Want dreamy winter photos? Take to the air with a drone

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SOARING A HUNDRED or more feet in the air, a drone camera captures hawk’s-eye views—and dazzlingly abstract patterns—normally impossible for earthbound humans. Thanks to a range of price points and skill levels, the flying cameras (or drones that take existing equipment for a ride) can be deployed by both professional and amateur photographers with equally ethereal results.

Middlebury, Vermont photographer Caleb Kenna uses the superpowers imparted by his DJI Mavic-2 drone camera to turn his home state’s bucolic farmland, winding rivers, and wild forests into cubist-meets-impressionist dreamscapes all year. Winter is his favorite season to take the drone out. “The snow is a wonderful canvas where you find shadows of trees and buildings,” says Kenna. “Add sunlight, and you can get some beautiful blues.”

Read more: Drone footage gives unique look at spectacular Lake Michigan ice formations

Once you know the basics—how to pilot the gizmos, where you can’t use them—drones offer ample opportunities to let creativity take flight.

Pro tip: Know FAA drone rules

“Several years ago, I excitedly bought a small, mid-priced drone, downloaded the app, charged it up, and turned it on,” says Brendan McCabe, a photo editor at National Geographic. “The blades whirled, the lights blinked, and it slowly lifted a few feet off the ground. Magic! My kids clapped excitedly at the prospect of having our own flying machine.”

McCabe lives in Washington, D.C., which has some of the most restricted airspace in the United States. “As quickly as it started, the GPS in the app figured out where we were, and the drone promptly landed and shut itself down,” he says. “Drones are prohibited here.”

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Photo credit: Press


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