Up in the sky ~ It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s a Drone!

As I was backing up with my Digital SLR camera with its zoom lens, trying to capture the entire Hermione ship in the York River, I was kicking myself for not bringing my regular lens.  

The ship was so tall I had to back up to a nearby restaurant in order to get the entire ship in the picture.  I took one of their chairs to stand up on, so that I could block out the bushes in the foreground.  It reminded me of all I have gone through in order to get “the shot”.  

The Hermoine photographed by William R. Beebe

The Hermoine photographed by William R. Beebe

I’ve been on a 13’ skiff in rough Maine water during small craft warning conditions, standing up and taking photographs of historic wooden schooners ( Schooner Hunter blog).  I’ve been in a rubber Zodiak outboard motorboat, again, standing precariously on the bow in rough conditions trying to photograph the Virginia Schooner in the Chesapeake Bay.  

Clients have also gone through a lot in order to get me “the shot”.  They’ve hired helicopter pilots to take professional photographers out with them to photograph aerial views they’ve wanted me to paint.  

It all makes me wonder, isn’t there a better way???

As I was walking to the other end of the River Landing, to take pictures of the ship’s bow, I saw something buzz by my head.  I looked up to see a DRONE!  It was cruising slowly over to its owner and controller.  He had his control unit in his hand.  The drone landed softly on the ground next to him.  I realized what I thought was a small plane in the distance while I was photographing, was actually a drone flying all around the Hermione.  

The Drone! Photographed by William R. Beebe

The Drone! Photographed by William R. Beebe

The Drone and its controller photographed by William R. Beebe

The Drone and its controller photographed by William R. Beebe

I naively asked, “Does that have a camera on it?”  He said “Not only a camera, but video too.”  His partner said, “It’ll be on Youtube, be sure to check it out.”  

It’s a whole new world.  Artists are being replaced by digital software that turns photographs into paintings.  Photographers and helicopter pilots are being replaced by drones!  :-) 

I had never thought of a drone as a tool for my art.  What a great way to photograph ships, lighthouses, harbors, birds, etc…  The drone operator had total control and was able to take crystal clear images from all different angles, from all different heights.  

So, here it is, an aerial video taken at the same time I was running around trying to do my best with just a camera.


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
What's next? Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe