Ryan has travelled internationally with the drone many times, but Angola was the first place that customs officials pulled him over.  They were fascinated and baffled by this equipment.  Was he a spy, they wanted to know?

After explaining that drone was like a camera that could fly, they were even more convinced that he was closer to an undercover agent than a photographer.  So they locked him in a holding room – with not a word about what was going on – for two whole hours.  Behind the scenes, customs officials were trying to figure out what this drone was, what it did and what Ryan was going to do with it in Angola.  Coming up with no answers, they let him go, but confiscated his equipment.

With a local contact, Ryan went to the police station to try and find out how he could get his drone back.  The police sent him to officials at the airport, who sent him back to the police station, who again sent him to the airport.  And so it went on.

For a day and a half there were no answers in sight and no apparent way to get the drone back.  But Ryan wasn’t the only one.  On the first day, he met a man – an Angolan – who was in the police station, trying to get his drone back that he had just purchased on his international travels.  On the second day, another four drone owners arrived, with the same mission to achieve.

The sheer influx of drones over a two-day period was what made the officials realise that these men were no spies and the drone was not spy equipment, but rather some sort of luxury toy. But it did still require paying for an Arms and Ammunition licence before the drones were restored to their owners.  At last, Ryan was able to head off on his three-hour trip to the shoot location.

The saga didn’t end there.  As he arrived, he realised that the location was close to a military base and flying a drone in the area may cause a problem.  Moreover, this region was one where Angola and South Africa had fought each other in the Bush War and Ryan felt he would quickly become unpopular if, as a South African, he tried to hurry the locals for assistance. Day two of his three-day trip ended and still Ryan hadn’t been able to shoot any footage.

At 6:30am the next morning, the sun was high enough to provide sufficient light for shooting and for the next two hours, Ryan relied on instinct and experience to capture all the footage he needed, with no time to check the quality or question the quantity.  At 8:30 he packed up and sped out of there towards the airport, hoping that he would catch his flight home in time and praying that no military personnel would stop and question his spy status.  He certainly felt like one though.

By the way – the footage came out beautifully, showing that despite some misadventures along the way, drone photography and videography is the best way to capture things on film.  Contact AerialShots on to find out how we can be part of your adventure.