Updated: Mar 1
✦ Paul Witney combines high end technology with intuitive natural creativity via drone photography to save animals, buildings and assets.
Creative Drone Services Australia was born out of Paul’s passion for drone photography, nature, art and creativity. His mission is to create carefully crafted imagery to save wildlife, protect assets and inspect critical infrastructure.
As the director of the company, he offers personalised aerial photography and videography services specialising in drone photography and videography. He offers a range of services that will make you look at this little drone with new eyes of respect.
Examples of Drone Services to safeguard Real Estate, Landscape and Assets
Thermal mapping for koalas
One project Paul embarked on was the Thermal Koala Survey where infrared waves were used to spot wildlife. This is of particular importance in this region because thermal mapping is used to ensure that the koala habitat is preserved. Previously, surveys were conducted using visual means and that was really difficult. In comparison, thermal drone surveys are far more beneficial because they are time and cost effective, plus they provide real-time visual and spatial data on koalas as well as other species.
You could say that drones are helping koalas get a leg up to ensure their survival. The data Paul harvests from these drones is critical to stem dwindling koala populations throughout Australia. The information can be used to highlight the potential impact of development on this recently listed endangered species.
Aerial inspections of assets
Another project using drones for aerial inspections of assets. This is a faster, safer and more economical way to inspect critical infrastructure.
Creative Drone Services also use drones for solar and roof inspections, and the biggest benefit is the aspect of safety, particularly on houses higher than 1 storey or commercial premises. Drones are able to give a detailed, high resolution image and / or video of the roof to check on cracks in tiles, failure in flashing, or to check the cause of overflowing gutters. You'd be surprised the amount of information a drone can capture.
It is also beneficial on buildings where tiles are too brittle to walk on, such as heritage sites. Drones have helped to discover the exact cause of certain issues. This helps to save time and money on repairs. No more literally walking blindly in the dark trying to figure out what's wrong with a structure!
Paul has also deployed drones for thermal solar inspections to check for issues. Thermal images can check the efficiency of panels and cells that may be damaged, or not working as they should. This is a more efficient way of detecting issues and implementing more cost effective repair. Regular drone checks of solar panels can confirm their efficiency and also allow for early detection of faults which saves money on all fronts. With their Head Office based in Port Macquarie, Paul and his team are able to respond quickly to local requests for Solar Checks which are an easy and affordable way to monitor this asset.
What a mapping drone does is it can autonomously take images over large areas in relatively short time periods, allowing for increased speed of mapping and visualisations. This is also done without the use of heavy equipment, increasing the safety of all involved.
Drones use sensors at different angles to create thousands of accurate data points, including geo-references, elevation points and colours. These data points can then be incorporated into a 3D image to give a unique perspective and view of the area.
This is also useful in the creation of digital clones of structures and landscape to monitor degradation of structures over time or erosion of landscape. It can even be used to capture the intricate details of heritage buildings to facilitate repairs that preserve the original design.
The more Paul tells us about the uses of drones, the more fascinating drones start to appear! Its uses are highly extensive and beneficial, be it for humans, animals or buildings!
About Paul Witney
Going from the bustling city of Sydney where Paul was based for 27 years to the beautiful Port Macquarie promised exciting and amazing discoveries for Paul. It was a whole new canvas for him to take his drone exploration even further. He actually spent his childhood in regional NSW, so it was like coming full circle for him. It meant a rediscovery of the natural beauty that is so abundant there and which is so precious to him. It is the beauty of this natural environment that Paul feels drawn to protect. Having always been fascinated with nature, he has brought this passion from childhood to our present day when in 2020 he completed more training and gained qualifications in drone flying. And now he is using drone technology to protect the environment.
Paul has been kept busy working with the film industry for online community events, partnering with companies to create virtual tours and he also has a line of commissions by individual clients and businesses for personalised projects. While his portfolio includes landscape photography for the wider community where he has had the opportunity to film and photograph places as amazing as Tasmania, Europe, New Zealand, Uluru, Paul is also exploring other ways the drone can benefit our wildlife, natural environment and urban infrastructure.
