Travel Photography: Paris by jeffrey byrnes

To truly understand something is to see it for what it is worth in all its glory. I have never in my professional life been as busy as I have been in the last 7 weeks. The moment I returned from Europe I was inundated with a tremendous amount of new work and was able to pick up some new and exciting clients. But enough about the boring stuff. Lets talk travel. 

I want to share with you an image that I made. This photograph captures the innocence and playfulness that is childhood. 

A rainy evening in Paris.

There was a light mist falling. My camera dangled from my arms, tethered to a strap that tore at my shoulder. It had been a long day of studying Paris by foot. We were making our way to a famous set of stairs. I had a mission, to locate a specific vantage point to view the Eiffel Tower from. Unsure of how long we would be showered with a light mist I wanted to climb the stair case as quickly as we could. I had to have that photograph, just had to. I periodically turned to look at the view we were leaving, yet altering on our course to an even greater view. I spotted a child dancing with an umbrella. He was without worry, without caution, and without reservation, the same lack of convictions I had when I framed him up and pressed the shutter, forever freezing him in a statuesque pose. 

Over the next nine days in 3 different European cities, this photograph would inspire me to look for the moments that people were occupied, yet unaware. Those were the moments that would become my photographs. The sights, the sounds, the lights, and smells, those will forever be memories that with the right circumstance will one day be reactivated when I walk the same Parisian streets. But the photographs, those will be the visual reminders of the tangibility of Paris. The streets, sidewalks, the damp marble stairs we climbed, those among other objects passed our hands and our feet, as we studied Paris. I would like to think of Paris as a city of rich in texture, texture that can be seen, photographed, and felt.

Avec amour , de Paris!

Drones: No Fly Zones by jeffrey byrnes

This past Friday I was held hostage by two federal employees while I awaited the police to arrive for legally flying a drone to photograph the property I was hired to capture. This was my first real issue while flying and making photographs for a client. In the past year I have never had a single negative interaction while flying. Often times people think its cool and are fascinated. I am usually flooded with questions. Cops, cops love seeing it fly and always have something comical to say about them or just want to observe it in action. Unfortunately there are people who make it increasingly harder to fly without negative reactions. 

My client hired me to photograph the exterior of nearly a dozen properties they own spread out through parts of the Boston area. Part of the job required several properties in the Portrland area of Maine. While some of the properties could benefit from aerial photographs, not all of them would. On Friday I arrived at the 3rd property around 1:30 and discovered that the building was atop a small incline. Not quite a hill, a far cry from a mountain, but an incline of a couple feet from the road. Perfect. I could put the drone up for a few seconds and capture a few shots at the same level or a few feet from above. 

I parked my car off the property next to a vacant building just blow the sloped driveway. I powered up, took flight and flew for no more than 5 minutes. I placed the drone back in the car. Moments later a white trucked pulled up and I was greeted with, "what are you doing?" Instead of walking down the man was driven down to speak with me. His tone was of annoyance and general attitude. I turned and responded with, "Photographing the exterior of the building on behalf of my client who owns it." He asked for a business card. "Right here I said," as I pointed down to the driver side passenger door. I have a set of black magnets that match my black car on the side. My business name and phone number as well as website are written in vinyl. After another half dozen questions of who, why, where are they from, they drove back up the bunny hill of a driveway and parked the truck. I followed and parked my car off to the side.

I grabbed my camera, exited, and walked the length of the building and made a few photographs. I turned and began walking back to my car. The same gent who initially questioned me was now with a portly, shorter gent who did not look happy. He turned and walked right up to me with an abrasive demand, "I want to see some business id or you are not leaving here." I said "no." I kept walking towards my car. By this point I became uncomfortable. An agitate federal employee and his underling were surrounding me with questions. I had explained more than once who the client was, who hired me, where they were from. Mr. Portly demanded to see the emails. Again I said, " no, those are confidential." He was not happy. Between his demands and his agitation he threatened to take my personal possessions. "We will confiscate your stuff." "No you will not, I replied firmly. Now I was pissed. 

It was one thing to question me, it was another thing to threaten to steal my equipment. Throughly upset I was now in a position to be more defensive. Mr. Portly was not thinking clearly. I had explained by this point, and to his underling, who had hired me and where they were from. It took me a few minutes to find a phone number in the emails. I happily provided them with the number. Had Mr. Portly bothered to call the immediate property manager, the situation would not have gotten worse, and did it get worse. Mr. Portly grew more agitated that he couldn't into my emails, was told no to ceasing my equipment, and was upset that he was not informed that this was supposed to happen. I explained that I was hired to be there and everyone was to be notified. I tried to explain that it was out of my control if he was not notified and that was not something I was supposed to do. Mr. Portly then proceeded to boss his underling around, "take a picture of his car, take his license plate number, don't let him leave." Mr. Portly was getting nowhere with his demands and frustrations. "I WILL call the cops, you are trespassing." "Go ahead, call the cops, I already told you I was hired to be here." Mr. Portly's underling stood close by and watched as I stood against my car. 

It must have been the 4th time he asked me, "well who hired you?" "I already told you, you can call them too." Within a few minutes my client called me back and asked, "are you being held hostage?" "Why yes I am," I said. They told me they were going to call Mr. Portly and get it taken care of. We hung up. Two minutes later a police officer arrived. I explained to him why I was there, willfully offered to show the emails and the list of properties I had in town as well as around the area. Satisfied with what I showed him he strode up to Mr. Portly and told him what he had seen. Sarcastically I overheard Mr. Portly say, "I asked him to see those." 

After a few moments of speaking, the officer came back up to me and told me, "they do not own the property and are renters. Since they are renters and can control who comes on the property, they do not want you here." "That is fine. I was asked to be here and I understand they do not want me here and I will leave." "Alright, you are free to go." I turned around, swung open the door, got in, and backed out. The officer followed me out on to the main road and watched me disappear. 

My client called me back and asked if I was still being held hostage. I had been let go by the police and explained how the rest of the situation had gone down. On their end they received a bit of backlash. While Mr. Portly was operating within his rights to inquire why someone was on the premise and their motives, he took a simple thing and erupted it into a much unneeded situation. My client was very apologetic. Mr. Portly and his underling are federal employees and did a great job of upsetting people over a very small and well explained matter. As I keep saying and keep thinking, if he had called the immediate property manager, they would have clearly explained why I was there. Had that happened, two federal employees would not have held me hostage and threatened to steal my property. 

When you are out in the field, keep phone the contact information of the people who hired you on hand. If you have some form of contract, keep they available as well. It is very crucial that you know where to fly and where not to fly. Always exercise common sense when flying and do so safely. I regard myself as a professional and hold myself to a very high standard. I am a people person and can navigate my way through a myriad of social  situations with ease, however there are times when people's behavior can throw you off. Mr. Portly is an example of hostility that did that was unneeded and was better diffused with the assistance of an authority figure. I will not name the location or the federal agency that Mr. Portly works for, but what I will say is this, do your job to the best of your abilities without reservations, exercising the right amount of caution, and treat people with respect, you will be rewarded for your honesty. 

