A Boy and His Drone

words / KEEGAN HUGHES pictures & video / NICK HOWE

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It’s not often that one gets the opportunity to run alongside wild horses as the sun sets. Most people aren’t fast enough, and those who do have the speed find that locating horses galloping right before twilight is quite difficult.

Thankfully, Ottawa’s Nick Howe has a drone and a lot of luck.

On a road trip across the states, Howe and some friends had decided to pull over to the side of a dirt road in Oregon to get a bird’s-eye shot of their car. Upon getting the drone airborne, Howe noticed a herd of horses running across a nearby field. He rightly decided that the cavalry was more interesting than the car, and tracked them as they hurdled across the plains.

“It was the most amazing clip I’ve ever got,” says Howe.

The twenty-one year old Algonquin college student flies his drone for pleasure and profit. In the summer of 2015, Howe found himself watching aerial footage on platforms ranging from Instagram to National Geographic. The content was inspiring to say the least. Shortly after beginning to watch the videos, he began his own research in hopes of acquiring a drone of his very own.

After plenty of consideration, he decided on the DJI Phantom III Professional 4K. According to Howe, it is the highest quality drone off the shelf with a camera built in.

“I knew I wanted the best one,” remembers Howe.

Howe doesn’t rely strictly on happenstance to acquire quality footage. He worked at a ski resort in Whistler, B.C. for a few seasons, and documented his experiences on the mountain. He even drove all the way from Ottawa in order to get more shots. This resulted in stunning mountaintop views, and adrenaline-infused ski runs.

Instagram and YouTube have provided Howe with moderate success, but one video in particular stood out to a company that deals in viral videos. After filming some skiing and snowboarding at Crater Lake, OR, the company Viral Video UK contacted him. He sold his footage to them, and was satisfied that he would make some money from the footage. Soon after the video made it on to popular Facebook pages like theLADBIBLE and Insider. It was viewed so widely that a reporter in Oregon called Howe up and requested an interview.

“I didn’t even know it was on Facebook until my friends told me,” says Howe.

Filming landscapes is a favourite of Howe’s, but he also does commercial shoots as well. He purchased the drone on Rideau Street with cash borrowed from his brother, and needed to make the money back quickly. After looking into ways to use his drone commercially, he got into real estate photography, along with shooting commercials.

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Ottawa is a really nice place, says Howe, but he’s not involved in any sort of drone community. The people with drones he has met are either recreational, or doing similar commercial things. Although he’s happy being in the city for now, he plans on moving back to B.C. as soon as he can.

Howe plans on doing more commercials, especially for golf courses, to make money in the meantime. More roadtrips are on the agenda as well, as he says he hopes to find more opportunities to film breathtaking footage. Travelling to Iceland is something Howe hopes to do as well. He’s been watching clips filmed by other people, and has fallen in love with the country

“Videos by drone in Iceland would be amazing,” he smiles.

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