Pilot Spotlight: Interview with Claire Johnson
Location: Orlando, FL, US
Tell us about yourself.
I'm a physician, photographer, and world traveler. I have been to 48 states, over 90 countries, all seven continents, and all seven modern world wonders. I am Part 107-certified and I specialize in landscape photography as well as altruistic projects like projects in the Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh as well as my most recent project highlighting the Wedgewood Community in Pensacola, FL, and the impact of landfills on the predominantly African-American community.
What inspired you to begin flying drones, and what made you want to enter the industry as a drone pilot?
I have a friend who is one of the premier golf course drone photographers. His photos inspired me to buy a drone to add to my photography. When I found out that only 4 percent of all FAA-licensed drone pilots were women, I was even further motivated to obtain my license, especially after already being in a male-dominated career like medicine. It was also especially exciting to fly my drone in areas of the world where they have never seen them before like with the tribes of Southern Ethiopia and rural Central Africa.
What were you doing before you started flying drones, and what made you make the transition? I was already traveling the world for work and vacation and photographing people and landscapes.
What drone(s) are you currently flying, and what drone accessories do you love? I am flying the DJI Mavic Air because it is so portable but I am purchasing the Mavic Pro 2 and the Inspire 2 for an upcoming project.
What is your favorite feature on your drone and why?
I just love being able to capture a perspective that I never could before having a drone.
What drone images are you most proud of and why? My most favorite drone images are with several Ethiopian tribes. They were so thrilled to see themselves on camera and technology that they had never seen before.
Have you learned any valuable lessons from being in the drone industry that you can share with our female drone community? My biggest lesson is to take your time both before the flight and in the air. Always try to make a flight plan and obtain Google Images of your area and when you launch your drone, don't get so nervous that you quickly want to land it. Also, be prepared with several batteries and a car charger.
Whether it's from a creative, commercial, or humanitarian perspective, tell us about the most memorable drone flight you have piloted thus far. My most memorable drone flight has been in the Rohingya refugee camps where I volunteered for a medical non-profit as a physician and photographer and captured some of the most incredible images that tell a story of the plight of the Rohingyas.
What would you say to women and girls about the drone industry to spark their interest in getting involved?
Pursue your interest and learn as much as possible. There is so much available online and connecting with other female drone pilots is key.
What excites you most about more women joining the drone industry? We have a unique perspective in the industry that we need to share.
Do you have any drone tips & tricks you can share with our audience?
Spend plenty of time shooting in manual versus auto. It takes your skills to another level.
What's the best way for our readers to get in touch with you? Through my Instagram @daisyamongroses
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?
I do both underwater photography and aerial photography and have a great appreciation for all aspects of our amazing planet.
Claire Johnson is a physician, photographer, and world traveler. She has been to 48 states, over 90 countries, all seven continents, and all seven modern world wonders.
She is Part 107-certified and specializes in landscape photography as well as altruistic projects like chronicling the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh and highlighting the Wedgewood Community in Pensacola, FL, and the impact of landfills on African-Americans.