted. And the fun doesn’t end there. While flying downtown Fairbanks and under pressure to perform, I ran into another tree next to the Chena River and shot the copter straight into a parked car and smashed the windshield. CRAZY! After about 15 min of devising a plan to inform the owner of my failure in flight, she arrived back to her car. Her first thoughts about us approaching her was that she was in trouble for parking illegally…nope I smashed your windshield (I should have use the illegal parking job in mt defense…). After months of back and forth I am a proud new owner of a 2009 VW Jetta windshield. Proof below.

Please check out my Alaska images in my portfolio. At least all was not lost. Long story short, drone photography can be dangerous and the pilot needs hours of practice to be comfortable behind the controls.

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Vidant Medical Center – Quality & Safety Images

In early February of this year (2013) Vidant Health started this project called Safety Habits. Each ad/poster image was composed to communicate these ideas: Pay Attention, Don’t Send Mixed Messages and the latest Does It Make Sense. These were individual shoots and the models are part of the administration of Vidant Health. The goal of this campaign was to bring awareness to the staff and move safety to the forefront. Posters, vinyl graphics and digital signage will be placed throughout campus to emphasize following good Safety Habits.

Quality Safety Shoot 2

Each of the final images below required a certain amount of post-process and manipulation to create illusion that will carry the concept of the image. Under the final images I have broken down some of the elements and process to create the final images for print.

Vidant Medical Center Safety Habits Portfolio
Quality Safety Shoot 1

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Vidant Health – Vidant Medical Transport Unit

As a photographer, I find myself meeting some very interesting people and getting to do some amazing things. I have been contracting for Vidant Health for 5 years and since day one I wanted to do a shoot on top of the Vidant Medical Transport (VMT) helipad. A couple months ago that day seemed to become a reality. The VMT team put in a request for a new group photo; would be the first in almost 15 years. What an honor. This team has been around for a long time and consisted of 10-15 team members in the beginning. Now today they are running around 150. My contact in the department, David Short, said to be prepared to have as many as 100 in the photo! The biggest group shot to date for me has been around 60 nurses for Vidant…well actually 200 or so for a Hatteras Hammock’s staff photo while almost being electrocuted by a power line but that is another post.

Vidant Medical Transport Shoot

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Vidant Health – Physician Photography

Earlier this year I was asked to take over physician portraits for a large health care system in eastern NC, Vidant Health. I have been working with them for a number of years, mostly commercial, location based photography. This new task presented a couple challenges: working around physician’s schedules and working around physician’s schedules. Everyone knows how “busy” docs are or at least that is how it looks. But to me it never really sunk in till I started to seeing behind the scenes. I thought my schedule was hectic. These people plan by the minute; I’m lucky if I go from my monthly calendar view to my weekly view.

With this my challenge was to travel to them but at the same time be consistent everywhere I went. Meaning, I take a full studio setup everywhere I go…Nags Head, Tarboro, Bertie County or as far south as Warsaw and Kenansville. All of these separated by as much as 3-4 hours drive time.

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