New England: Travel Photography by jeffrey byrnes

The backroads of New England will undoubtedly lead you to some beautiful places. Just the other day I heard someone make a comment, "wow I have been to like 6 different states in 1 day." Clearly this individual is not a true New Englander and hasn't traveled from Maine to Rhode Island in one day, passing through Vermont and New Hampshire with a detour to Connecticut, in one day like some of us do. They were, however, referencing having walked through the state buildings at the Big E. The Big E is a colossal festival of carnies, hungry people without a care in the world for their waistlines, and people looking to drink, buy the same crap thats been there for 25+ years, and do stupid things; such as heckle the hot tub sales people. In one spot you can consume enough food to get diabetes, rip a pair of jeans, and get gout, all while buying hot tubs, crap you see on TV at 1:30 in the morning, and slide down a giant piece of yellow plastic. Sounds fun, right? Well the Big E marks the end of the summer and is a tradition for many New Englanders. It is so well blogged about and photographed that you will not see anything of mine on here. Rather I will show something more scenic.

Greenhouse, Amherst Mass

The low lying light of the sun about to kiss the horizon is a sign that summer is ending. Late August and early September have incredible evenings with light and sunset shows. For those who know how to work a camera, it a spectacular time to get out and make photographs. I personally favor that romantic golden hour light. I can never seem to drag myself out of bed early enough to capture the crack of dawn, so I rely on the evening to make photos. Personally I feel that is the best time, not because I do not want to be up early, but because I feel the light has a different personality. When it illuminates the landscape or a person posing for a shoot, it is more magical than the early morning. Sounds super cliche, I know, but it is the truth. 

I always get sad at the end of the summer. I never really admit this to anyone, but I do. Having grown up in New England I know what comes next, a few weeks of cool evenings, a few days of magnificent foliage, some rainy days, then nearly 5 months of misery. I have never been diagnosed with seasonal affect disorder, but I find that every year I creep closer and closer to needing to spending 4 hours under a heat lamp to keep from being depressed. I spend those cold months thinking of the summer, Cape Cod, and the light. Regardless of how beautiful a winter scene can be, during or after a snow storm, nothing replaces the beauty of a warm afternoon fading into the evening. 

A farm off of 47, Amherst, Mass

New Englanders are spoiled with having 4 seasons. They really are. Some places and people are not as fortunate to have a rotating climate that brings seasonal changes that give meaning to the geographic location they call home. Amherst is located in the western part of Massachusetts. Famous for being a college town, having rolling pastures, farms, one of the first lumber mills in the country (semi truefactual, its very old), and one thing I think it should be famous for, Antonios, the greatest pizza in the world. Amherst, like many other town or cities is an artery that connects directly to the quintessential heart of New England. Anyone who has been to Amherst can tell you that around each corner there will be something worth seeing and enjoying.

When you exit the main routes, 116, Rt 9 and 47, you will find some incredible places. Hiding in plain sight are fields, barns, farms, people on bikes, paths, sun drenched roads that navigate the viewer further into the summer fast closing day. I have seen a lot of New England, spanning from the Coast of Maine to the state capitals of every New England State, to the smallest coastal nooks of Cape Cod, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. I have been in the backwoods of Vermont, hiked the Berkshires, and have had many reckless nights in Boston. When I think of New England, I think of all of these places, but a part of me always wanders to the pastural landscapes; primarily because life is slower, more relaxed, and the light glows much differently than when you're sitting at the open window of Dillion's on Boylston St in Boston seeing how many times you can compliment a girl before she stops to talk to you. 

A tobacco barn, Amherst, Mass

As far as I know there is not a single farmer in my family. My grandmother always had a lush garden when I was growing up, but it wasn't anything to write a novel about. Though, she always had some kick ass cucumbers. Thanks for those memories, grandma. But I have found that when I drive through regions such as Amherst, I am compelled to enjoy them as much as I would any other place at the golden hour. Late in the day light will always be an element in my work, both with portraiture as well as with any travel work I make. Make time to see the world, it is shrinking, metaphorically speaking that is.

Personal Work: by jeffrey byrnes

Seasons in New England are like the tide, the come and they go, bringing in waves of change. Our summer, my wife and I that is, starts out with Memorial Day on Cape Cod and ends with Labor Day on the cape. This year we did not start our summer on the cape because our wedding took place the weekend of Memorial Day. That didn't stop us from closing out an incredible summer with a weekend on the cape over the Labor Day holiday. Since I have known my wife this has been a tradition for us. 

Throughout the summer we take weekend trips and occasionally a week or so and slow life down by spending as much time as we can on the beach. For me, I find extreme peace and some times solitude when I am out making photographs, while we are the cape. When I am out meandering the shores, dunes, backroads, tidal pools, I am searching for what I have never seen before, things that I have yet to encounter. I grew up going to the cape every summer. I have seen a lot, yet there is still so much I have yet to see, which is why I always have my cameras with me. Always in tote, my camera is never far unless I am in the water or doing such things as digging for clams. 

This year in addition to spending a few hours on the boat checking the lobster pots, my father in law taught me the art of clam digging. Prior to Labor Day weekend any time I found a clam was in chowder or in a grocery store and once in a great while I would step on one just under the surface during walks in low-tide. Like the generation before him, he learned to dig for clams by walking the bay of the cape. Regardless of how much money I will make, I will always enjoy pulling clams out of the sea as much as lobsters.

This past Labor Day weekend we got in the boat and navigated out about 7 miles till we got to the location of the pots. I watched in anticipation as they came up. The second biggest lobster I have seen came up in one of the pots. Roughly 5lbs. The largest I have ever seen was sitting in a cooler and weighed in at about 17lbs. From what I have heard, when a lobster is to large, it is to "tough" and isn't that good. Unfortunately the 5 lb-er went back into the water, as she had a large amount of eggs underneath her. If they have eggs, back home to the deep waters they go. 

I am happy to say we did get some lobsters and they were delicious. Next time I spend some time on the boat I will make some more photos and then show the end result. If you have never been to the cape, I suggest you book a week or two for next summer. If you aren't a fan of lobster, I suggest you give it another try, not because I am suggesting it, but because they are just swell!

Apple iPhone 6 Photography by jeffrey byrnes

We are all photographers. Some what true due in part to the fact that most of us have a camera with us at all times due in part to the fact that every cell phone these days has a camera built into it. Most of us have had this luxury for a number of years now. My first camera phone was back in 2004. Nice little flip phone that had a camera that I think was .225 mega pixels. Enough to see on a 1.1" x 1.1" screen. Since then camera phones have advanced.

iPhone 6 portrait of a dancer I was photographing.

