Steve McCurrach aerial photographer and story teller

Steve started dabbling with aerial photography in 1994, making use of a Powered Paraglider. This marvellous craft allowed ideal positioning on site and was a stable platform, operating at a very low cost. Perhaps the only drawback to a PPG was it’s limitations in terms of speed, allowing for only one target site per outing. So whilst the PPG got Steve into the air and provided a low operating cost, it was not productive. 

Now using regular aircraft since 2008 which have ‘the legs’ to go out and position for the capture of say 6 – 10 sites, in the same time frame as what the PPG did just one site – so a much improved and more economical method of getting up there and gathering imagery. Wherever feasible, the aircraft of choice now is a top wing SkyReach Bush Cat and it’s most favoured attribute is the slow loitering speed for photography and yet the speed to travel quickly to distant sites.

Modern technology, in particular the emergence of drones has arrived in a place where I can offer the best of both worlds – the quick and very economical convenience of drones, whilst still being able to undertake the high end and far ranging work which requires a ‘real camera’.

Drone growth saw a flurry of acquisitions and seemingly everyone figuring that they are instant aerial photographers, along with clients who figured that they’ll ‘do it themselves’. From around 2013 until about 2018 the drone growth peaked, it plateaued and it has even declined, along with a chequered history of ‘crash and burn’ stories – and that statement can be said for the drones themselves, or for the business ventures.

Numerous of those who dashed off, presuming to take advantage of this groundbreaking modern tech found themselves curtailed by the new legislation governing drone usage. The DIY business person doing own photography suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of what is legally ‘do-able’. There is now also a much more enlightened public, with sentiment taking a very critical view of “intrusive” drones. This has even matured to the extent that commerce and industry are undertaking due diligence, with the screening of the license/legal status of ‘commercial’ drone operators, prior to engaging them.      

In addition to legalities, many of the consumers of aerial photography who had dashed off in pursuit of the exciting tech and lesser cost, have come back, having learned that the high-resolution imagery of a ‘real camera’ and the long legs of an aircraft, is what they prefer to have. Conversely, others have revelled in being able to have adequate but lower end imagery, but at a substantially lesser price. Which one are you?

Enough said and now down to the bottom line: a very much revised Airserv offers a more holistic aerial imaging basket of offerings, including an inclination towards video, which is the new trend and now more able to undertake anything from e.g. a ‘quickie’ real estate image, through to highest res and long distance work.

Capensis Management – eThekwini Heart Hospital

From Alba Zondi, PA to Keith Bonsall CEO Capenses: It is so nice to do business with you.

Goodman Chiliza – Team leader, field geology Council for Geosciences

I am so impressed with your work, I am currently working with your data, to compile the end of year technical research report and it is very comprehensive results you’ve got for us Steve. Once again thank you for doing work with us. I am intending to fly again sometime in April or early May.

Ports & Ships – Africa’s most trafficked Internet portal to the shipping industry

We express our appreciation for the highly professional and friendly manner in which you always respond to our requests for photographs of ships in Durban harbour, usually ‘out of the blue’ and often urgent. Even at weekends when you have been camping among the trees and mountains of the Midlands you have never failed to understand the urgency of publishing and we have never been kept waiting – this is admittedly with thanks to modern technology, but also to your helpful and professional nature and attitude. It is only right therefore that we acknowledge this with appreciation.

WBHO – JSE Listed contractor – La Mercy Airport

Steve is always enthusiastic and willing to fit into our extremely tight monthly timescale, where we battle against the odds, in trying to capitalise on clear, windless conditions; all in order to deliver a photo shoot which meets our needs. An accomplishment that Steve can be proud of as a professional photographer. We appreciate Steve’s enthusiasm, commitment and expertise in his field of work and have no hesitation in promoting his skilled services to take up other similar challenges.

KZN’s greatest collection of the best aerial photography. Contact Steve or call: 082 8911 689

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