April's Featured Pilot: Jonathan Hansen! | Aerial Guide

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April's Featured Pilot: Jonathan Hansen!

Jonathan Hansen has be a great contributing member to our Facebook Group for a while now. He relatively new to our community and drone photography in general, he’s only been shooting for about 3 months with his Mavic Air - but has been very helpful in the community and respectful to everyone and I can’t wait to see the new photos/videos he posts while traveling with his wife! Let’s get into the interview

How were you introduced into the world of photography/videography?

I have been a part of the world of photography since I was in elementary school and got my first Vivitar point & shoot. When I got to high school, I upgraded to a Pentax K-1000 SLR camera and did a lot of black and white photography. Years later, when I picked up the photography hobby again, I upgraded to Pentax DSLRs and recently a Sony Mirrorless. My father was always into taking "family movies", and he got me interested in video too. I used to make stop-motion animation on old camcorders and would sometimes make funny videos with my friends, growing up.

How did you get started into photography with a drone?

After playing around with cheaper drones like the Syma hobbyist drones, I decided that I wanted to take a more serious approach to drone flying and also expand my photographic capabilities with a drone that had a stabilized camera and better controls.

Do you use your drone for commercial work? How did you get started in commercial work?

Not at this time, no. I hope to take the part 107 certification exam sometime within the next year if possible, but there is no rush for me as right now it is just hobbyist flying, for fun.

Did you go to school for photography/videography or are you self taught?

With the exception of a black & white photography course in high school, I am "self taught". My philosophy is just to study what images excite me and then go & try to make images that I would find inspiring or exciting. This involves a lot of exploration and experimentation along the way.

What’s you favorite photo or video you’ve ever taken?

With the Mavic Air, it would probably be one of my recent shots that I captured during a quick visit to Old Sacramento, along the Sacramento River. There are many unique buildings in the area, but the "California State Teachers' Retirement System" building had a very unique design with a side of the building that is almost completely glass windows, creating a compelling, reflective quality to the structure. I took the Mavic Air up to a specific height that allowed me to capture this beautiful reflective quality and even see the Tower Bridge and the cityscape of Sacramento in the reflection. This is something that could never be seen or captured from regular still photography on the ground.

What’s the most difficult part of being an aerial photographer/videographer?

Learning to operate with various limitations, whether mechanical or safety-driven. I had to learn about all of the FAA rules & guidelines which I was previously unfamiliar with.

What inspires you to get out and shoot?

I just enjoy the freedom of being out in nature and exploring new areas, from new angles, to get a fresh perspective on things. Everyone dreams of being able to fly, and this is essentially that dream come true for many people.

What’s your best piece of advice for anyone just starting out with drone photography/videography?

Stay away from trees and maintain a line-of-sight with your drone at all times, even when you're tempted to do otherwise. I have learned this the hard way. 🤐😳

What’s your current drone/photography setup?

I use a Mavic Air for drone photography, which helps to complement & expand what I am able to capture on the ground with my Pentax K-1 & Sony A7iii.

What editing programs do you use?

Lightroom and Photoshop, almost exclusively.

How can people find you online?

www.HansenPrimePhotography.com is my personal website with some of my images for sale (no drone photos are available for purchase at this time).

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