When he was a child, Jason Agnello liked to fly toys, such as wind-up birds, Styrofoam gliders or even kites. Now, he uses his creativity and skill set to capture aerial photographs of subjects, ranging from landscapes to architecture, with a drone.
Agnello lived in New York City for 15 years and returned to the area a few years ago. He grew up in Orchard Park, and graduated from Fredonia State College with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design in 2000.
Since Agnello has an art background, he brings different capabilities to the table when taking photographs.
He bought his first drone last summer for his birthday and took to it quickly. He says he used toy drones to experiment and learn how to operate the controls.
Agnello also completed a Federal Aviation Administration exam to receive his operator’s license, which is needed to practice commercial drone photography.
“Over the past year, I’ve been increasing my sophistication in what I can do with the equipment,” he said, noting that he decided to start his corporation and business, called Drone Photography 716, in February and has made photographs available to purchase.
At the request of The Ken-Ton Bee, Agnello recently traveled with his drone to the Tonawandas to shoot Canal Fest photographs, which are featured in this issue.
“It was rewarding and really fun to be up there,” he said. “This type of technology has been an opportunity for me to continue a couple of things that interest me.”
According to Agnello, a drone allows a photographer to travel to a bird’s-eye view and capture subjects from perspectives that would otherwise be impossible or dangerous to achieve without a drone.
“Whether it’s from 15 feet to 400 feet altitude, a drone can obtain a perspective that’s largely impossible for the average photographer.”
Agnello uses Photoshop and edits his photos to add his personal touch to his photography. He gave examples of sharpening the image or adding saturation.
“My intent is to keep my work unique and not doing what’s easy. My photographs are art and not just pictures.”
He added that he’s always looking for new subjects to shoot and would take recommendations. He also aims to serve as a resource for those interested in getting into drone photography.
“It’s been really rewarding to have taken that step,” Agnello said of taking a course on flying. “It’s good to have this knowledge to share with newer pilots looking to get in the field or use it as recreation.”
He encourages new flyers to buy a toy drone and figure out how to fly it.
Photography has opened the door for Agnello to hear stories from people around Western New York and has given him a chance to get a one-of-a-kind shot.
“It’s like fishing for me; it gets me outside. It takes your focus and puts it somewhere else,” he said adding that it’s similar to having an out-of-body sensation.