HAMLET — While most spectators watched Wednesday night’s fireworks show from the lawn near the Depot, City Lake or other terrestrial locations, Richard Ozzy Graham had a bird’s-eye view.
Standing near the train station with his drone a little more than a tenth of a mile above him — “close to the action” — Graham got see how fireworks look from above.
“I wanted to do this last year, but unfortunately the city canceled,” he said in an email Thursday morning.
Graham has been been taking drone photos for a little more than a year and posting them to his Graham Kracker Aerial Photography page on Facebook.
The most difficult challenge of his photographic feat was dealing with his own nerves.
“I was nervous being so close to the train tracks and there were a few people standing around watching the show,” he said.
“I wanted to get as close as possible to them,” he added, though he wasn’t worried about getting shot down. “I was about 400 feet in the air and moving — I’m sure it would have been difficult to hit me.”
The aircraft for his craft: a DJI Phantom 3 Standard. Down on the ground, Graham used a Galaxy A6 tablet and cellphone to watch the footage.
He bought the drone from “a guy in Raleigh off Craigslist” and has “been turning heads ever since.
Graham said he became interested in drone photography by watching “awesome” by Australian YouTuber juz70 — “and I tried to follow suit.”
“Contrary to popular belief, all drones aren’t toys,” he said. “If you research it, you will see that they are quite amazing.”
Although he doesn’t have a drone pilot license yet, he has “looked into it — all I need to do is study.”
Graham is one of several Richmond County residents who have taken up the hobby, in addition to John Baker (Skyview Images) and Jonathon Hildreth (Hildreth’s Image).
They’ve flown together several times, including over a farm near Cordova and uptown Rockingham.
Asked if he had a favorite spot for flyovers: “Any place I can fly is my favorite,” he said. “Everything looks different from above.”
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]