I admit it. I have a drone. (To the theme song from Cops, "Bad Drone, Bad Drone, Whatcha Gonna Do, ...") I do try and be a nice drone guy, e.g. staying away from people, animals, not invading privacy, ... But I do love using the drone to take aerial pictures.
Here's one image:
The resolution, focus, etc., is actually pretty decent. Did I lift a big heavy camera? Nope... The image above is a panorama stitched together from three video captures! OK, it's 4K video (four times the resolution of 1080P "HD" video). Some technology helped:
The camera controls are primitive on my setup. Turn the camera on, press the record button, go for a flight, land it, turn record off, turn the camera off. I do have an "FPV" system ("First Person Video") that lets me see from the ground what the camera sees from the air. So the trick is to zoom around while the always-on camera shoots interesting stuff. If you think you're in an interesting spot, hold the drone in one position (in my case by turning on "loiter" mode, which uses GPS and accelerometers to keep the drone over one spot) and "spin" the drone by controlling yaw in discrete steps. That way you'll get a few seconds of stable video pointed to cover each part of a panorama.
The image was stitched together in Photoshop CS 2015 in Photomerge, with a little bit of massaging. (Often you'll rebuild a piece of the sky to block out a propeller.) The steps:
(There may be a better way to do the above, do let me know!)
Note: if you'd like a full-resolution copy of this or any other drone image, just contact me or leave a comment. Happy to send it to you. (I don't have a commercial UAV license, so I won't ever use an image for commercial purposes.)
More drone shots here...
Finally, here's a great picture of my little miscreant, taken by a friend (I was busy playing pilot):
(photo courtesy C. Bradshaw)