Love for the Drone
A drone is basically a flying robot that can be controlled remotely. It can fly autonomously with a software-controlled flight plan embedded in its system, with onboard sensors and global positioning system (GPS). In recent years, drones have evolved at lightning speed. Nowadays, it can even deliver your coffee! From search-and-rescue, traffic monitoring, firefighting to photography and videography, its uses continue to expand.
2015 was the defining year for Paul. He got his first drone and hasn’t looked back since. What Paul loves most is its practical applications in areas such as biodiversity, habitat protection, animal conservation and water safety.
Paul’s team are all made up of highly qualified drone pilots. They all hold a Remote Pilots License (RePL), Certificate III in Aviation, First Aid and Aeronautical Radio Operator Certificate (AROC). There is clearly a whole world to drones that the average person may not be aware of. Come into Paul’s world and you’ll discover there’s so much more to drones than just a flying machine.
One can’t help but wonder at this unusual combination of technology, art and intuition. We wanted to know where Paul draws his inspiration from.
“Creation is my inspiration. The expansive interpretation of nature, the showcase of infinite wonder and beauty in creation provides a never-ending resource to discover. The drone becomes a tool that facilitates this exploration of our natural environment and enables the capturing of moments that can remind us of the essence of creation and speak to our hearts.” - Paul Witney, Creative Drone Services Australia
It's clear why Paul is working hard to use drone technology to protect this 'essence of creation'. We live in an incredibly beautiful world, and sometimes it takes a vastly different point of view, thanks to the drone, to remind us to look beyond our two immediate eye sockets and realise there is so much out there to be experienced.
A drone is a machine and that means safety is going to be important. That is why clients need to know the credentials of the people operating the drones when engaging the services of Creative Drone Services.
“Expertise and safety are paramount when dealing with drones. The skills to fly drones safely, as well as the knowledge of safety requirements are essential and when coupled with the creative passion and artistic expression we are able to move forward on projects with confidence and excitement to see what evolves. It is vital that in all situations we make an assessment of potential risks and knowledge to respond appropriately.” - Paul Witney, Creative Drone Services Australia
Drones are governed by NESA regulations when flying in airspace. Pilots need to have a thorough knowledge of this. Paul’s team know what other aircraft are in the area, and sometimes it is also necessary to communicate their location to others lying in the same area. An understanding of first aid is also essential in remote areas, because Australian fauna can have its dangerous side.
For those of you who are intrigued by now about drone photography, you must be wondering what equipment Paul uses. He uses the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, which has a 1” sensor, and can take jpeg and raw photographs up to 48mp in size. It can also shoot a 4k video.
Paul’s other go to is the DJI mini 2, which is smaller, more transportable and can go places where the Mavic 2 can’t reach.
For normal camera work, Paul depends on a Nikon Z6, with an array of lenses.
As everyone who is into photography and technology knows, one piece, or even three pieces of equipment is never enough! Paul is looking to expand their fleet and there is a lot of excitement bubbling about this. Follow Paul if you want to know what other equipment they bring on board. In fact, read on and you’ll find out the latest addition to his technological arsenal!
Droning into the Future
Paul has no signs of stopping and is going to keep taking flight to wherever his drones take him. With his love for nature and photography, he is developing a business plan to work with other people in the sector to use drones to find new solutions to challenges.
For this purpose, Paul has purchased two new drones - the Mavic 3 Enterprise (M3E) and the Mavic 3 Thermal (M3T).
These drones allow Paul’s team to complete 2D and 3D modelling of land, buildings and structures, for surveys and visualisations, maintenance and safety. The thermal drone will be used for biodiversity surveys, and especially Koala surveys for the NSW area.
Paul is certainly kept busy with his drones and projects, but he always has time to also engage in creativity outside of work. He is often found creating memories with his family and friends. Building relationships is his personal creative canvas, and he has painted on it laughter, smiles, great conversations with loved ones over a good cup of coffee, and just simply good times together.
Paul loves meeting new people and he never stops exploring the Mid North Coast. There is so much it has to offer, one is always discovering something new! Paul's work with drones is helping to raise awareness of the positive work drones can do for our environment. One can't help but be envious Paul has such an interesting job that also does so much good!
Where will Paul's drones take him next? Follow him to find out!
Experience a drone's eye view of landscapes here:
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