Because the entrance to the Hillsboro High School/Middle School is to the rear and west sides of the building, it is sometimes hard to picture the design of the sprawling structure. But send a drone a few hundred feet into the air with a camera and the design suddenly comes into focus.
That’s what longtime Greenfield photographer Mike Seely did on Sunday, Aug. 13.
“I’ve been taking photos of all the schools in the area, some farms, some of the really nice churches and things like that, sometimes from both the front and back angles on some places. On that day I had decided to shoot the Hillsboro school buildings and I had to wait a little bit for the high school, but I thought it turned out pretty nice,” Seely said. “You can get some really nice photographs with a drone.”
Seely said luck was with him a bit the day he photographed the Hillsboro High School/Middle School and Hillsboro Elementary School. He said it was not windy, it was clear and the clouds were picturesque, making an ideal setting. He had to wait a couple hours for paint to dry since a crew had just finished painting new lines for parking spaces at the high school/middle school, but he said that just made the picture look better.
He said he shot the picture from approximately 300 feet in the air. He said that sometimes when he photographs using a drone, pictures look better when they’re taken from a lower height, but if he’s shooting a 100-acre farm or something like that he sometimes takes the drone as high as 400 feet, the maximum allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Seely, who owns and operates Seely Portraits in Greenfield, has been doing drone photography for about three years, but he said the FAA came out with new laws regarding the use of drones late last summer. For instance, he said, drones cannot be flown over national parks, and some state parks are being added to the list. Or, he said, when the Major League Baseball All-Star game was played in Cincinnati two years ago, he wanted to get some shots of that, but because a blimp was covering the game, the area around Great American Ball Park was a no-fly zone.
And more and more no-fly zones are being added every day, Seely said.
“It’s just fun, but I do sell pictures of people’s farms or to businesses that want them for marketing purposes,” Seely said.
The key to getting good drone photos, Seely said, is maximizing the available light. He said that since Hillsboro’s high school/middle school and elementary school buildings face in different directions, he photographed the high school/middle school in the afternoon around 2 p.m. and the elementary school in the morning.
According to www.pcmag.com, here are a few other general guidelines that apply to flying drones:
• Fly at or below 400 feet;
• Keep your drone within sight;
• Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports;
• Never fly over groups of people;
• Never fly over stadiums or sporting events;
• Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires;
• Never fly under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs;
• Be aware of airspace requirements.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.