The iPhone in my mind will always dominate. That is just my opinion. Here is why. There are some companies out there shoving 50 mega pixels into a cell phone. No consumer needs that many pixels on a device with a sensor that is 1/16th that of a real camera that has a 50 mega pixel sensor. You know what camera comes with a sensor that big? A $40,000.00 Hasselblad. A real camera with the capabilities of making billboard sized photos all day long. So the question that one could ask, "why then does a cell phone manufacturer put that much crappy pixilation into a phone?" Easily answered in 1 word, "sales." Bottom line is that a cell phone company is going to listen to the demands of the consumer. People think they need to have that much capability for cheap but at the end of the day, they do not need it.

Production still I shot on my iPhone 6 while assisting on a film.

Apple has done something pretty cool. As we are all aware, Apple is a legendary brand that puts a huge emphasis on design. Apple for the last few months, possibly a little bit longer has been doing simple ads that are either print based, publications and magazines, and some televised ads that are showcasing images and videos that are made using the iPhone 6. The televised ads are pretty cool. There are some slow motion clips that just command your attention. The print based ads use some stellar still photographs that were shot using the iPhone 6. From my understanding, Apple is using the videos and still photos from their Apple iPhone 6 World Gallery for all the ads they are running that are promoting the camera. Apple unlike their competitors are not laying claim to being the best company there is with thee best camera, screaming high pixel counts. Apple is a brand with extremely loyal users of their technology. For some people it does not matter how good the camera is. For others, that is the entire reason they buy a phone, those are the customers that think they need more pixels than they can even process.

Fleeting Moment: Sun setting on outdated technology. Shot on iPhone 6.

My iPhone 6 does not leave my side unless I am in the water, shower, pool, or doing something where I can not be looking at it. I run a business from my phone, answering emails, texts, calls, scheduling shoots, posting to social media, or using it to track my fitness. My iPhone is an extension of my brain, a resource that allows me to connect to the world through various forms of communication. I pull my phone out and make photos even when on a shoot using my real camera, the money maker. I often use it to make "production stills," showing the world, "this is what I am doing right this minute." Other times I use it to make photos I intend to post to social media, such as my Instagram account -- click here to follow me.

I have created a Flickr Gallery <------ click here that showcases some of the iPhone 6 photos that I have made.

Art Deco Architecture, South Beach Miami, Florida. Shot when we arrived to our Air B n B apartment.

Travel Photography by jeffrey byrnes

The engine came to life as I turned the key forward in the ignition. I opened the sunroof and the driver and passenger window, looked in the mirror and put the car in reverse. I backed out of the driveway turning the wheel to pivot the car in direction of my route home. The heavily traveled dirt road conjured images of rally cars speeding up and down the winding curves. The gravel was lose in some spots, undoubtedly from someone taking the corner with enough speed to put their vehicle sideways long enough to crack a smile. The tires gripped the road with a crunching strength. Within moments I would be on the main road and heading up and down steep roads that cut through the quintessential New England landscape.

Prior to leaving I said to my wife, "there is going to be a nice sunset tonight." She looked outside as Zeus cleared his throat and let out a rumble of thunder that echoed through the mountains. Sure, there was pretty fierce thunderstorm outside in the distance, but the funny thing, the predicable thing about storms, they come to an end. Here in New England when a storm comes to an end, for the most part it is beautiful immediately following. I knew this would be true this evening. 

I was leaving her behind to stay with her family on their vacation. I can make a few trips up through out the week, but nothing extended, as my work load is pretty heavy. On the way home I would stop and make photos, this I decided on the way up as I passed a few photogenic landscapes. Once I turned onto the main road I was greeted by a thick blanket of fog that was cuddling the tops of the trees. I was delightfully surprised. As I navigated the back road I occasionally stopped to make photos. 

The house that the family is staying at borders a lake with a dock. I was surprised at the peacefulness that exists. It was so quiet, you could hear the tress growing. The lake is picturesque. I will be flying my drone around when I am back later in the week. The only down fall, the water is overgrown with lilypads and thick vegetation, rendering it impossible for such recreations as swimming, water polo, scuba diving, skinny dipping, jumping off the dock, or floating in a tube. While it was a warm day, I do not think I would have much interest in swimming regardless, so having a family sess of marco polo in the lake will not go missed. 

I anticipate to be testing a new drone during the week, so hopefully I will have that with me up there. The new drone set up will allow a bit more creative flexibility, which will yield some more dynamic images. 

I am very pleased with the above photo, however, if there was a human being posing within it, I would be over-the-moon excited. I will settle knowing it is a photograph I am happy with. Perhaps when I back up there I will remember and make a portrait with someone in the space. Keep an eye out for a future post with some more photos. 

Fashion Photography: Location Scouting by jeffrey byrnes

Years ago with my former blog, well before I had a wicked awesome website filled with some of my best work, I was writing about photography. I would discuss trending topics, what I liked, disliked, and occasionally a few tips, tricks, what to do or not to do. Since I have a fairly awesome website and a blog connected right to it, now I am free to discuss anything and everything, like I always was able to, but now I primarily focus on showcasing my recent work or something connected to the work I am producing. Such is the case with this post. The following post is just a simple guide to make life easier. If you are operating with a big budget, this is something that might be useful to you, but chances are you will have a better process in place. 

I have met a few location scouts. One of them was a big time Hollywood scout who went around the world making photographs of locations that would be used for movie production. I had them in mind when I began searching for a location for an upcoming shoot. This Friday I am going to New Haven to do some business. I also have the opportunity to catch up with a model that I am friends with. Brittany and I have worked together in the past. I first met Brittany when I cast her for a car shoot in Boston. Since then we have worked together for a publication as well as development of our portfolios. Brittany is a diverse model that offers an array of possibilities. Her main focus is fitness, but when put in the right outfit, she can command attention from the camera and offer me something that I strive to capture.

We will have 3 outfit changes. 1 fitness and 2 that are more fashion like. Our goal is to produce the shoot in a small amount of time. For each outfit there will be a light change as well. I will have 1 set up for each style. To make this possible I have been doing remote location scouting. “How is that even possible?” one would ask. It is very possible to do remote location scouting.

The digital era has allowed us to produce a vast amount of images and when you do a broad Google search of an area, you’re bound to be presented with more than enough visual information to build a shoot from the ground up. For example, let’s say that I can not budget time or the expense to get to a specific location in NYC, but I know I have a time frame for a shoot. I could do a Google Maps search of the location I have in mind and see what the location looks like from the ground level. This will allow me to see if there are any logistical challenges that would prevent the shoot from happening. If an area seems appealing, taking a few more moments to do another search may yield some images that could further help you decide if the area is right for the shoot.

Detail of downtown New Haven via Google Maps. Screen Capture: Photo Credit Google Maps.

