Working in the photography department at the South Australian School of Art for the last six years, I have seen photos shot from just about every angle conceivable. Developing my own work to stand out from the norm led me to combining a few obsessions; Holgas, electronics, and radio-controlled multirotor aircraft.
The first challenge to overcome was getting a fully manual Holga 120N to be able to be shot from 300+ feet in the air. The answer came in the form of two radio-controlled servo motors and a Arduino micro-controller. One servo activates the standard Holga shutter, the other servo detects this action (via the Arduino) and advances the film one frame, the camera is capable of shooting at the blistering speed of one frame per second.
The next challenge was trying to see what is was that I was aiming the camera at. A miniature video camera mounted in the Holga’s viewfinder combined with a video transmitter sends the live feed back to a set of video goggles to allow accurate composition of shots. Getting the camera in the air is the job of a multi-rotor copter or UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), a battery powered flying craft capable of carrying the Holga for about ten minutes up to a range of approximately 1.5kms. I am currently experimenting with different films, but have found T-Max 100 and Velvia 100 to work extremely well for the subjects I am shooting. Recent media and paranoia have led a lot of people to fear ‘drones’ or flying cameras, this project is to show that the technology can also be used to create.