Hi Marcel, thanks for giving us the opportunity to interview you. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
Besides my Job in IT, I have been a hobby photographer for about seven years. I spend as much time as I can on travelling the world. Along the road I try my best to capture the very unique atmosphere of the scenes I find myself in. The look of my pictures mostly transports my own mood when pushing the shutter button.
How did you get into drone photography?
Drones offer whole new perspectives in landscape photography and often reveal beautiful lines and patterns. Even just the look of streets or trees from above always fascinated me.
Taking pictures with my camera, I like to keep my images uncrowded. When flying a drone, people also disappear in your image at a certain height. So that’s an extra bonus in drone photography.
What did you do to become an expert drone pilot and photographer?
In terms of photography I forced myself to shoot with a 35mm lens only, for a period of three years. Looking back, this was probably the most valuable lesson of all. It’s not about your gear, it’s about how you make the best of what’s on your hand.
Everything I know about photography and flying a drone is self-taught. Hours and hours of practicing and trying out different things is the key. And I’m still learning every day.
What locations have you visited to capture with your drone recently? What has drawn you to these places?
My last drone pictures were taken at the south coast of Wakayama Prefecture in Japan. It’s a pretty rural region and not a common travel destination for foreign tourists. Visiting places like this mostly offers views and scenes that aren’t already popular and shown all over Instagram. That’s what I’m searching for.
Please talk us through some of your most successful drone images – what made them work, and what challenges did you face?
My image of the Tindhólmur Islet on the Faroe Islands. Simply no one can withdraw from the fascination of those rock formations. It takes a two hour hike to get there and generally the Faroese weather isn’t what you’d call drone friendly, neither are the seagulls. I had a five minute time window, between hail and a rainstorm, to shoot up the drone and get my picture.
Also much attention got my picture of a ribbon shaped bridge in Japan. Shot from straight above and without showing the surroundings, it doesn’t make much sense why a road would be shaped like this. That made many people curious about the picture, and if you make people think about your images, you’re on the right path.
The Bridge is located next to a fishermen’s village and the area is crowded with hundreds of giant eagles. This wasn’t my most relaxed drone flight.
Do you have any more bucket list locations you’d like to photograph, and why?
I definitely want to go back to Iceland. The possibilities for awesome photos are just endless there. But my next goal probably will be the wild Pacific Northwest. The area around Oregon and Washington offers stunning nature and landscape sceneries.
What other aerial photographers are you inspired by? Why?
What do you fly and what do you love about it?
I own a DJI Mavic Pro, which I love most for it’s compact, foldable design. Even with several batteries it has a small packsize and easily fits in my camera backpack. It’s lightweight and therefore perfect for hiking trips.
What drone would you like to fly next?
I’d love to check out the DJI Phantom 4 Pro and have a look on the image quality of the bigger sensor compared to my Mavic Pro. And of course the top-of-the-line beast Inspire 2.
How do you see the drone technology expanding or changing in the next 5 years?
I don’t think consumer drones will go through much of a change. There will be improvements in image quality, battery life, intelligent flight modes and hopefully reduced noise level. Making them even smaller wouldn’t make much sense in my opinion, as in most countries you are only allowed to fly in sight.
Drones will probably more and more find their way into delivery business, so your online order will be delivered by air.
The next 20 years?
Really hard to tell. Maybe even passenger transportation.
Anything else you’d like to add?
A little reminder: Everyday I stumble upon drone images which are clearly shot under illegal terms.
Every drone pilot needs to respect local drone laws. Do your research and get your information. If droning is not allowed, try to get a permission – or don’t fly. With more and more people violating the rules, we get one step closer to the whole droning thing getting shut down.
Where can readers find out more about what you do?