While a Google Maps view will show you an area, some details, some architectural or natural elements that can be an asset to the shoot, it will not show you the lighting conditions that might be relevant to the time of day or the season in which you are shooting. However, if you look at the above screen capture, you can see that the building across the street provides some incredible reflected light. I would spend a few moments examining the area via the website and try and figure out when I would be able to get similar natural light. This is where you can get a bit geeky. There are a bunch of apps that show you position of the sun/moon on any given date and time. These apps will allow you to forecast the direction of the natural light, which will allow you to build your set ups based on this information. This one time, not at band camp, but for a shoot that I was doing for the owner of an incredibly well built Camero, I was tasked with finding some killer locations in Boston. I know Boston well, well enough to say, yes this will work and go right to the spot and know that a great photograph will be made. However, I needed to find some spots that were unique and new to me. I needed to think outside the box. I turned to Google Maps and began searching the city from above. Within an hour I had a list of places that I knew, based on the visual information that was provided, would make a great backdrop. Days later I was able to drive right to the spots and get what was needed with ease. Working with a car is a bit different than a person.

Cars are larger than people, unless you are shooting one of those "smart cars" that look like a soccer ball, and when you place them in front of things such as buildings, cityscapes, certain architectural elements, there is a bit more wiggle room as opposed to doing so with a model or two. While people are smaller and you can create a smaller environment with them, it isn't always easy to hide certain elements from a background, like if you did so with a car. This is why it is key to doing a very thorough search prior to arriving at your location/s. 

Screen Capture: Photo Credit Google Maps.

Screen Capture: Photo Credit Google Maps

For the shoot on Friday, I spent nearly an hour just researching the one location I have in mind. There are a lot things I am considering, such as easy access to the location, elements in the location, such as bridges, backgrounds, trees, benches, other people. I want to ensure that when I arrive I will be able to set up and be ready to shoot. Brittany will arrive with her hair ready for one look, ready to transition into another look, and finally into the third look. The same will be occur for her makeup. This way we will maximize our time more efficiently. To assist with planning, Brittany was kind enough to create a Pintrest "mood board" and show me a few ideas. You know things are meant to be when you both have the same vision even though you didn't get to a certain point in planning and you are seeing what you want to accomplish.   

I will be posting the photos shortly after the shoot so keep a watchful eye for a post showcasing the photos. 

Photography: Personal Work by jeffrey byrnes

This July 4th we spent the weekend on Cape Cod. We have been doing so for the last 4 years. Last year a hurricane came through and pounded the coast, flooded Provincetown, and delayed the celebration of the birth of America. This year was a much nicer weekend and with it I was able to capture some photos from a unique vantage point. 

While I was out exploring parts of the outer Cape, I pulled out my handy dandy iPhone 6 and made a panorama, not featured here, shot, edited, and posted the image with the quote, "To explore is to learn." I strive to find what is unique about the places I visit, travel to, spend time at. I want people to see what goes unseen. I want to show others how I see what is around them that they otherwise are not viewing. I took a drive to a place I found last year on the 3rd. I stood on the bluffs and watched as the impending hurricane filled the bay side of the outer Cape with threatening clouds and a lighting show. I was eager to get back and see what it would look like with a nicer day. While the path is well walked, I have never seen a single person walking in or around that specific area. Off in the distance, down the beach, people can be seen exploring. 

Everyone loves a great sunset, right? When the sky lights up like the inside of a fireplace, it commands your attention. I find joy in making photographs, I always have. I have also found extreme joy in closing out the day with an incredible sunset. I love warm, natural light that makes a late afternoon glow. While watching the sunset, we were surrounded by what seemed liked hundreds of people, more so than the pervious years. At least half the people that were walking the bay had their cell phones out. I found it quite irritating that people were to busy making photos of each other instead of watching the sunset. Occasionally I would see someone using their phone to capture a few shots of the sunset. Being one of the only people that had a real camera, undoubtedly, I was able to capture what others were either to busy to or unable to do with their phone. 

Have you ever seen a sunset in black and white, see below. 

There are places that we visit that hold special memories that have now evolved into places of new memories. One such place is Rock Harbor. After 4pm  you're allowed to bring your dogs onto the beach at Rock Harbor. We have a new little dingo, hound, shepherd mix that we adopted back in October. This is his first summer at the beach and at the Cape. We are extremely happy that we have a place we can take him to frolic and play. 

If you are familiar with Cape Cod, explore what you have yet to see. If you are new to visiting the Cape, get out and explore. It is easy to get caught up in the tourist traps, the fishing nets of the cliche establishments that everyone thinks are "the best." Find what you like, find what is unique, and find a place to call your own. To simply put, go enjoy Cape Cod. 


New Work: Portraits, Fashion, Architecture by jeffrey byrnes

I often discuss upcoming posts that I intend to make. I tend to do this after I travel to some where cool and make some great images that I want to share. However, when I am back, I usually get slammed with work and it takes me twice as long to post. This has been the trend for the last year or more. It is not because I do not want to make regular posts, it is because I have experienced a new kind of busy. In fact, the last 5-6 months have been crazy super busy.

Just how busy? So utterly busy that I haven't been able to get a whole list of things done, mostly personal work. I have had some major life changes happen, such as getting married on May 23rd. That was kind of a big deal and took up a bit of time, but a very happy kind of work interruption. The kind that makes you happy. I traveled to Florida immediately after the wedding. A small honey moon, as we will be in Italy for almost two weeks in August/September. Fun times to come! You would be able to see in a post made a few months ago that, my now wife, was in the hospital for a few weeks. That was a major thing and took some time away from work. Life happens, right? Sure does! But through it all I have been able to make some incredible images, work on some incredible shoots, meet some new clients, and have had fun. 

My drone now has a set of eyes in the sky and I am enjoying that, because that is a thing and within this crazy career of being a photographer, it is not just an occupation, obsession, love, it is my hobby. My drone is a toy as much as it is an economic device. 

Over a year ago I photographed Devin. He is a child actor quickly building a resume that is sure to land him much success in the near future. Devin is a great kid to photograph and when we work together, he gets some great images and I get a great addition to my portfolio. The first shoot I did with Devin was for comp cards to get him noticed. He had already done a few awesome projects, including Sex Tape with Camron Diaz. That shoot was in studio. His mother requested we do something different, so we shot outdoors in a location that we both knew and thought would be a great backdrop. 

I am very happy with the above photograph. It is a mixed variation of natural and artificial light that I used to create this image. I truly enjoy working on location and combining natural and artificial light. 

As a portrait photographer, it is my job to make portraits that capture who a person is. The end result is to get incredible images of my subjects so they can use them as they need. In Devin's case, he needs get images to land him the work that he needs and wants to do. 

My day to day work, at the moment is Architecture. I work with agents, brokers, and developers to photograph a multitude of properties. This is where my drone comes into the mix. I am using it to capture landscapes as well as properties, buildings, high end homes. For me architecture is a fun kind of busy. 

A few years ago Kelly asked me to do a shoot. We knew each other from school and had connected outside of the classroom. She needed some good shots of her as she was asked to model for a company. I obliged and we had a great time in the studio. Since then I have photographed her a few more times. Recently we had a chance to catch up and do a small shoot. 

