by Martin Volz
WITH a drone hovering above the racecourse green, graziers gathered to watch and wonder at its capability.
Its owner, aerial photographer Fiona Lake, was there to demonstrate the flying machine's potential as a photographic tool in the agricultural sector at last week's AgForce conference.
Graziers learned how drones could be used around the farm to check livestock, water, crops and the roof of the house.
"I envisage most people having one even if it is to check radio towers around the house,” Ms Lake said.
"For crops it is a no- brainer or to use an agronomist with a drone.
"Drones have great potential in grazing.”
Ms Lake, who will attend a drone conference in Las Vegas later this year, focuses her seminars on building connections between different industries and regions by showcasing aerial agricultural pictures that tell a story.
The Townsville-based photographer has spent time working on remote cattle properties where she found her passion in mixing aerial and agricultural photography.
Those pictures are proving educational for many urban Australians who attend Ms Lake's exhibitions.
"I am passionate about prompting people to think about who grows the food they eat and where it comes from,” she said.
"It is an important responsibility to provide useful and accurate information to increase understanding and encourage mutual respect and maintenance of a healthy, evolving rural culture, worldwide.”
While neutralising the effects of animal rights activists from spreading misleading, false information, her work does not focus on portraying ag stakeholders as victims.
"I show the best version of reality,” Ms Lake said.
"My motivation is to make the world a better place.”
The photographer, who grew up on a farm, first found a passion for photography in the early 80s at ag college.
She would take pictures at B&S balls and sell copies for $1.
"I could not afford to buy film unless someone bought prints,” Ms Lake said.
From there work ensued on remote cattle stations in Northern Australia.
For 30 years Ms Lake relied on hiring pilots and planes to aid her passion for bringing a different point of view visually.
Last Thursday, as the drone descended toward the racecourse green, its small propellers spinning, Ms Lake grabbed it carefully and turned it off remotely.
"This is freedom for me after relying on pilots for 30 years. It is independence.”