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airspace near airports, or even buzzing an NYPD helicopter,” he says. “A few people taking stupid risks are giving drone users a bad name. But it’s not complicated to fly if used right.” Like Michaelis, Caroline Ballard ’72 and her husband, Jerry Smith, came to drone photography wanting good photos from the air. Both realtors at the time, they conceived their business, Over and Above Photography, in 2008, thinking they could take better photos than most used to sell homes. Before drones were available and affordable, they tried other solutions: helium blimps and extendable masts, which were hard to use in the windy mountains of Vermont, where they are based. Now retired from real estate, they operate DJI Inspire drones to photograph stately houses for their owners. To free up Smith to navigate using his iPad, Ballard controls the camera from a second device. As with similar drones, they’re limited to flights of around 20 minutes on one battery, but that’s as much time as they generally need. What caused them trepidation was trying to build their business while commercial uses were still prohibited. They had applied for authorization from the FAA but joined a backlog of thousands of applicants while exemptions were being granted only to pilots. “That’s a specialized skill set that’s not really

Michaelis ’74 used a drone to capture this unique perspective of Manhattan from the Hudson River.

Photos by Peter Michaelis ’74

THE USE OF SMARTPHONES MAY HAVE DEVALUED PHOTOGRAPHERS' WORK, BUT AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY HAS EXPANDED PETER MICHAELIS' OPTIONS.

10/21/16 7:36 AM

Profile for Concord Academy

CA Magazine Fall 2016 Issue  

The fall 2016 issue of Concord Academy magazine features stories about CA Labs and commercial drones, as well as a preview of an innovative...

CA Magazine Fall 2016 Issue  

The fall 2016 issue of Concord Academy magazine features stories about CA Labs and commercial drones, as well as a preview of an innovative...

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