Eye in the sky: Local drone companies capture amazing photos of Destin

Annie Blanks
The Destin Log
Jason Ellis’ favorite place to fly his drone and take pictures is the Destin Harbor.

In the old days, if you wanted to see Destin — or any place — from high above, it would require a trip in an airplane.

Now, thanks to technology, the city of Destin can be seen like never before.

Several local photographers are making it their mission to give locals and visitors a chance to see the world’s luckiest fishing village from 400 feet in the air via drones.

Jason Ellis, owner of 8 Fifty Productions, owned a beach chair rental company for 12 years, which he said helped develop his passion for photography.

“Being on the beach every day, it’s only natural that you get into taking pictures,” he said.

Cory Peterson, owner of Birds i View, moved to Miramar Beach from Minnesota in 2013, and quickly got into drone photography as he was admiring the beaches. 

“It was popular and was going to get more popular,” he said. “I started doing just some work on the side.”

Both Peterson and Ellis shoot commercial real estate videos and photography, and also shoot just for fun.

“My first event I shot with my drone was the 2014 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic,” Ellis said. “That’s when I saw the opportunity here.”

Because drones are a relatively new technological phenomenon, both Ellis and Peterson have had to spend a lot of time learning the various Federal Aviation Administration laws and privacy issues associated with drone photography.

However, they both say the red tape is worth it in the end.

“The golden hour, right before the sun sets, is when everything looks beautiful from the air,” Ellis said. “I just have to get out and film.”

“My favorite place is the East Pass. I’m constantly watching the tide chart to find out when that blue water (is coming in),” Peterson said. “You get to show Destin like nobody else can show Destin.”