See some of the images that owners Doug Duer and Paul Gibbens have captured with fly-overs of well-known Erie landmarks, and hear Duer talk about the complexities of learning to control the Hex Kopter.
Duer, 70, was at the controls a couple weeks ago on a sunny afternoon in Liberty Park, while business partner Paul Gibbens played his usual role, a combination of spotter and air traffic controller.
"Nice and easy -- up -- looking steady," Gibbens
said from a few feet away, encouraging his
friend as he
eased the tiny helicopter into the air.
and Duer, who met in their church choir, were out for more than some fun at the park.
Part of their appeal, said Gibbens, creative director for Lilly Broadcasting, is that they portray familiar places and things from an unfamiliar angle
"Anyone can take a picture of the Niagara," he
"How many people can take a picture from 150 feet in the air?"
Shutterbugs have been taking photos from the air for nearly as long as there have been airplanes, but Gibbens
said the results aren't always the best.
In many cases, he
said, the planes are too high, the angle is wrong, and the images on the ground are too small.
By comparison, Gibbens
said, Elite Aerial Images
uses a helicopter that can buzz close over top of its subject, often flying at 150 feet or less.
"Sometimes we come back with nothing," Gibbens
Elite Aerial Images owners Paul Gibbens
, left, and Doug Duer demonstrate their remote-controlled camera at Liberty Park in Erie on Aug. 8.