Alyssa is a super talented model and dancer. I had the pleasure of connecting with her when a photographer I am friends with brought her to a shoot we had. I quickly realized that she was super talented with dancing, but had no idea until the second shoot her and I did. What makes Alyssa so unique is that she can jump into a number of "roles." She can be the face for a portrait shoot, the model for a fashion shoot, the talented dancer for a shoot the encompasses dance and fashion. The super pop art image, her on the ladder in color and black and white is one of my favorite dance images that I have made. It is super fun, edgy, colorful, yet the right amount of dramatic. I have more of those to come!

I am navigating my work and career into the direction I want to be in. It has taken a few years to get where I am, but I can say without a doubt, I am no where near where I want to be. I have a set of goals and ideas for the future and I am taking drastic steps towards them. But for now, while I am in between the hard work and play, I take steps back to just relax and enjoy myself. My job as a photographer is as rewarding as it is fun. 


Photography: iPhone, iPhonography, iPhone 6 by jeffrey byrnes

Since the winter I have had an iPhone 6. I am a brand whore but at the same time I rely on Apple to run my businesses. While my iPhone does govern my day to day life through the alarm, calendar, camera, a few business apps, and a few editing apps, I value my phone as a device that can make some pretty incredible photos. I have been longing for one of those little Fuji cameras, the ones with the cropped sensor, possibly the one with the fixed 35mm lens, for shooting day to day things I find interesting, in between work and work. The Fuji cameras are pretty awesome, but they can not take a photo, edit, and share across a multitude of social media platforms. 

Apple has been releasing 30 second commercials on the television that show stills and videos that are shot on the iPhone 6. Some of the clips are in slowmo and look pretty fun. I admire the photographic aspects that are packed into this device because I know they are powerful, both from my use and because it is an upgrade from the 5s. I have seen large ads, very large scale billboards, promoting the iPhone through strong images that were made using the device. I have mentioned using an iPhone in the past. I think right around when I first picked this model up. Regardless I enjoy pulling my phone out and making some photos. 

I went for a bike ride last evening and was rained on. I kept my phone in a ziplock bag, zipped up in my backpack. It stayed dry while cold droplets of rain broke the heat I was pedaling through. Even when the sun came back out and I found some charming spots to make photos of, I still managed to keep my phone dry. I am always very careful when it comes to my devices. I am not in the business replacing equipment, I am in the business of making photographs and getting paid. 

I made some photos. You can see below. 

Aerial Photography: My Drone by jeffrey byrnes

Wow, it has been a long time since I have posted. There are some extreme reasons for that, which will be explained in an upcoming post. 

When I have down time I play with my drone and make aerial photographs. Photography is my life, my occupation, my hobby, as I have said in the past. I wanted to share a few recent images before I head out to shoot some architecture. Not having been able to post in a while has been annoying me, so without further ado.

Cambridge Ma/Charles River 

Cambridge Ma/Charles River 

Mt Tom

Mt Tom

Upper Canal, Holyoke

Upper Canal, Holyoke

Downtown Holyoke 

Downtown Holyoke 

Veterans Park 

Veterans Park 

I take my aerial photography very seriously. Operating a UAV, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is a HUGE responsibility, liability, and should not be taken as a joke, lightly, or if you are using a toy. Irresponsibility can cause serious harm and injury. I have seen people laugh and joke that they crashed, with some drones a crash can be worth thousands, that is if it is just the drone that is getting damaged from the crash. Be responsible if and when you fly. 

Professional Photography: The Creative Process by jeffrey byrnes

One of my favorite photographers, Melissa Rodwell, openly discusses details of her life, which impacts her work; both where she resides and where she works. Over the years I have read various things about how her work has been affected by the events in her personal life. Until now, various aspects of my personal life have intersected with my professional practices, allowing me to produce work based on those crossroads. There has never been a time or a crises that interrupted or prevented me from working until this past week.

Being a professional photographer differs drastically from the amateurs that are out there slinging a camera around, filling up memory cards, posting photos, and claiming they are something special. It is a creative position that has a multiplicity of components that require a time, energy, effort, and above all creativity. Being a creative person means that I am always working, always thinking, always ready to produce work. There are times when the process can be daunting, but the end result is usually worth it. 

Over the last week, starting with last Monday night, I have been in the middle of a medical emergency with my fiance. Life was put on hold for a few days as I spent as much time as I could taking care of her, bringing her to the doctors and then the hospital twice, until she was admitted. Since then it has been minimal work and daily trips to her room to visit her. 

I have hit the backspace dozens of times as I am having a hard time expelling exactly how I feel. There has been a lot of emotions, but not enough ways to express them. The hardest part is watching her go from feeling better, seeing that incredible smile to seeing her fade to a painful place that I am locked out of. I feel like I have gone through the 5 stages of grief 10 fold. At times I am numb, the laughter is a mask, the smile is as fake, and my words suppress the sadness. 

Creativity requires a certain amount of strength. Some people find inspiration in the time of crisis, while others are derailed from their processes. I fell into the latter of the two over the past week. Yesterday and today I had two shoots with a client. I was able to turn my the pain off and reduce the stress by focusing on the tasks at hand. Between the shots, between the set ups, my mind wondered to my fears and concerns. Every time my phone vibrated, buzzing my back pocket, I was shocked back to reality as if I was stunned by a taser. 

How a person works through what is placed in their hands determines their character. I am doing what I need for both me and my fiance. The most important things are checking on her and being there to comfort her, checking in with the doctors and providing updates to those who need them, and working how I can, when I can. I have always heard that keeping yourself busy will keep your mind from wondering to places it shouldn't, but that isn't always possible. The only things that I like to do are work and read. I am too exhausted to read, but working is a healthy distraction at times. When it comes to some of my work I rely on a specific set of skills to accomplish the needs of the shoot and things flow quickly and smoothly. Other times I need to think so far outside of the box and create processes and setups that are complex rule based. Creativity can be hindered when a crisis presents itself.

It has been a very long time since I have produced a personal post that discusses personal details. In fact, I can not remember the last time I did so. Most of my posts are about recent work or something a bit more specific. Sooner than later I will have positive news and share some of the awesome work that I have recently done, as well as some of the upcoming projects. 

iPhone 6: Photography by jeffrey byrnes

Earlier this morning my friend sent me a link to Apple's website, specifically a gallery of insanely awesome photos that were made using an iPhone 6. Li am no longer envious of the Apple technology that is changing how people make view photographs. While cameras in phones are nothing new, every phone I've replaced since 2004 has had a camera, but major advancements and improvements have been implemented into these devices that give real cameras a run for their money.


