It’s been a long time coming…

My First Blog!

I've been interested in photography ever since I was a child - I had an old Kodak Instamatic that I used to take with me wherever I'd go - and there are pictures of me with a camera in my hand. Of course, back then, there was the finishing of the roll of film, taking it out, driving it to Valley View (showing my age, I suppose), take it to to the photo counter... and wait. Maybe a week or so. Drive back to the store, & pay for the pictures... Do you remember the anticipation of opening that white paper envelope, and going through the pictures? Elation, and sometimes disappointment, when you'd find out that one shot you thought would be really awesome came out blurred, almost unrecognizable.

Fast forward, ohhh, say thirty-some years. I was at a point in my life where I had been through a lot of different things in my life - some great, some not so great, but I was at a point where I was ready to buy a digital camera. This was right around 2005, and I went to the Sony Store in the outlet mall in Grove City and bought a Sony Mavica camera - used a disc, like a little CD - and it worked GREAT! I went to Lake Shore Park and immediately took pictures of ducks, the beach, a ladybug(!), an empty Budweiser bottle sitting on one of the big rocks by the shore - and a whole lot more. I got the camera home and downloaded the pictures (took me a while to figure THAT one out) - and was thoroughly pleased with myself.

At that point, I was hooked again. Except, no paying for film, no trips to the store to get it developed, no waiting, no paying for processing - it was instant gratification. And with my background in radio control hobbies (I ran an R/C hobby store in the 80's), I still had a natural interest in putting the two hobbies together - and came up with a business: Scenes From Above LLC. It was my plan to incorporate photography with an R/C helicopter - and was in the process of doing this, when *BAM* the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) came out with a ruling that did not allow commercial use of aerial r/c units UNLESS you had the equivalent of a private pilot's license. Which, to me, made it quite prohibitive.

This didn't totally discourage me - I pursued elevated photography using a telescoping mast, and picked up business with some of the local realtors in and around Ashtabula. I also joined forces with Real TourVision (RTV), a national virtual tour production company located in Traverse City, Michigan, and they helped me tremendously by giving me leads and opportunities to hone my photography and processing skills. They put me on to opportunities with sports facilities, healthcare and rehabilitation facilities, and a lot of hotel / motel shoots. I learned a lot from them, and hope to grow my business with them in the future.

Which brings me to today. The FAA finally made rules that make sense, and I recently passed my Part 107 test, and I am now certified to fly commercially. And, I've given in to the public's definition of what it is I fly. I used to call it a "quadcopter", but to the rest of the world, it's a "drone" - so I'll go with the flow for now. I'm really looking forward to going out and making life easier for all types of people - realtors, insurance inspectors and claim adjusters, industrial inspectors, cell tower inspectors, farmers, and the list can go on and on. There are so many applications for these aerial services, and there really aren't too many people in my area who are certified to do it (that I know of, anyway). I'm excited about this new line of work, and it's something that I've been pursuing directly for the past 12 years - And as I get closer to a potential retirement age (YEAH RIGHT), it's something that I hope I can rely on to help maintain my sanity, AND my lifestyle...

So, sorry so long - I promise there shouldn't be any more posts of this length, but I just want to get it out there, that I'm ready to take on the world!

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