Top Pilot Interview with ”Romeoch” Romeo Durscher

Romeo Durscher know on Dronestagram as ‘romeoch” is one of our talented dronists and also a top pilot on Dronestagram! He is the Director of Education at DJI, inspiring the next generation to get into a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) field. We wanted to know more about his passion for aerial photography. 

Tell us something about yourself
My name is Romeo Durscher and happen to work in the drone industry. I got into all of this because of my passion for the technology and the creative capabilities it can provide. 

I love taking aerial images; from single images, to panoramas to more obscure shots. 

How did you get started in drone photography and why did it appeal to you?
I used to work on a NASA space mission and I always enjoyed exploring new technologies. In 2011 I started playing around with multi rotors and soon had my first camera in the sky. I realized the potential and started doing aerial pictures and panoramas. Within a few weeks I was hooked. I wanted to do more, explore more and have even more fun. Like I said, I was hooked.  

What kind of drone do you have for the moment?
I have so many drones at home. From small indoor drones, to larger and more complex systems. The last couple of weeks I have been spending a lot of time with the DJI Mavic Pro – what a cool, little and powerful platform. It allows me to travel to locations easier, with less weight and equipment and it still gives me fantastic output.

What are the biggest challenges for drone photographers?
When you are new to aerial photography it takes some time to not only learn the hardware and safe flying techniques, but it requires a change in thinking. You now have a camera in 3D space – you are not limited as limited as with a ground camera. Take advantage of that. Aligning your subjects or objects has never been this easy. And don’t forget – looking straight down is powerful.

What are the rules to follow in your country?
In the United States we have finally reached a point where both hobbyist and commercial people know what it takes to do it right and legally. For hobbyists you have to register your drone with the FAA before flying. This is a simple process and costs $5. Then you have to follow some common sense regulations; stay away from airports, fly below 400 feet, fly in daylight and not over large groups of peoples. Just use common sense. If you are trying to make money out of your data, then you need to pass the FAA 107 Airmen Knowledge Test and follow a similar set of rules as above. Make sure you inform yourself about local regulations and where it’s ok to fly and where not.

Who are 3 of your favorite Dronestagram pilots and why?
There are so many talented aerial photographers out there and I love browsing through the submissions on Dronestagram.

I always love when somebody creates a picture that takes me a few seconds to realize what I am looking at. That to me is fun.

What’s your favorite shot and why?
I don’t have one singular favorite shot. Many images have special meaning to me because of the location or the moment when I created the picture. From taking images inside the world largest cave in Vietnam (and doing a live TV broadcast from there by means of drones) to the Notre Dame panorama from several years ago. Or the first pictures trying something new; long exposure images, HDR panoramas etc. 

Here’s Romeo Durscher’s most viewed picture on Dronestagram with more than 12 000 views! 🙂

What do you like to do when you are not taking photos?
Being able to take pictures happens around everyday life. Between work, and trying to stay healthy, spending times with friends and family, I love to travel, cook a good meal and enjoy a fantastic bottle of wine. Of course there always is 8 hours between bottle to throttle! 😉

Romeo Durscher and his best drone experience

Share your best drone experience!
Sometimes it is hard to believe that it’s almost been 5 years since I started playing around with multirotors. I had already been flying remote controlled aircrafts before and then got very fascinated by the idea of something more stable than a helicopter. But in reality it all feels like it just happened yesterday. The technology has come so far and everything is so integrated these days. The early days were really it; you had to figure it out on your own. There were hardly any descriptions or manuals and people helped each other via online communities. Those early days of the technology I will never forget and I bonded with many people while unscrewing screws so I could get to the inside of a drone to add a new component.

What piece of advice or tips do you have for any drone photographer?
There is not just one! First, have an open mind. You will go to a location and fly and realize that there are so many other beautiful things than that one location you had your mind on. Take advantage of that. Experiment. Try different things. And don’t forget to always look straight down – that’s the one shot that so many miss!

Thank you Romeo!