Achieving Artistic Quality with Inexpensive Equipment: 9 Great Aerial Shots Captured by Toy Drones

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Not too long ago we met Morgan Tyree, who has been experimenting with photography on toy-grade drones.

He mentioned that he’d recently done a talk at the public library in Cody, Wyoming, where he had about 20 images on display from a series of photos he’d taken using toy drones.

We were intrigued, so we asked him to send us some examples.

What we saw when he did impressed us, and we wanted to share his work here so that you can see what he’s been able to accomplish using only toy drones and relatively inexpensive gear.

Morgan’s message is simple: you don’t necessarily have to use an expensive drone to do serious photography.

But don’t take our word for it. Check out these pictures Morgan has taken on various toy drones—we’ve included the drone and camera he used to shoot each image, as well as a few words from Morgan for each picture to provide some background and context.

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Scout Practice // Photo credit: Morgan Tyree

This picture was shot with a Syma X8C using a Mobius Camera.

The Bridger Scouts are a Montana Class C Six-Man football team, and they’re one of 30-plus six-man football teams in the state of Montana. This picture of them practicing was taken on their second week of summer practice.

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Wind River // Photo credit: Morgan Tyree

This picture was shot with a Syma X8C using a Firefly Q6 Camera.

This section of the Wind River is known as Wind River Canyon. It’s one of the most scenic drives in the state, and it typically lives up to its name, (except on this particular moment, when the winds were relatively still and let me to fly my quadcopter for a few minutes). This shot was taken in February of 2017.

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Tanker Climbs // Photo credit: Morgan Tyree

This picture was shot with a Syma X8C using a Mobius Camera.

This is Badger Basin in Northwest Wyoming. This route is the fastest way to Red Lodge, Montana for skiing, fly fishing, mountain hiking, or quality beer (Red Lodge Ales). 

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Really Cold // Photo credit: Morgan Tyree

This picture was shot with a Syma X8C using a Firefly Q6 Camera.

On this flight over Wyoming Highway 114 between the towns of Garland and Deaver, Wyoming, it was -18°F. Nevertheless, I kept my batteries warm right up to the time I powered up the Syma, and was able to get this shot. It was a solid 7-minute flight and I only landed the aircraft because my hands were starting to freeze. The Pryor Mountains can be seen on the horizon—this was shot in February of 2017.

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Polecat Bench // Photo credit: Morgan Tyree

This picture was shot with a MJX X-101 using a Mobius Camera.

Polecat Bench (a.k.a. “The Bench”) is a large mesa/small plateau that rises about 600 feet above my hometown of Powell, Wyoming. It’s a great place to ride a mountain bike, and if the wind isn’t blowing too hard—although it seems like it always is when I go there—it’s a good spot to fly a drone. Some days you might find me riding my longboard down the asphalt road that climbs up The Bench.

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Oregon Wind Farm // Photo credit: Morgan Tyree

This picture was shot with a MJX X-600 using a RunCam Camera.

I was making my way to Portland to see my partner, Marsha. I had made this trip many times and always wanted to make a detour so I could get a closer look at the wind turbines along the Columbia River Gorge. The wind was bad, as you can tell in the picture, and it was a challenge to fly my six-prop MJX X-600 carrying the RunCam, but I was glad to be able to get this shot.

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Mississippi River Bridge // Photo credit: Morgan Tyree

This picture was shot with a Syma X8C using a Firefly Hawkeye Camera.

I was returning to Wyoming from Ohio after visiting relatives. It was near the end of the day and I really needed to pull over and stretch my legs. I took the first exit off the Interstate after crossing the Mississippi River and found a quiet little place near the bridge with my Syma X8C. It was a two-minute flight, if that.

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Badlands Bound // Photo credit: Morgan Tyree

This picture was shot with a Syma X8C using a Firefly Q6 Camera.

If you want to enter Badlands National Park in South Dakota through the back-door, this is your road. Taken in the summer of 2017.

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ArtYardMini // Photo credit: Morgan Tyree

This picture was shot with a JRC H5P using a 808 Keychain Camera.

This image is from a flight over Northwest College (where I work as a graphic design educator) not long after a heavy snowfall in February of 2017. I had noticed that the wind was really calm at that time, so in between classes, I powered up my modest JJRC H5P with the 808 keychain camera and took advantage of the moment to get this shot.



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