Cell phones are what disposable cameras used to be. Remember those plastic little wind up film cameras? Yea cell phones have replaced those. Apps such as Instagram are where people go to view the world, connect with people, network, share their visual thoughts and feelings, and more recently their inner most private fetishes. Yes, fetishes. There are countless IG accounts out there, some private some public, some ambiguous, some flagrantly flaunting ownership, but the common thread is they exist for the vouyer and vouyee. I know that some where there is a team of psychologists and sociologists working hand and hand to both diagnos and write papers in how people are creating relationships through social media and the incessant need people have to share every thing they see, smell, eat, touch. 

There are that many more IG accounts that provide the world with original images. My IG page is the inner workings of a photographer. A bit vouyeristic, when I post behind the scenes photos or share what I am thinking. I'm not being hypocritical, merely a trend follower. IG for me is about connecting with the world. I started out using a crappy Droid phone to post photos to IG. I've since changed platforms to an iOS based device. my computers are Apple and so is my phone. I am a loyal Apple user and here is why. I am not part of s cult, as accused of being a few weeks ago, by a friend of mine, photo below. Apple create a great product. The prices are a bit steep for some, but their machines, both computing and cellular, are easy to use and make my professional life more efficient. Recently I upgraded a few components on my 2011 MacBook Pro. That tiny upgrade has now made my life faster, smoother, and I can pump out edits much quicker. How many PC based users are still running a machine from 2011? Probably a lot less than Apple users. Truth be told Apple's technology is top of the line, at least in my opinion and probably most of the Apple users world wide. 

My iPhone is a business tool as well as an extension of my right arm. I post photos daily, respond to emails for business as well as personal, I make photographs, connect with people on a multitude of social networks, and blog. This post was written on my iPhone. The photos in this post were made shot and edited using my iPhone. I've seen a Bently Commercial filmed in an iPhone, I've read blogs about iPhoneography, I've seen iPhone portraits and even a fashion shoot having been shot on an iPhone. These devices are powerful and can do some pretty amazing things. There is still a need for high end cameras, as phones are not there yet. A device than can multi task with as many options as an iPhone has is still quite limited in all its creative freedom. 

As I told my friend when I shared with him two photos I made recently with my iPhone, it is about light and composition. With good light and composition, incredible photos can be made with an iPhone. In short, knowing the device and a set of rules pulled from analog photography, and just like that you're an iPhoneographer.



These two photos were shot in my studio. They were lit by a bank of windows. I processed them in a new retouching app that I just found. I've completely by passed the computer, the camera, the ideology that photography must exist with just a camera. On most days I do not credit people as photographers who Rome around using just a cell phone, but in all fairness, they are. As I leave behind weddings and move more into the commercial photography I desire to be in, I no longer worry about the threat of not gaining clients due to the silliness that is the iPhoneographer stealing clients.   

Take and run with technology. Half the time I am merely creatively playing but at the same time exploring the possibility of something new. Stop and enjoy what you see but keep you iPhone handy for when you want to make a great photo of what you're experiencing. 


Zakim Bridge, Boston, Ma  



Landscape Photo  

 Follow this link to view the Apple iPhone gallery.

Police Officer Promotion by jeffrey byrnes

Last year I photographed  the Holyoke Police Department Promotion ceremony for my friend State Rep Aaron Vega. One of his staff was there to delivery Citations to the officers that were being promoted. This year I was asked by Officer Leahy, pictured below, if I could photograph the promotion ceremony. Officer Leahy was being promoted from Patrolman to Sargent. It was an honor to be able to photograph such a special event. 

Officer Leahy, right, being pinned by his brother, a police officer in Las Vega.

4 officers received a promotion and were being honored. The room was filled with friends, family, and other officers there to show their support. In addition, the media was there to cover the promotions. I was fascinated by the speech that the Chief gave. Amongst the admiration he has for his officers, he reinforced the incredibly difficult time that police officers are facing on a national level. He addressed his officers with reminders of the importance of going home to their families and loved ones. 

New England: This is why winter doesn't suck! by jeffrey byrnes

Here is why winter doesn't suck. Snow. If you are the type of person that looks outside after a fresh snow dump and your head spins while you vomit uncontrollably as if you were staring in a particular movie, you might want to rethink you future in 4 seasons demographic, consult with a physician, because you are possessed with the winter blues. No matter what I say or show you, you will continue to hate the snow more than anything else. 

If you love the winter, love the snow, and when you draw the curtains back and see a fresh coating of white stuff and your eyes gleam harder than if you saw a Red Rider bb gun under your tree, you will enjoy the following photos. 

I went out last night for about an hour. It was much colder than I thought it was going to be. I had a pair of jeans on, winter boots, an interior jacket and a shell to keep me dry. I wore a pair of gloves and a winter hat to also fight off the effects of the cold. I went to a place that I frequent. The time of day was different than the last time I was there and I knew I would find something visually appealing. I moved around a bit, making photos. I decided to switch locations when a large plow came and sat behind my truck. I was unsure if he was waiting for back up to come and tow me or if he was there to pop a few beers down the hatch to stay warm and lubed up on his snowy conquest that evening. I didnt want to chance it so I took off. 

Click the left or right arrow buttons. This blog is kind of sophisticated like that. 

I cruised around with 4 wheel drive on for a few minutes and settled on this location. I was just out to take a break from editing a few projects and needed a creative break from being creative. So escaping the desk was a health decision. I am not one to complain about the cold unless I am suffering. By suffering I mean if I found myself naked and buried in a snow bank. I might be a little "whiny" then. For the most part the cold doesn't bother me. The snow, I love the snow. I always have. Growing up in New England you adapt to the changing seasons and welcome the transitions between. However, when I arrived at the second location I figured, I will only be here a few moments, I don't need my gloves. 

I moved around and made a few photos. I was searching for something unique and think I was able to capture that quite well. It felt a bit colder than when I first left the house. I wasn't sure if it was because my hand was stiff and I couldn't bend my fingers or if it was because my fingers were becoming stuck to the buttons on my camera remote. I figured it was time to leave if my skin was starting to morph into the controls. 


I would like to take a moment to address the City of Boston: Mother Nature doesn't hate you, I promise. New England doesn't hate you, I promise. You are seeing some unusually high amounts of snow this year, enjoy it. Find ways to enjoy it because winters in New England are shifty. Snow one year, not the next. Blizzard upon blizzard one year, flurries the next. Snow is a wonderful texture to the cold. It makes being cold less cold if you have a reason to be outside. Go line the Boston Common with an army of snowmen. Have random snowball fights. Build unique sculptures out of snow, but whatever you do, avoid the yellow, brown, light brown snow. 

New England: Winter Photographs by jeffrey byrnes

January and February in New England see the most amount of snow fall. As I write this post I am excitedly awaiting the arrival of a "blizzard," scheduled to land in less than 24 hrs. This past Saturday we woke up to a coat of snow the covered the ice that formed throughout the previous week. I am not one for early mornings on weekends. However, I found myself wide awake by 6:30 am, well before any amount of snowy cloud-diffused light could illuminate the accumulating snow. 

