This month, the Insider zooms in on the work of one of Poland’s best-known drone photographers: Aleksander Głowacki, a.k.a. Alex Snaps Colours…
WI: So many of us dream of owning a drone – what’s the most important thing we need to know when considering getting one?
AG: Above all, you need to know what you can and can’t do in the first place. Knowing the relevant regulations will allow you to understand how to operate the drone safely and have lots of fun while doing so!
Among other things, you train people to fly drones – what mistakes do you see beginners make?
People tend to ignore basic preparations, like not letting the drone save its Return To Home position – that’s when things go wrong and, quite often, they’ll lose the drone as a result.
Tell us something that public generally won’t know about drones?
The airspace above your home does not belong to you. Drones are aircraft and as such they operate under aviation regulations.
How did you get involved with drones – when, why, how!
Well, as a photographer I reached a point when I wanted to take shots from a different perspective. I began by taking photos from the viewing platform in the Palace of Culture; then, my wife – who is a pilot – took me on a flight where I was able to lean out of the airplane and take pictures. It would have been impossible to go flying every day to feed my growing hunger for aerial images, so getting a drone was a logical progression.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as a photographer?
Always double check your gear and plan your shots – sometimes you don’t get a second chance.
As the name Alex Snaps Colours suggests, your photos are vibrant, exciting and fresh. How do you want people to perceive your photography?
I want to give people something that is positive. Sometimes, after a hard day, you just need to be reminded how beautiful and vivid this world can actually be; if my work can do that, then I consider it to be mission accomplished!
What makes a good photo?
It makes you feel something. Whatever that might be – sadness, anger or serenity (the latter is what I aim for).
Your bird’s eye perspective allows you to see cities from a totally different angle. As such, has anything in Warsaw ever surprised you?
I continue to be amazed how fast the city is growing and changing – it’s a living organism and each and every flight I make feels different from the last.
What are your favorite conditions in which to shoot?
Spring and autumn definitely yield the most beautiful shots; I tend to stay put if its raining or the wind is raging outside.
Has the pandemic affected your work?
When everything first stopped I used that time to learn more about videography and I’ve found that becoming something of a passion. Picking up video was always going to happen, but for sure the pandemic accelerated that process.
You shoot many towns and cities – is there anything that makes Warsaw special?
It’s incredibly diverse in terms of architecture. It suits my aesthetics so that I can just search for new shots without an end.
If you could go anywhere in the world right now to shoot photos, where would you choose?
Honestly? Anywhere. It’s been the longest travel break I’ve ever had in my life; going anywhere, whether it’s abroad or not, would make me happy.
Your job sounds brilliant and it’s safe to assume you love it to bits – given that, tell me something you don’t enjoy!
As with all jobs, the big thing to watch out for is when work becomes routine. I’m doing all I can to avoid falling into that trap.
Tell me about your editing process…
When it comes to software, then 95% of my work revolves around Adobe Lightroom with a little bit of Photoshop as well. As for any rituals, then black coffee and some background music always help boost the creative juices!
Finally, what’s your state of mind when flying a drone?
I consider flying a drone to be almost a form of meditation. When I’m flying, I’m 100% focused on the task in hand and let myself float away on beauty of aerial views.