ICARUS Ambassador Ivan Todorov: Flying in Bali!

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Padang bai, Bali, Indonesia

The photo you are about to see below has been taken on a recent trip to Bali, Indonesia but first

I will discuss how I happened to be at the right place at the right time to take this amazing aerial

photo of one of the most iconic beaches of Bali.

Arriving after a long distance flight, I was quite tired but somehow managed to save some

energy and meet up with my friends, who happen to live on this tiny piece of heaven, for

traditional food and beer. After a short discussion we decided that we would visit one of the

famous temples on day 2 (photos in the next blog post) whereas on the third day we would set

up on a mini adventure trip to Whitesand and Blue Lagoon beaches situated on the Eastern

Balinese coast. My Mavic Pro has been fully charged up and ready to capture the greatest

views I’ve probably ever witnessed in my life.

The journey from where I stayed was only about 20 miles but it took us about hour and a half on

a motorbike. You may think we have been riding at a snail’s pace but traffic is hectic and you

have to be very careful so that you do not get involved in an accident. After a snorkelling

expedition with a local off the coast I managed to have a better look around the aforementioned

beaches and plan what exactly I wanted to capture.

I wanted to capture the sharp contrast between the beach and the mainland jungle, which totally

resembles one of Indiana Jones’ movies, and how each stands out and has its own charm.

Since I wanted to capture some boats, both Whitesand and Blue Lagoon beaches have not

been suitable as they are tiny and you cannot really see the same number of boats you can see

in my photo. Consequently, I decided to go to Padang bai beach which is also a tiny port

between the two beaches with a ferry terminal, making it an ideal spot to take the shot. With a

bit of help from one my friends I managed to take off from the Northern side of the beach with

plenty of space between the drone and the boats without breaking the Indonesian drone law

which is similar to the law in the UK with the exception of height. You are allowed to fly up to

150 metres as long as you keep the drone in sight. With regards to the settings on the drone I

have only increased the shutter speed slightly to take the photo. Lightroom and the VSCO app

have been used to edit the photo and increase the wow effect.

ICARUS Ambassador Ricky Evans - Receiving his PfCO!

The highest (pardon the pun) point of this month came on the 17th of May when I received my confirmation from the CAA that my application had been approved and I was officially a certified pilot!! The sad news is that a couple of days before I had been approached to carry out a job locally!! A lady wanted some pictures taken of the land behind her house to see how best to go about building some runs for her horses and other animals. Still never one to miss an opportunity I carried out the work for her regardless. During our conversation we talked about my impending certification and how I couldn’t charge her as I didn’t have my commercial license but was happy to do the work ‘as a bit of promotion’ within the area. The job was really simple, up take some pictures and back down again producing about 15 images for her including a nice image of her house and the land she owns. I’m happy to say that she was delighted with the images but was not content without me leaving with a couple of jars of homemade jam and some free range eggs she had made herself! (well not the eggs!) Hopefully no-one will call this commercial gain although I may put on a couple of pounds if I eat all the Jam!! Luckily enough my first EVER paid job came through a couple of days after I had officially received my licence. A local businessman has been building a whisky distillery in my local area and called to say that the stills were being delivered and could I come and cover the installation on the ground and in the air. I had already produced a video of the site some months ago so had already undergone a site health and safety briefing and apart from filling in the necessary paperwork, I was ready to go! Again the job was fairly straightforward and the video should be up at www.lindoresabbeydistillery.com the site is also really interesting and tells the story of the first monks to EVER make whisky back in the 13th century.

Looking forward I have a rather tricky wedding to film from the air next month. The bride is wanting her arrival done completely from the air as she will be arriving in an open top Porsche! The venue is surrounded by trees however and I have already started my forward planning to ensure she gets the shots she needs……yes I have started praying to the rain gods!!

My website is still in development and should be live within the next month although I’m having some teething issues with the content and how it is laid out. I also need to improve my marketing strategy for Rickford Lyndon Aerial and really start to promote the business locally. No rest for the wicked!!!!

ICARUS Ambassador Rob Shoesmith - May 2017

Rob has won our seventh Facebook photo contest with his outstanding photograph.

In return for winning our contest and agreeing to champion the ICARUS course for the next 12 months, he's received a free course worth £999 and is now on his way to earning a PfCO.

As you'll be hearing a lot more from Ivan over the coming months, we thought we'd introduce him through some questions below.

 What drone was used to capture this photo?

I used a DJI Phantom 3 standard to capture the photo. It was in Fort William Scotland. Unfortunately at the end of my trip I had a crash with my drone deciding to autoland in a salt water Scottish loch! I was gutted to say the least as my drone had to go to drone heaven. The electronics were fried beyond repair. I'm just so happy that I managed to capture this photo. 

What other drones do you fly?

I fly a Mavic Pro and intend on eventually buying an Inspire 2 or a Matrice. I just need to save up some pennies first :). 

Where are you based?

I'm based just down the road from your Oxfordshire base in Coventry. I plan on moving to the Scottish highlands at some point as I love the drone photo and video opportunities there. Such a stunning place and I'd highly recommend drone flyers check the area out! 

