Pilot Spotlight: Interview with Abigail Aquino
Tell us your story. How did you get started in the drone industry and when did that happen?
This all started when I booked a last-minute ticket to Hong Kong last year of October 2017. My best friend mentioned that she bought herself a drone and to be honest I didn't care for it much at that time, as drones weren't as popular last year compared to today. All I knew was that it was a flying camera. What’s the big deal right? When I arrived in Hong Kong to be honest I wasn't psyched. I had been there often but only for transit flights, so I only booked 5-days expecting to do the typical tourist things like Hong Kong Disneyland, or Hollywood road. I was wrong. We ended up doing the least touristy things and started traveling like a local. Instead, we hiked mountains and sought out beaches, which was very unusual for a place that is known to be a concrete jungle. On the hikes, like any other travel, we took pictures but I wasn’t impressed by a flying camera until I saw the results. My jaw dropped. The 5-day trip ended up becoming 2 weeks of self-discovery and finding passions.
Tell us about your company/work/organization and your position.
I am currently a university student
What kind of drone(s) do you fly and what's your favorite thing about it?
DJI Spark - I love the size and the surprising results with every flight. It's so much fun to fly and it's completely underrated drone.
Have you learned any valuable lessons being in the drone industry you can share with our female drone community?
Perspective. I realized it's the same with my perspective in life. What does not look good to you now or if it doesn't seem like life is not going well, at some different angle, it probably is. The only thing you can control is perspective. Soon after, I slowly discovered my style and what I like shooting. Ironically, one of the reasons I bought a drone was so I can take pictures of myself without having to ask someone to take it for me. I ended up realizing how conceited I was compared to the beginning of the year.
Whether it's from a creative, commercial or humanitarian perspective, tell us about your most memorable drone flight you have piloted thus far.
My most memorable drone flights I've ever had were two. The first was when I was flying over whale sharks. It taught me how small we actually are in the world and helped me fall in love with the ocean, not only from underneath but also the beauty from above. The ocean is the backbone of the earth and we must protect it at all cost. The second experience was when I was shooting the landfills. With the power of drones, one can show the magnitude of how bad and out of hand our pollution is getting.
What would you say to women and girls about the drone industry to spark their interest in getting involved?
A completely different way of art and expression. You never know what shots you'll get and I think it's what's most enjoyable about it, the unexpected.
What excites you most about more women joining the drone industry?
As a predominantly male-ruled industry in drones and in the tech world, it excites me that more women are not intimidated to try news things and involve themselves more in technology.
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?
Take the leap. What started out as a holiday to a city I wasn’t keen on going to, I initially later fell in love with it and it became a journey of self-discovery and introspection. I discovered not only my passions but that I was not bounded by any limitations, that we all have so much potential and capability. Now the world of drones not only has changed my life but my perspective of the good and bad encounters. That the smallest change in perspective can transform a life as perspective is not only what you look at, but also where you look from.
Abigail is a drone photographer from the sunny islands of the Philippines. Being raised in a country with 7,641 islands, she saw the opportunity to capture the beauty of the pristine waters and beaches with her drone. It all began in October 2017 when she fell in love with the world of drones and finally got the push to get one of her own after getting inspired by a DJI video about Women Who Drone on International Women’s Day. Since then, her drone photography has been featured on Philippine newspapers and as a sideline profession while being a university student. She aspires to capture the beauty of our mother earth and tell stories with her drone. If you would like to get in touch with Abigail, you are able to contact her via Instagram @awkward_abbey