Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League

24-10-2018

The Drone Racing League, the Formula One of drone racing. It's run by the company that published a video early 2016 which got me addicted to this "sport of the future". Two and a half years went by and now? Now I'm shooting photo- and video for that USA based company who got me crazy about droneracing in first place.

A drone racing buddy of mine that goes by the nickname of "ShaggyFPV" ended up in this league with his superb drone racing skills. After a few races I asked him if he could put in a good word for me as a photo/videographer. A month went by and I really didn't think anything was coming out of it. Until I suddenly got an email if I possibly had time to shoot the DRL race at BMW World in Munich. After some skype calls and e-mails, I was driving towards Munich on a Friday morning at the end of July. I was so so so super stoked to be part of this gigantic media circus.

I shot some drone races before, some local races, the MWC Shanghai Drone Race and also the DCL final in Berlin in 2017. So I knew the drill for the most part. As a pilot myself I understand racelines (so I know where the drones will be) and get which perspectives are going to end up looking good on a photo. It's a huge advantage and also during the event in Munich it made such a difference in how I could snap some shots. The thing is, in all previous races I could go and stand wherever I wanted, note: everywhere but at my own risk. Not at DRL though, there is a pretty secure system around safety and to be honost, I'm glad they take safety so seriously.

Each heat (whether it's practice or a real race) in DRL works with timeslots of 5 minutes of preperation. In these 5 minutes, the course is opened for a select group of people to forfill their job. Mine ofcourse is setting up a camera for the next heat and getting the angle I want to photograph. After those 5 minutes, the course must be cleared, no one is allowed, no matter how important you are. So how to take those shots? A remote trigger is the magic word. I have 5 minutes to frame a new shot, adjust my tripod (because of the long exposure shots) and see if I can remote trigger my camera from a safe location. 5 minutes seems long, but trust me, picking up your camera, seeking a new vantage point, testing your shot and be safe in time is shorter then you might think.

Besides the long exposure shots I also took shots of the tech-ops at work, aswell as the stars of the show: the DRL pilots. I'm super thankfull that my employer at DRL gave me total freedom during the event concerning where to be at what time, as long as I had the shots. Again, it helped me so much that I already knew some of the pilots and understanding them, so the connection was made easily which also resulted in some cool personal upfront shots that I otherwise would never have made. All in all, it were 3 days of shooting that I will never forget and in which I learned so much about this aspect of (live broadcasting) event photography.

DRL Munich was just the beginning. Not long after DRL Munich I was invited back by DRL to join them at the DRL season finale in Saudi Arabia. Due to NDA's I can't post anything of that trip yet, but I'll get back on that on my blog asap! 😎

Below you'll find some photos I took, you can also checkout the full DRL @ BMW Welt Munich collection.

Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
Dream jobs: photographing The Drone Racing League
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