By CRAIG FREILICH
CANTON – The Age of the Drone has arrived in Canton.
If you have heard buzzing around town and looked up to see a little helicopter or something overhead, you might have seen a drone taking pictures of the village landscape.
Photographer Denny Barr has added a small quadcopter with a camera to his toolkit, and he has been taking aerial shots of Canton.
He says the DJI drone, about 10 inches across, cost about $1,500 including the camera and a wi-fi extender allowing him to monitor the camera in flight from his smartphone, “so you can see what you’re shooting for framing.
“It’s not the greatest camera but it’s not half bad.
“This is a consumer model, for do-it-yourselfers,” he said, noting that DJI’s largest model available to regular people costs about $10,000.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for so long,” he said.
What are now popularly known as drones grew out of both the model aircraft hobby and the military’s cruise-missile program.
For civilians, what used to be known as a hobbyist’s radio-controlled model airplane, even some with cameras years ago, has become a part of the drone phenomenon, driven largely by the military’s unmanned aerial vehicle program which is not only capable of surveillance with a variety of sensors but can deliver Hellfire missiles on targets deemed worthy of destruction.
As the technology has reached hobbyists, a new variety of aircraft, from Barr’s quadcopter to tiny fliers that look like dragonflies, have hit the market, and their capacity to carry things like ever-smaller cameras has increased. Commercial enterprises like Amazon.com have made a splash with a drone’s potential to deliver orders to customers. Police agencies are experimenting and examining the potential that drones can offer them.
The phenomenon has “taken off” so fast that regulators haven’t caught up.
The Federal Aviation Administration is working at regulations to prevent intrusions into space reserved for manned aircraft, and attempting to regulate commercial use of drones, while justice officials look at implications for privacy.
But Barr is enjoying his new airborne camera, snapping away and posting his photos at http://twoguysandacamera.photoreflect.com/store/thumbpage.aspx?e=9246973.
He says he sees value in being able to offer businesses and homeowners fairly large aerial photograph prints for a fraction of what it would cost for an airplane and a pilot to take the photographer aloft.