It took me all of about 10 minutes to decide to go out and shoot. I checked the light a few times while dressing and prepping my camera bag. I was satisfied with what I was seeing and knew what I would be able to capture. For the last several years one of my longest projects has been photographing the urban landscape in our town. I will not dive into the motivating details at this moment. I left the house with the intent of making it downtown and leaving it to intuition to make photographs. While there are a few places I have visited during snow storms, I wanted to avoid them and focus on some new images. 

I did however visit one specific location that I tend to use as a location for shoots. I made a few photos treking through the snow. Even though I have been visited this location in the snow many times, I aways find something new. I want to preface the following by hopefully giving your imagination and memory a run for its memory. If you are not from New England or did not spend any time in the winters in New England, on the slopes skiing or ridding during the winters, then you will not be able to understand this quite as well as a native will. New Englanders, you know that moment when you play in the snow till everything hurts? You are so cold your body is in pain, you may have a slight headache, but you do not want to go in because you are having so much fun? That is exactly what my morning was like. I was outside, making photos, enjoying the falling snow. My hand, cold, firmly molded to the grip of my camera, was slightly red from the snow falling. I wear gloves while shooting when I know I will be outside for more than a few minutes at a time. Having been navigating around the empty streets via 4x4, I wasn't worried about gloves. 

As I began walking down the snow covered walkway of the park I periodically stopped to make photos. I wanted to make my way to the far end of the park and see the recently cut open view of the river. I managed to find a patch of ice covered with snow. I began to break dance, moving in ways I did not know I could move. I tried 2-3 times to gain my balance. Like an ill attempted back flip, my feet came out from under me and I went backwards. I hit the ground with enough force to knock my hat off. I did not drop the camera from my hands until I realized I was horizontal, catching snow flakes on my tongue that was now hanging out of my mouth and my eyes that were wide open in shock. It took me a few seconds to asses my situation and come to the conclusion that I was not injured. I grabbed my head to make sure I was not bleeding. Once I realized I had not bashed my head on the ice I placed the camera in the snow for a second so I could rotate and get up. 

That was the hardest part. Trying to get up was a bit of a challenge. I had fallen with such force that I could already feel a sharp pain in my shoulders, neck, upper back. With a low groan I moved to my side. The soft snow was comforting, but the pain was increasing and I wanted to get up and regain my partially murdered consciousness. My upper body was stiff, my camera wet, my ego shattered. I had a similar fall in 2009 when I was in Boston studying at the Art Institute of Boston. I was walking through the Boston Common when I went to walk onto the ice of one of the ponds. I stepped over a short chain fence, at least I tried to. Some how as I was placing my leading leg over, the snow gave way from the opposite foot and I slipped forward. My legs became a tangled mess in the chains. I fell with force face down into the snow. The film body I was shooting with went down with even greater force right into the snow. The camera was fine, my legs cut up, my ego scarred. I stood up and bowed to Boston for hitting me hard. I had a mile walk back to the school to catch the shuttle back to my dorm. I was cold, wet, limping, and mentally writing the story down for a later point and time. 

Back to our snowy Saturday, 3 hours later I was on location in the snow to make some family photos of one of my clients. Loaded up with two bags and my Profoto light mounted to a stand, I went to step around the corner of the gate to enter the reservoir. I was lucky enough to find another hidden patch of ice. I slipped, once again losing my balance. This time I wasn't trying out for "Dancing With The Stars," I just fell fast and hard. I was also fortunate enough to cut my hand on a phantom object. It was the light, stand, or the bag, but it was a nice little scratch. They say chicks dig scars, not sure if the fiance digs them, but it was just another wound for some sympathy, as if I needed any more. By the time night fell I was in a bit of agony. I have had my share of bad ass shitters. I have a displaced knee cap from snowboarding. I've had 4 staples in the back of my head. I have bad ankles from skateboarding. I have had numerous falls from bikes. Numerous scars from the pedals of my bmx bike, as well as a few other injuries. But this icy, break dance themed fall was hard. What saved me from smacking my head like I was trying to head butt some jerk was that I twisted my body during the fall. I tend to do that when I fall.

In 2012 the fiance and I were ridding our bikes on the rail trail at the cape when she nearly fell off her bike. To avoid hitting her I swerved. I laid the bike down on its side and slid some 20', grinding a nice patch of skin of my right side, arm, back fat, and leg. She enjoyed my fall with a bout of laughter and fear. She noticed that I instinctively turned my head away from the pavement to avoid any concusing bashes. I have always had great balance. I was surprised that I had actually fallen as hard as I did on the ice. By Sunday morning, waking up was rough. I was in pain with spasms. As I write I am comfortably numb on the couch. Out of it all I got some great photos of the early morning coating of snow. Was it worth it to bust my ass so hard? But of course. The small price to pay for a photograph. The moral of the story, be careful, tred carefully, and always watch your footing when you're in compromising places. While I was on solid ground, I didn't evaluate the landscape or expect fresh smooth ice to want to cuddle. Enjoy the photographs below. 

Aerial Photography and My Newsletter by jeffrey byrnes

This year is going to be epic. I am working on some new things, planning some new work, planning some travel. Some of the anticipated work will lead to traveling, hopefully on a regular basis. However, a small change is the newsletter that I will be doing. Basically this is a way of letting you know what is new, where I have gone, what exciting things I have done or am in the process of doing. Use the button below and sign up to be a part of it. 

I look forward to sharing with you in 2015!

Yesterday I photographed a house for one of my best clients, an agent that I work with on a regular basis. Between leaving the house and swinging by the studio to drop off a few things I stopped to take a flight. The snow looked nice so I figured, "why not?" I buzzed around for a few minutes surveying the landscape. 

Winter in New England: Photography by jeffrey byrnes

Winter is usually a time when I can sit down and plan the year out, get taxes done, work on some lingering projects, and spend some time outside. I have a tendency to get in the car when the snow comes and drive off into the foggy wall of falling snow. As much as I love the summer, the sun, the beach, winter brings with it a different light, different colors, and a unique set of contrasts that can only be found in snowy conditions. A few weeks ago we had the first snow fall of the winter season. Not the first snow fall of the year, (2014), but for the 2014-2015 winter season. I happened to be in a rural area heading out to visit a friend when I happened to see some elements in the landscape that I couldn't pass up. I just had to stop and make a few photos. Below is one such photo. 

Recently someone approached me and said there was no way for them to follow my blog or get automatic updates. I have established a news letter/subscribe channel for you to be able to stay current with my work, my blogging, my general photography shenanigans. Simply enter your information below and we will keep you in the loop! Comments, questions, all that jazz still possible below.  

Drones: Know the NOs by jeffrey byrnes

Recently I was interviewed by the local news about my drone, usage, legality, and a few other topics related to the use of drones and the FAA. I begin this post with one idea in mind. One simple thought, which is, I never would have thought technology like this would be so easy to access and that I would be able to fly a camera around. With that being said, here is another thought that came to mind almost instantaneously, never would I thought that making images/video could be so criminal.