What grew your interest in drone technology?

Visiting the Scottish highlands and a love of technology. I love vlogging and making little videos so thought a drone adds a totally different perspective. Plus when I was a kid I always wanted a remote control plane but never got one! I'm a kid at heart so owning a drone was a no brainer to me. They are so much fun and allows me to explore new places in the great outdoors which is a great thing!

What’s the most exciting/interesting thing you’ve photographed/filmed from the air?

I'd say a Scottish castle not far from Oban. It was the perfect day with great lighting. I also love finding weird / unusual patterns with the camera facing down. Abstract is something I love. I plan on hopefully filming / photographing some crop circles. I think it would look awesome! 

How long have you been flying unmanned aircraft (including model helicopters etc.)?

I got my first drone just before Christmas last year and am now totally hooked! 

What do you plan to do once you gain your PfCO?

'd love to sell some of my photos online mostly of landscapes, perhaps some event videos / photos and long term set up a drone hire centre where people can come and have a go. I'm keen to show technophobes how great drone flying can be! My background is in social media and PR so I'm thinking I can come up with some creative social media campaigns for clients with the drone and having a pro licence will most certainly open some doors for me. It'll certainly add a string to my bow!. 

Do you have a website?

I'm developing a website as we speak. I'm very active on Instagram where I'm vlogging about my experiences of getting my pro drone licence. It's a great platform to be inspired and to ask questions and share some of my work. Looking forward to sharing news of me winning your contest. I'm so delighted and look forward to the training course and meeting you guys! 



ICARUS Ambassador Jamie Edwards - ICARUS Course Testimonial

Winning the ICARUS Ambassador program was a huge honour and was looking forward to the course weeks before I attended. The site was a gorgeous manor house and stables which made the perfect setting for such an exciting course. 

When I arrived we were greeting with a welcome smile and a well needed coffee from Gail and Ella. This was the first time all the students met and was a good chance to introduce and get to know each other. There were a multitude of backgrounds including surveyors, hobbyists and police men. 

Our instructor was Tom who was extremely knowledgeable and was very approachable. Tom explained the history of AMP and how they became market leader in their field. Tom then went on to explain his background in aerial filming and how long he has been training for. 

We were handed a very well played out training manual that outlined the whole course. At first it looked very daunting when I saw sections of the course labelled "Weather' and "Clouds" but Tom soon put us at ease. I cannot stress enough how well structured the material was and how Tom approached teaching was a joy to be a part of it. The day was broken up into small sections with many breaks to absorb the information and grab any refreshments that were required. 

Lunch was around 12/1pm depending on how the course was going and we were treated to a fantastic 3 course meal put on by the staff. There was a multitude of options from cold snacks and sandwiches to hot food such as fish pie and lasagne and all the food was included with the course.

After the first day some of the students decided to go to the local to socialise and get to know each other a bit more while other headed to their hotel and revised the material learnt that day. There are a lot of local hotels near by and some are even listed in the welcome pack that is sent prior the start of the course.

The second day was like being at school again knowing that you have an exam at the end of the day. I am not going to lie, I was a bit nervous as I am not good with tests. I kicked off the second day with a large cup of coffee and started to look over my extensive notes from the previous day. Tom outlined the final days work that included a revision period just before the exam. 

As the day went on the nerves started to build but Tom was ensuring we had the tools and the ability to pass with flying colours. After our revision session we had to leave the room as Tom needed to setup the room for a closed book exam. It was like being back at school with strict conditions. We entered the room and sat down while the rules of the exam were explained to us. We were given an hour to take the test but most finished it in around 40 minutes. The test was multiple choice which really made a difference. 

Safe to say all the students passed and thanks to Tom I would definitely recommend the course to anyone wanting to pursue their PfCO. 

Thank you everyone at Aerial Motion for their help and support.

ICARUS Ambassador Ivan Todorov - April Contest Winner!

Ivan has won our sixth Facebook photo contest with his outstanding photograph of the Circus, in Bath.

In return for winning our contest and agreeing to champion the ICARUS course for the next 12 months, he's received a free course worth £999 and is now on his way to earning a PfCO.

As you'll be hearing a lot more from Ivan over the coming months, we thought we'd introduce him through some questions below.

 What drone was used to capture this photo?

The drone I used to capture my photo was the DJI Mavic Pro in 4k.

What other drones do you fly?


Where are you based?

I am based in London/Portsmouth.

What grew your interest in drone technology?

I first became interested in drones because of aerial photography and the amount of opportunities you get by using them. You can use drones for all sorts of commercial purposes for example; agriculture, construction etc..

What’s the most exciting/interesting thing you’ve photographed/filmed from the air?

This has to be Bodiam Castle in East Sussex!

How long have you been flying unmanned aircraft (including model helicopters etc.)?

I have been flying for nearly 6 months now.

What do you plan to do once you gain your PfCO?

Get some commercial work and carry on improving my skills and attracting customers for private events, like weddings and birthday parties as well as construction inspections. 

Do you have a website?

No not yet, but hopefully in the near future.