In some situations a camera pole, also known as an elevated mast camera, is just as good

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Drones are the perfect tool for getting ‘eyes’ on difficult to access places such as chimneys and roofs, but they aren’t the only option. In some situations a camera pole, also known as an elevated mast camera, is just as good. In areas where it may not be safe or legal to fly a drone, an elevated mast photographer offers the solution.

Telescopic aerial pole photography has been used by building surveyors and insurance loss adjusters for some time. The equipment has also been used for filming and photographing sports and by estate agents for property photography. Camera poles come in various lengths depending on the type of work required, with 10 metres being a typical range.

So when should you hire an elevated mast photographer rather than a drone operator, and what are the things to consider?

Firstly, an elevated mast has limitations in how it can be move and its field of view. A drone can fly up and over complex building and roof structures, whereas a pole-mounted camera works from a static point in the air. If you need something like a video flyover for an aerial inspection of a roof, a drone is the better tool.

For inspections of smaller buildings it can be cheaper to hire an elevated mast photographer. With a powerful zoom lens a pole-mounted camera can capture images from several vantage points to record the condition of a roof and check guttering and drainage.

In sensitive areas such as close to airports and military installations, it can be far easier to hire an elevated mast photographer than a drone operator. The same applies in heavily congested areas like the centre of London.

It is possible to launch a drone in these areas if the operator has the correct permissions from the CAA and works with the relevant authorities, but it can take time and additional fees may be required. An elevated mast photographer still has to follow Health and Safety regulations, but they are less onerous than those governing use of drones.

The weather conditions can also become a consideration when it comes to aerial photography. For a roof inspection in the aftermath of a storm the winds may still be too strong to launch a drone safely.  An elevated mast photographer with a robust rig could potentially operate in these conditions.

Many members of Drone Safe Register offer elevated mast camera hire as well as their drone services.

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