Beaufort’s Aerial Imagery Maestro – George Erdel

May 20, 2024 | Local News

What I Learned from George Erdel, the Aerial Maestro, and Owner of Palmetto Aerial Imagery in Beaufort SC 

I have always been fascinated by drones, their maneuverability, and of course the images they can capture.   So I went on a search to find someone who could help me learn more.   Little did I know that in the heart of Beaufort, South Carolina, there exists an artist whose canvas is not stretched upon an easel, but rather floats gracefully in the sky.  Recently, I had the pleasure of getting to know George Erdel, the visionary behind Palmetto Aerial Imagery in Beaufort SC.


I learned George has spent most of his life living in Beaufort so he knows the best views from all the beauty surrounding this area.    As I listened, I quickly understood George has a great story, and built Palmetto Aerial Imagery with a lot of practice, customer focus and hard work.    In the process, George has become a maestro with the abilities to capture the breathtaking beauty of Beaufort and its surrounding landscapes.

George’s Story and The Formation of Palmetto Aerial Imagery in Beaufort SC

It is a pleasure to share what I learned about George, and his business.   George’s journey to becoming the aerial expert of Beaufort is a tale of dedication, service, and passion.  George explained, “I came to Beaufort with the Marine Corps in 2000, stationed at MCAS Beaufort,” George shares. “After leaving the service in 2003, I transitioned to the Beaufort Police Department, where I served diligently until 2022.” It was during this time that George cultivated his deep-rooted connection to the community and developed an unwavering commitment to excellence.

In 2021, George embarked on a new chapter by founding Palmetto Aerial Imagery in Beaufort SC. Armed with his drone pilot license from the Federal Aviation Administration, he set out to capture the essence of Beaufort from a perspective most residents have not experienced.   I feel George has an eye for detail honed through years of service.   George explained how he places such a high emphasis on giving the customer what they want to evoke a sense of wonder and awe, allowing any viewer to experience Beaufort from a fresh vantage point.

I wanted to know what skills are needed for Palmetto Aerial Imagery in Beaufort to be successful?

  • George explained to me drone photography is a combination of artistry and technology, requiring a unique set of skills and equipment.  If I wanted to become a professional drone operator, George said I would have to begin by patiently working to develop a keen understanding of the nuances of aerial imagery and cinematography. 
  • Other skills I need to develop are mastery of flight control, composition, and post-processing techniques .   These are essential elements in George’s repertoire, enabling him to craft mesmerizing visuals that captivate the imagination.
  • In addition to technical proficiency, the role of a professional drone operator entails navigating a labyrinth of regulations and approvals. I would have to obtain necessary permits to adhere to airspace restrictions.   George has to meticulously ensure compliance with FAA guidelines, prioritizing safety and professionalism above all else. 
  • It is this commitment to excellence that sets Palmetto Aerial Imagery in Beaufort SC apart, earning George a reputation as a trusted pilot of the skies.

What makes Beaufort a great location in Beaufort drone photography?

I’m new to Beaufort, and see beauty just about everywhere I look.  My wife and I feel like we are “driving through a postcard”.     Since George has lived in this area most of his life, George offers invaluable insights into the best locations for Palmetto Aerial Imagery in Beaufort SC to capture the best of what our area offers.   Nestled along the scenic waterfront, Beaufort boasts several vistas perfect for capturing stunning drone footage. From the historic charm of The Waterfront Park to the tranquil shores of Hunting Island State Park, each locale offers a unique view of natural beauty waiting to be captured through the lens of a drone.   

George explained whether it’s the ebb and flow of the tides or the beautiful hues of a coastal sunset, Beaufort’s waterfront vistas provide an amazing backdrop for amateur drone videography. With George’s expert guidance and a spirit of exploration,I feel an enthusiast can explore Beaufort’s special coastal beauty.    

George provided his top considerations to help me if I purchase a drone used for aerial photography.

  • Purpose and Budget: I have to determine my primary objectives for using a drone. Am I interested in aerial photography, videography, or simply flying for recreational purposes?   Then I have to set a budget that aligns with my goals and expectations, considering factors such as camera quality, flight time, and additional features.
  • Drone Type and Size:  There are different types of drones, such as quadcopter, hexacopter, or fixed-wing models, based on your intended use and preferences. As a beginner, having a compact and lightweight quadcopter may be the most practical choice due to their ease of maneuverability and portability.
  • Camera Quality and Stabilization:   I have to assess the camera specifications of potential drones, including resolution, sensor size, and stabilization technology.  George thought I should opt for drones equipped with high-resolution cameras and gimbal stabilization systems to capture sharp and stable aerial imagery.
  • Flight Performance and Range:  I would definitely rely on George’s experiences to evaluate the flight performance capabilities of drones, including maximum flight time, control range, and speed.  He said I should look for models with extended battery life and reliable GPS navigation systems to maximize my time in the air and explore diverse shooting locations.
  • Flight Controls and Ease of Use:  The drones he uses at Palmetto Aerial Imagery have user-friendly flight controls and interface.   That would be very important for someone like me as a beginner.   I also have to be thinking about features such as intuitive smartphone app integration, automated flight modes, and obstacle avoidance sensors to facilitate smooth and safe flying experiences.
  • Safety Features and Regulations Compliance:   I enjoyed George’s funny story in our interview, which certainly explains why I should prioritize drones equipped with safety features such as return-to-home function, low-battery alerts, and geofencing capabilities to prevent accidents and comply with aviation regulations. To be a responsible professional, I also need to familiarize myself with local drone laws and restrictions to ensure responsible flying practices.
  • Accessories and Expandability:  I hope my interest grows.   If it does then I need to explore available accessories and compatibility options for expanding the capabilities of my drone, such as additional batteries, propeller guards, and aftermarket camera upgrades.   George said I need to choose a drone with a versatile ecosystem of accessories to accommodate future upgrades and enhancements.

I hope this article describing my interview with George Erdel, owner of Palmetto Aerial Imagery in Beaufort SC  has been helpful to learning more about drone photography.  All the aerial photography on my website are work products from George.  

 

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