The reality is that it is not a crime to operate a drone so long common sense is applied. At least, not at the moment. Here are some no fly examples. Flying a drone around a major airport, that's a big NO NO! Flying a drone around an air force base, an even bigger NO NO! More like a HELL NO NO! Spying on your neighbors wife in the backyard, unless she is a super model and you're a Hollywood Director, yea nope, still a no fly zone. Flying at certain altitudes over municipal buildings without clearance is a no no. Flying over a residential neighborhood under 400' is considered trespassing, a no fly zone.

It really is a common sense practice amongst being a huge responsibility. When interviewed by the news, I was told time and time again that their idea of a story was based on the record number of sales of them over the holidays. Fearing that little Timmy down the street has ones, parents should understand that these are not toys. The technology that is in them is powerful, as powerful as the device itself. Depending on which drone you have, you can have any where from 4-8 spinning blades. That is 4-8 times the ability to hurt someone or something.  

When I say it is a common sense practice, it is really more than that. There are things you have to pay close attention to, such as, where and when to fly, how close to properties you should be, observing privacy, observing a safe line of sight, and safe flying practices. The Dji Phantom that I have has a very high range of altitude. The higher something gets, the further it gets away, harder it becomes to see. If you need a really high up, shot, something from above 1000' charter an airplane, helicopter, hot air ballon. I watched a Youtube  back in 2014 in which the guy sent his Phantom up beyond its limits. When the controller and the drone stopped speaking, he effectively lost the drone. It wasn't until days later after a neighborhood canvas did he get it back by someone who found it. 

I am not going to give you the mathematical or physics breakdown of what would happen with having something fall from 900' up. It should be obvious what would happen, damage. The youtuber went on to say that he wouldn't do that again, yadda yadda yadda. I've never reached my max range with my drone. Unless requested to for a project, I won't be sending mine out to max range. If need be, I would do so with safe guidelines and measures to ensure liability. The truth of the matter is, if you are flying a device in that altitude and it comes back down to earth with a crashing thud, chances are someone or something is going to be damaged. I for one know that I do not want to be held liable for damage to any property. While I do have a good insurance policy in place, that doesn't mean I want to use. 

As you might start to read articles and other similar topics related to the use a drones there is another point being hammered, the commercial use of drones. We have all heard that Amazon wants to use them. We are still a few years away from that happening. The sad reality is that the FAA is dragging their feet in clearing film makers and photographers the right to freely prosper economically from this technology. As I said to someone I know who keeps me in the loop on things from time to time, I feel this is a bureaucratic move. Someone in some office, in some state or federal building is telling someone to tell the FAA to not handle this or handle according to how they want it. Another staggering reality is that people are in fear of this technology. The likelihood that someone operating a drone is going to spy on you is ridiculous. The average person operating one, be it a photographer or videographer doesn't care about trivial matters. They are flying with an agenda. 

I read an article back about two years ago, about the time drones were becoming popular for people, before it became a debated topic. The article went on to discuss a photographer had used his drone, observed a crime being committed and acted upon that and alerted the authorities. Once convicted the criminal then sued the photographer for a violation of privacy. Only in America.... 

The rumors are that the FAA wants people to become a fully licensed pilot. Crazy right? Yes. I would happily take on a permit or some other form of certificate that would allow me to legal right to operate my drone commercially. Even more crazy is that the FAA has "awarded" a select few the right to do so commercially. This to me is a red flag with a question. "How were the awarded?" Was a fee paid that allowed them this "award?" Did the apply and receive the right? I can not say. It may not be clear as to how a few companies were given special permission. But again, this goes back to an assumption, someone is calling the shots. If that were not true, the FAA would come out with guidelines, regulations, rules, permitting, laws, etc. They have not. The FAA tells people that they are not allowed to use them commercially, fines will be handed out, and that the policies will not be set for a few years to come. WHY? 

The future of the use of drones is a largely debated topic with an invisible question mark that is hovering over the heads of anyone who would like to operate them economically. There are real world applications and uses for them that are beyond the purposes of creating cool images. Recently I became aware of these applications when I used mine to film the exterior of an 8 story building that had a partial collapse that forced residents to evacuate the neighboring building and the closure of a major artery for traffic in the city I live in. The moment the fire dept saw me flying over the roof of the building they requested to see my footage. Following that, the city, structural engineers, contractors, and other city departments were able to see the footage and make their assessments. At the very least, the fire dept did not have to risk the lives of their fire fighters by lifting a ladder to the top of the building. 

Aside from the commercial application, there are a number of companies that could be affected by the pending restrictions the FAA is stalling on. Anyone that manufactures drones, drone accessories, parts, or the technology that is used in them could suffer. With a record number of sales in recent months, it is obvious that they are desired and that more people are accepting of them. I read an article yesterday that discussed briefly that pilots of real planes, the ones human beings occupy and are transported in, are reporting the sightings of drones more frequently. The article, brief as it was, mentioned 25 reports a month by pilots. The article did not specify the manner in which every report was logged, meaning just how close each drone was, where the pilot was seeing them, how low the plane was when they were spotted. It was geared towards a more objective response to their rise in popularity. I wonder, think with me for a second, are pilots reporting every time they see a bird? Don't think so. So why is it that a drone is worth so much scrutiny? Again, this goes back to people fearing them. 

According to another article that I read, the FAA has won a law suit that effectively re-designated drones as "aircraft." Shenanigans I say. More bureaucratic politics at work. Having them renamed as aircraft now allows the FAA and anyone else for that matter the right to impose further restrictions. The bottom line is that we do not need such stiff restrictions on drones. As I said, I would be all for the legal right to operate commercially. I am by no means arguing against the FAA or saying F the FAA, I am merely trying to defend anyone that wants to use them economically. I wait in wonder as to the future of the economic use of my drone. It is irritating to be reading nonsense on the daily. 

In closing, drones are a lot of responsibility. They are not toys and should be regarded as a machine that requires a proper understanding of how they operate. If anyone tells you they are easy to fly, the are mistaken. It takes quite a bit of practice and even more thought and precise control and care to fly. Each flight should be well considered and all spots should be well scouted before flying. As I said earlier, common sense is a must. If you are common sense deficient or prone to accidents, please avoid operating a drone. 

The above pictured images were made under safe conditions. Flown in an open area, away from a high traffic airport, and a safe distance away of objects, I observed my surroundings carefully and with caution for what could come into the airspace of my drone. I knew the locations well and did a precise scouting prior to taking off. When I purchased mine, I was not given a handbook of procedures to follow, there was no guidebook for common sense in the box. I applied a set of professional skills and relied on my intuition and smarts to make these photographs. I would encourage anyone who is using or planning to, do so with a smart, clear, objective mindset. Don't fly where you shouldn't, don't push the limits unless you can do so safely, and lastly, just don't do anything stupid...