The DJI Phantom (Menace): Deke’s Awesome Adventure in Aerial Photography

“One man’s quest to master aerial photography armed with nothing more than a DJI Phantom quadcopter, a GoPro Hero 3, and an irrepressible optimism in the face of potential (and ultimate) destruction.”

For those of you who follow Deke or dekeOnline on Facebook, you’ve heard the saga of our boy and his new toy—a Phantom quadcopter that transports his GoPro into the sky (sometimes) to capture video from on high.

Much of the hilarity (and learning curve) of the past week is captured in the video above, as Deke attempts to remotely control the UAV and its on-board camera over his hometown of Boulder, Colorado.

One day when we were planning to hit the studio—this story on a Colorado town that wants to legalize hunting and shooting down drones—got Deke so nervous that the window of freedom for using his personal UAV would soon close that we had to abandon in-studio work for the day and get out into Boulder’s great outdoors.

sequence of shots from Deke's quadcopter plus goPro setup

So what do you think about using personal UAVs for aerial photography? Aside from the public menace that Deke represented during his learning phase (which will now take a hiatus as the quadcopter is sent in for repairs), how do these images make you feel? Awed, astounded, annoyed, apprehensive?

This family, who sat down in Chautauqua park after Deke had set his copter up for launch on a nearby flat rock, actually started applauding when the machine took off. One of the little boys in the group came over to investigate, and Deke rewarded his curiosity by letting him fly the machine (that is, until Deke got too nervous at the little guy shouting, “Up, up!”) Here he is running back to his family to celebrate his aerial adventure.

Family enjoys Deke's aerial show

I’m sure the discussion will go on about the use of personal drones to capture aerial footage, and I’m sure Deke’s adventure will resume when the ‘copter gets outta the shop. Boulder busses are safe for the moment.

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