Pilot Spotlight: Interview with Nikka Zavalia
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Argentina in 1989. I'm a filmmaker, photographer, and droner, graduate of the London Film Academy. I like to use new techniques such as hyperlapses, having full control of the color treatment as I have established myself as a professional colorist at the International Colorist Academy (Los Angeles). Expert in capturing moments, places, and stories, I enjoy taking an image to a higher level of contemplation.
I think being a woman in this business has a downside. People tend to expect a man to be on the other side of the camera, but I have made my way as a woman, receiving support and respect from my peers.
I also work with brands, offering them a fresh and different perspective, and always trying to achieve the best possible outcome. I'm one of the most prominent and quoted Argentine photographers of travel, lifestyle, and aerial images. My goal is to continue working with the same intensity, continue to explore the world and share my work and experiences with a growing audience.
What inspired you to begin flying drones, and what made you want to enter the industry as a drone pilot?
As a child, I was always obsessed with the fact that birds were able to fly and watch everything from above.
What were you doing before you started flying drones, and what made you make the transition?
Filmmaking and editing, I’m still doing that! Only now, I have drone footage to add :)
What drone(s) are you currently flying, and what drone accessories do you love?
I have a DJI Mavic Pro 1, Mavic Air, and FPV drone.
What is your favorite feature on your drone and why?
Bracketing option, to create HDR photos, which then I have more control while editing them. I also love the fact that I can get unique shots from the FPV drone.
What drone images are you most proud of and why? A series that I shot on Australia, flying over a salt flat. I’m proud of them because it was way too windy and I had to take the drone really far away, pushing the limits at most. And I’m really happy with the result!
Have you learned any valuable lessons from being in the drone industry that you can share with our female drone community?
Yes. I learned that every drone has its pros and cons. For example, the Mavic Air is amazing for going through small holes and being really stable at it, and the Mavic Pro is not so convenient for this, but the signal quality is always on point.
Whether it's from a creative, commercial, or humanitarian perspective, tell us about the most memorable drone flight you have piloted thus far.
Chasing a car for a commercial for Peugeot
What would you say to women and girls about the drone industry to spark their interest in getting involved?
It’s amazing! Who wouldn’t want to have that kind of perspective? Don’t be afraid and just go for it! I promise you will not regret it.
What excites you most about more women joining the drone industry?
The fact of being all women united in the same mission, showing the world we can also do great things.
Do you have any drone tips & tricks you can share with our audience?
Always shoot in bracketing mode and then stack up the photos o no Lightroom to create an HDR photograph
Make sure you have at least 10 satellites before taking off
If you are going to fly in cold weather, you need to know battery life consumes faster, you can store your batteries Inside your jacket or a warm place :)
Not all the obstacles are detected (thin branches, cables) so you should always check the area before flying
You can try a flight simulator before your first outdoor flight
Remember to set the RTH attitude, being aware of where are you flying (don’t go too low if you are in a city or crowded place)
Use ND filters, always!
Try the golden hour ❤️
What's the best way for our readers to get in touch with you?
Hit me up on Instagram @nikkazv
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?
I would love them to check my drone videos at my profile :)
Nikka was born in Argentina in 1989. She is a prominent filmmaker, photographer, and droner, graduate of the London Film Academy. She stands out reaching for new techniques such as hyperlapses, having full control of the color treatment as she has established as a professional colorist at the International Colorist Academy (Los Angeles).
Expert in capturing moments, places, and stories, taking the image to a higher level of contemplation. Being a woman in this business has a downside. People tend to expect a man to be on the other side of the camera, but Nikka has made her way being a woman, receiving support and respect from her peers.
When she works with brands, Nikka offers a fresh and different perspective always trying to achieve the best possible outcome. Despite her youth, she is considered by the specialized media as one of the most prominent and quoted Argentine photographers of travel, lifestyle, and aerial images. Her goal is to continue working with the same intensity, continue to explore the world and share her work and experiences with a growing audience.