Seek out Aidan Campbell online and you will find his stunning geometric inspired aerial images of pine trees, water and snow – as in our previous article where his 500px gallery is showcased. We managed to catch up with Aidan to dig a little deeper and interview him as one of our High Flyers. Read on!
Thanks for joining us Aidan. Can you please tell us a little bit about who you are, and what you do?
Hi, my name is Aidan Campbell, and I am a freelance photographer and videographer based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I have been shooting professionally for about 4-5 years now, and have practiced a variety of photographic genres such as product, event, lifestyle, landscape and portraiture.
You are already an established landscape and lifestyle photographer. What got you interested in drone photography?
Drones have always interested me, however what drove me to purchase my first drone was simply a new perspective. It was an emerging art when I purchased my first Phantom 3 Pro. Not saying that I was one of the first photographers to have a drone, but aerial photographs were definitely not quite as saturated online, and that really motivated me to pick one up and shoot new perspectives of my own. Photographs that had really caught my eye at the time and always will, are birds eye view shots looking straight down at the subject, whether that be roads, trees or water.
What’s your favourite genre of aerial photography? Why?
I really love bird’s eye view shots of nature, sometimes with a human element mixed in. Canoes, roads, beaches, crashing waves, all of these I have shot and have become some of my favourite subjects when shooting from the sky.
What conditions do you look for to capture a great aerial image?
Whether shooting handheld on the ground or with a drone, I always prefer moody overcast days. Not only do these days provide nice even lighting across the entire image, but something about low clouds, and white tones really draw me into the image that I am shooting. I’ve never really been one for bright blue skies.
Which of your photos has given you that “wow” moment?
There have been several from the drone that I have absolutely loved – however I would say that my favourite is one of the cabin at Lake Louise during a snowfall. Disclaimer – this image is now incredibly illegal to shoot, so I don’t recommend anyone trying to replicate it. I shot this one several years ago prior to the drone regulations regarding National Parks were in effect. I think that it really stood out to me because the blues were so deep, and the contrast with the white snow was just breathtaking. This and the fact that I had never seen a similar shot of that spot, and likely never will, really makes it one of a kind.
It appears that working with 2CreativeCo has offered you some outstanding opportunities for aerial video. What’s been your favourite project, and can you point us to a film reel that shows your work?
2Creative Co was started by my business partner and I nearly two years ago as an outlet to do marketing, photography, videography and design here in Calgary for a multiple clients rather than being employed doing the same work for one company – which gets repetitive. I don’t believe that I have one favourite in particular, but I truly enjoy any project that allows me to travel and shoot new scenes and landscapes. My two favourite landscapes that I’ve been fortunate enough to shoot from the sky would be Rwanda and Iceland. Our 2Creative Co demo reel really well displays some of my aerial videography work, and it can be found at the link below!
What steps did you take to become an accomplished drone pilot and photographer?
One of the biggest things for me was to always carry a camera around. I think specialization is really great and that a ton of photographers are amazing at what they do when they stick with a genre, however having a camera at all times and capturing everything regardless of whether it’s your “specialty” or not, really helps you grow and find yourself as a photographer. 90% of what I shoot on my own time never sees the light of day, but it actively pushes me to be the best I can be. Along with the first point, practice makes perfect. Droning isn’t the most difficult task; a lot of people are able to get the shot they want within their first few flights. That being said, there is a HUGE learning curve when learning aerial videography, and drone movement, angles, smoothness etc. are all key ingredients to a successful shot. This comes with a ton of practice!
What do you fly, and what do you love about it?
I currently have a Phantom 4 Pro. It’s an amazing drone; I really have no complaints! I love that it fits in a backpack, and takes incredible photographs that I have no problem printing up to 2x3ft. I’ve put this drone through the works – light rain, snow, music festivals etc. and never had any issues – reliable equipment is super important in my field of work, and the P4P ticks all of my boxes.
How do you see the drone technology expanding or changing in the next 5 years?
Even since I purchased my first drone, technology has skyrocketed. Smaller, more versatile drones, bigger drones with better gimbals, quieter drones with smaller controllers, better compact cameras etc. It’s almost hard to buy a drone right now because you know that within 6 months something better will come out and you’ll have wished you waited. For me, I’m quite content with what I’ve got. Yes it could be smaller, could shoot higher resolution, maybe a little quieter, but it’s something that I’ve grown used to working with and none of these factors really hinder me or my work on a day to day basis.
There are so many UAV protocols and guidelines. How do they assist, and hinder, aerial photography?
Regulation although important, has gotten a little out of hand in my opinion. It seems like it almost changes on a monthly basis. Seeing all of the drone laws progress has been interesting over the years, and although definitely more strict now than when I started flying, I have come to understand MOST of the laws that are in place, at least where I live. Most of the laws make sense to me, and obviously it’s all about safety, which is super important. Although there are some laws that I don’t necessarily agree with at this time, it is important to respect the law when flying, and be aware of all of the local laws. Drones although incredible, can also be dangerous, which is why the laws are in place. One thing that I really do like about some of the newer laws is that they encourage training and practice. Imagine being in one of the most beautiful, peaceful landscapes in the world, and having obnoxiously loud drones flying all around above you. This thought has helped me understand lots of the regulation and guidelines.