Droning on and on... REAL EDINBURGH

Advances in technology now mean that as photographers we have access to tech that can totally change the way we take pictures, none more so than the drone. Drone photography has moved on so much in the last few years it's now possible to take great quality images for a relatively low outlay.

St Abb's Lighthouse

St Abbs

While I had used a drone before this outing, this was the first with a DJI Phantom 3, the tech that changed taking aerial images totally. Prior to this drone I flew a DJI Phantom 2 that hoisted a GoPro up into the skies but you had no control over it, with the Phantom 3, you had total control of the camera from the ground and built into the standard package, the ability to see what the drone camera saw.

St Abb's Head on what was a pretty windy day
Glenfinnan Viaduct


The best use of drones is out in the wide open. Technically, flying a drone in a town or city isn't legal and as we'll see later, it's best not to go there. Glenfinnan though was a perfect spot as long as you kept at a distance from the viaduct, these was no other way to get this particular shot.

View towards Loch Sheil and the Glenfinnan Monument
Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags

Arthur's Seat

One of the few places I have attempted to fly in Edinburgh is around Arthur's Seat. It's great to be able to get new views of a subject I know so well.

Various views of Arthur's Seat
Belhaven Bay

Belhaven Bay

Belhaven Bay just outside Dunbar is the home of the photography famous, Bridge to Nowhere, the bridge over the Biel Water that floods at high tide and cuts of the bridge. A great wide open space away from any air traffic and a perfect place to get a few unique views.

The Bridge to Nowhere from above and from about 30ft above
Loch Lugnaig

Loch Lubnaig

Loch Lubnaig lies just north of Callander and it's a great stop off point on the way to Glencoe, the water here more often that not is mirror like. Using a drone, I could fly out over the water, hover about 10ft above the surface and get a view simply not possible (expect by boat!)

The Pentlands

The Pentlands

As wide open spaces go, they don't get much better than the Pentland Hills. The shot above was the result of a sea haar drifting in over Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat had been "fogged out" but a drive to the slopes above Balerno gave a unique view of the approaching fog bank.

Harlaw Reservoir near Balerno
Glencoe & Glen Etive

Glencoe & Glen Etive

How do you do anything different in Glencoe? One of the most photographed places in Scotland. Head up there on a decent weekend and the place is infested with photographers. Put a drone up though and get a little bit of a different view!

Glen Etive / Black Rock Cottage
Prestonfield through the fog

The down side...

However, there is a sinister side to the drone stuff. Media hysteria over privacy issues has bred a certain suspicion of their use. There's also a lot of debate of the rules of flying with plenty armchair experts out there willing to give their view.

The image above was taken from Arthur's Seat as a fog rolled in, on an off chance I could get above I put the drone up and flew to the maximum permitted hight, an altitude of 120m. As luck had it, as the drone got there, there was a hole in the fog and I got the shot.

3 weeks later after showing the shot off I had an email from the Police wanting to chat about the image. I had been reported for breaking the guidelines of drone flying (note guidelines... not law). I had done nothing wrong as the police confirmed but it does start to make you somewhat wary when flying.

The fallout of that incident meant I quit flying, simply too much hassle but after missing it a lot I'm back in the game again with the new DJI Mavic and looking forward to what 2017 back in the skies brings!



Created By
Grant Ritchie


All photos copyright, Grant Ritchie/Real Edinburgh

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.