Founder of mananddrone.com
A. Will tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a 34 year old professional photographer from London, UK. I have a huge passion for travel which more recently has turned into more ‘adventure’ based travel. My background since leaving college has almost always revolved around computers and multimedia.
Last year I decided to pursue photography for a living, something which I’ve had a strong interest in since childhood. It’s extremely difficult these days to make it as a landscape photographer per say as everyone now thinks they’re a photographer. So I look for other avenues too such as educating others, creating unique content. I’m different with the drone adventure films, that’s my niche and I’m taking it as far as I can go.
A. What first drew you to Aerial videography and what keeps you there?
Since 2008 I’d been an avid follower of the DSLR video capabilities of certain cameras and was following various professionals and learning what was achievable. Back then aerial scenes were done with helicopters or overly expensive remote controlled helis. A few years later I learnt of a company called ‘DJI’ who had this craft called a ‘Phantom 2’ I saw a few professionals using them on production shoots in combination with GoPro’s. I wanted to do the same in 2014. Hardly anyone was droning back in 2014, I thought if I could start editing GoPro footage from drones and just document my travels I’d be well ahead on YouTube. I held back though and the same company ‘DJI’ announced the ‘Phantom 3’ not long after the Inspire 1, I ordered one without hesitation and would pick it up in the States after completing my 3 jobs in New Zealand June 2015. A year later to the scene than I would’ve liked but still one of the early birds.
A. All your video works are absolutely mesmerizing and quite cinematic Will, How did you get into capturing your adventures?
Thanks a-lot! Really appreciate that. With the drone stuff my initial outlook was to try and shock my audience with the wow factor and stunning landscapes. I guess I’ve been influenced over the years by other films I’ve seen over on Vimeo or adventure snowboard films such as ‘Art of The Flight’ where epic landscapes really seemed to produce insane viewing. How could I replicate those sort of shots? A Drone was the answer, the rest is vision and technical know how.
As my abilities evolve I’m looking to tell more stories rather than just cutting Landscapes to music. A proper short film with depth and meaning is just far more professional but as I’m finding out such things are almost impossible as a one man band, so I look to team up with other professionals if the vision is something adventure/action based.
A. Do you ever wish you could capture the beauty of the world with something besides photography or do you?
I used to like art a lot, was okay at drawing & painting but I don’t think I’d ever pursue that.. One day I will write a book about my various global jaunts but photography is the only thing I have time for at the minute.
A. Do you, or have you ever, looked to other artists for inspiration or education?
Yes, of course, you have to.. I used to watch a lot of ‘Vincent La Foret’ (DP) stuff back in the day as well as what ‘Philip Bloom’ (DP) was working on. Nowadays with Photography, I turn to the professionals I know and get their opinions or as advice. I know a lot, but I don’t know everything… I’m going to share all I know though for the newbies coming through.
A. What equipment do you use to captures your footage? And why?
I currently use a DJI Inspire 2 Drone with X5s camera, ProRES and RAW licenses. A Nikon d750 DSLR with various lenses. Various Rode sound recording equipment. Apple Macbook and all the data storage and software needed to make this show work.
A. Speaking of Drones... What are some of the challenges of using Drone in order to capture a good footage?
For starters, you have to have all of the technical knowledge of basic video and camera settings to achieve that ‘cinematic’ feel. When using a bigger drone such as the ‘Inspire 2’ it becomes far harder to hike up a mountain with or even transport around from location to location. The other problem is the value, drop it and it’s likely to have a malfunction, these are delicate pieces of equipment. Back-up drones and equipment are necessary if you’re a serious professional.
Other factors include relying upon good weather… Too windy can’t fly. Rain, again can’t fly. Restrictive laws & no fly zones which vary from country to country.
A. What advice would you give to someone embarking on their first adventure ?
What do you want from the adventure? If it’s a photography based mission then I suggest you plan and plan some more. Think about the weather, check the forecasts, wind conditions. Make sure you have adequate outdoor gear. Get out of your comfort zone but don’t go crazy… Build up to things, team-up with others.
A. What other projects are you currently working on?
I have at least 3 more New Zealand videos to come, one will be a big highlight reel of my last 5 months here. Other projects include a lot more tutorials and behind the scenes, material to give people a better understanding of what goes into my work. The rest is top secret.
A. Closing Thoughts … How do you think photography and traveling have changed your view of the world?
It’s opened my eyes more to the natural beauty that’s out there. I’m absolutely fascinated by countries such as Iceland, Greenland, Patagonia, New Zealand, Canada and the likes. I love the sense of vast wilderness and epic landscapes.
Photography has brought me closer to other people around the world and forged new friendships it’s such a great industry to be part of and I’m so happy I made the decision to pursue it.
Get out of your comfort zones, explore, create, meet new people from around the world. Never be afraid to pursue something, always better to have tried and failed than not at all. If you’re living in one of the ‘Western Countries’ you’ve never had it so easy, freedom of movement and work abroad visas for the 18-35’s are in abundance. Get out there and make the most of what’s on offer.