The drones started as a hobby. John Waterston, a local mortician and former Los Angeles filmmaker, was intrigued by drone technology and bought a starter model a few years ago.
Then he bought a nicer quadcopter that was ruined in an accidental water landing up north. He was heartbroken.
“I broke my own cardinal rule: letting it out of sight,” he said.
His new model weighs about eight pounds and can fly up to 400 feet in the air (a Federal Aviation Administration limit).
“I’ve taken it almost everywhere with me,” he said.
Now Waterston, a Lynnhurst resident, is available to shoot video for real estate listings and weddings. He said the quadcopter provides a nice alternative to a photographer on a ladder. The drone can move up to 30 feet per second under ideal conditions.
“It can travel fast,” he said. “It can be so many different places in a matter of seconds.”
Waterston said residents on private property need not worry about a remote camera peeking into windows — the camera isn’t quite that good, he said.
“Think of it like the Goodyear Blimp,” states his website, johnnydrones.com.
He’s taken aerial shots while out on the ice at Lake Harriet, photographed Walker Art Center’s Spoonbridge & Cherry, and captured the changing seasons at Minnehaha Falls.
Waterston is also interested in approaching golf courses about high-def video shot hole by hole.
“The Masters this year had incredible drone video of each hole,” he said. “I think there are so many uses for the technology.”