Here at Cincinnati Refined, we consider it our duty to show off the Queen City. And thankfully, that’s not a hard job. This city is amazing. But sometimes we run out of ways to highlight the Tri-state in unique and different ways. I mean, there’s only so many photos of the Roebling Bridge that we can take from Covington’s Riverside Drive… right? Honestly, we will never tire of taking those pics. But still, we do try to find new perspectives. So lucky us when local drone photographer Patrick Donovan (known on IG as _thatdroneguy) reached out and started sending us his pics. … Because, whoa!
Donovan is a Cincinnati native, though he lives in Northern Kentucky with his family now. And when he’s not flying his drone, he’s a sales manager at General Electric-Global Operations.
Without further adieu, it’s time to hand over the mic to Donovan. In the interview below, he offers insight into what prompted his passion for photography, his style, and plenty more.
Cincinnati Refined: What first inspired your interest in photography?
Patrick Donovan: Photography is something I’ve been passionate about for a long time, and looking at National Geographic growing up is what inspired me to give it a shot.
CR: What’s your camera of choice? The one lens you can’t live without is ______.
PD: Great question, and this is sort of a unique answer since I use a drone. My DJI Phantom 4 Pro has a stock lens, which is a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor. It shoots in JPEG or RAW and is capable of also shooting video in 4k at 60fps. I do have a goal of upgrading my drone which will give me the ability to swap the lens when needed for things such as depth and being able to adjust to the job at hand. The camera I have on my current drone is great for pictures or even something like surveying a roof, inspecting a job site, or even weddings.
CR: What’s your most memorable and/or favorite experience while shooting?
PD: When I was asked to shoot the March of Dimes/Walk for Babies, held in Downtown Cincinnati. It’s an incredible event, one that has had a significant impact locally and nationally.
I also shot Blink Cincinnati and that was truly a wonderful experience. That really highlighted Cincinnati as a place with a rich sense of community.
Lastly, I’ve had some memorable moments with storms, seeing them roll in and then capturing their true size & reach because of the perspective my drone has brought to those moments.
CR: How would you describe your photographic style?
PD: I would describe my style as unique and progressive for this area, since there aren’t too many other drone photographers/videographers around here. I try to not only take a pic that will bring a new perspective to an area but also to incorporate an artistic touch to some shots, like the one of my kids on the tennis court where we made it appear that they’re getting pulled up the side of a building. I will say, the other people I know who use drones locally have really done an excellent job of showing off the city of Cincinnati.
One thing I love about photography is how people can feel and see a picture in 100 separate ways. You can bring out emotions of all kinds.
CR: What’s at the top of your photography bucket list?
PD: I have so many ideas in mind for different projects and artistic vantage points that I know my drone can provide. So far, I’ve really enjoyed getting outside with a ton of sidewalk chalk and drawing a cool scene and shooting it from that top-down perspective. Once it warms up, I’ll have a lot of new material to send to the Cincinnati Refined team!
I’m also looking to travel to some new locations in 2018 which should bring some great new material to share with everyone.
CR: Any advice for aspiring photographers?
PD: Take the shot! I’ve found myself editing and working with old pics/videos I’ve completely forgotten about and then pushing those out through social media outlets and they turn out to be big hits. I’ve learned that no day is the ever same, when it comes to the weather, vibe, crowds, events, so if you think it’s interesting or unique… take a few minutes to get some shots.
CR: Motto to live by…
PD: I’m a big believer in “you get out what you put in.” So put the effort into whatever you do.
I also believe in finding something you’re passionate about and do it for you—learn it, master it, and teach it to others.
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You can follow Patrick Donovan's drone photography on Instagram @_thatdroneguy. And don't forget to scroll back to the top to see some of our favorite selections of his work, which (in the interest of full disclosure) does include some images that were taken outside of Cincinnati.