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Don Alm
August 24, 2014, 04:42 PM
Waay baack in 1984 I moved to the mountains of Colorady As has ALWAYS been my life....I look for Opportunities rather than "J.O.B. s".

I was skiing in the Aspen area one day and got one of my "Hot Flashes". As I stood on top of that mountain I could see some nice homes and a thought shot thru me; "I'll bet the owners of those homes would like to see a photo of their home...FROM THE AIR!

So....the next day I went down to the airport and asked the person at the counter (in the Private Plane section) if she knew anyone who had a "High Wing Cessna". She replied; "I know JUST the right pilot....his name is Murray and here's his number!"

So....she let me use the desk phone (this was B4 Cells) and I got Murray on line and I told him I'm an individual and I'd like to take some Aerial Photos of Homes & Properties around Aspen. I understand you have a 150 Cessna, would you be willing to take me up for an hour and, if so...what would you charge?"

He comes back with, "$50 an hour!" I then said, "That's great! What time tomorrow can you take me?" He says, "How bout 8am?" I respond with, "Oops, too early. The sun is better at 11!" He says; "Meet me at 11 at the counter you're standing at".

So....(I won't go into the story of how I got a Minolta Zoom Package for $250) (Heck! I saw an ad in the local paper of a college kid needing cash to get home! I phoned him and whala!).....I met Murray the next day, he explained that I could open the window on my side and the draft would hold it open and....I would have to unloose my seat belt so I could hang out the window to get a straight down shot OVER the wheel!"

He had to stay 500ft above the ground, which was perfect for my shots. (However....once in a while, when I had to hang WAY OUT....I'd remove my seat belt completely and Murray would have to grab my belt with his left hand and guide the plane with his right)

So....I banged away for an hour...landed and gave the FILM to a developer. When I picked up the film I had my printer, print out some shots and...I wrote a note on the back that

"Here's an AERIAL PHOTO of your house. If you'd like more copies or enlargements....give me a call at 555-1212 and I went to the neighborhood and stuck the cards on the mail box posts of the houses I recognized.

I started getting calls asking what my fee was and I built a GOOD business from scratch. (Some of my photos are STILL hanging on Chamber of Comm walls)

So....update to 2014; One of my "students" emailed me some photos of what's he's doing with TOY DRONES. These are AWESOME! Nowadays, in the "Digital Age".... there are "toy helicopters" that can carry a camera, send a video photo back to and respond to "snap a photo"....without the need for expensive camera gear or airplanes.

Just rig the thing up.....send it out over whatever territory you'd like to snap a photo of and....snap away.

"Drones" can be BIG moneymakers.

Don Alm

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