Eye in the sky brings a fresh perspective to Welwyn Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 10:20 24 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:07 24 July 2017

Parkway in Welwyn Garden City. 
Picture: Seb Alfano/SA Drones

Parkway in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Seb Alfano/SA Drones

Archant

An entrepreneurial young man and his flying machine are giving Welwyn Hatfield residents a fresh perspective on otherwise familiar surroundings.

Seb Alfano, 19, of Brookmans Park, admits he has always been “a bit of a techy”.

The former pupil of Mount Grace School in Potters Bar grew up with “crazy computers and the latest gadgets”.

It was perhaps a natural next step for Seb to then venture into the world of drones and filming/photography.

After studying production, lighting, graphic design and film at Elstree University Technical College, Seb set up his own business, SA Drones, and obtained approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to fly on a commercial basis.

Parkway in Welwyn Garden City. 
Picture: Seb Alfano/SA Drones Parkway in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Seb Alfano/SA Drones

Seb told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Drones weren’t part of my studies.

“I can use a camera, but there’s something about drones- the movement and camera view - that let’s you pull off some fantastic shots.

“You get that fresh perspective.

“Things look so beautiful from a new perspective.”

Seb describes the CAA tests a bit like a driving test with a theory and practical, plus the production of a lengthy manual to show how you intend to operate your drone and in what sort of environments.

He said: “You have to prove you’re capable of flying and have completed all the assessments.

“You have to show pre-planning to general safety to knowledge of air space laws.”

Seb invested £1,300 in his DJI Phantom 4 drone and his work has been in demand from the likes of the BBC, Taylor Wimpey and Rightmove.

Seb Alfano, of SA Drones, filming in Parkway in Welwyn Garden City. Seb Alfano, of SA Drones, filming in Parkway in Welwyn Garden City.

He has also found himself filming for landscape gardeners in Harpenden, Barnet and other parts of Hertfordshire.

Seb, who has flown his drone for 564 miles, said: “I have been doing quite a bit for landscape gardeners.

“Mega properties really benefit from being seen from a different perspective to show off the garden.”

Asked what family and friends think about his work, Seb said: “I think my parents think flying drones for a living is pretty cool and awesome.

Seb Alfano, of SA Drones, filming at The Campus in Welwyn Garden City. Seb Alfano, of SA Drones, filming at The Campus in Welwyn Garden City.

“I think my friends are quite envious that I get to fly drones about and get to make money out of it.

“I didn’t want to do the whole uni thing.

“I don’t massively agree with the way the education system is.

“I founded the company myself with a little support from my parents.

Parkway in Welwyn Garden City. 
Picture: Seb Alfano/SA Drones Parkway in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Seb Alfano/SA Drones

“They offered to support this rather than waste £30,000 on uni [tuition fees].

“I just wanted to do something by myself and be my own boss.

“In the last four to six months I have got some big names under my belt, for example the BBC, Taylor Wimpey and Rightmove.

“Business is taking off and I’m just trying to get involved in the local area as well now.”

Parkway in Welwyn Garden City.
Picture: Seb Alfano/SA Drones Parkway in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Seb Alfano/SA Drones

Seb is now about to merge his enterprise with another and is looking to upgrade his equipment.

He said: “We’re looking to get drones that costs £6,000 upwards.

“You can have one person operating the drone and one person operating the camera.”

According to Seb, you can never have too many drones and experimenting is all part of the job.

He said: “I have got eight little toy ones which I fly in the house and crash.

“I bought my first racing drone which is incredibly hard to use.

“The other night I flew up in a lightning storm in an open field in Brookmans Park, at 11.30pm with palms sweating, hoping it [DJI Phantom 4] didn’t get swept out of the sky.

“I wanted to test the capability of it at night,

“I had quite a good window where it wasn’t that windy considering there was a storm.

“The clouds were lighting up, which was quite cool to see.”

To learn more about Seb’s work and to see his pictures and videos, visit his Facebook page SA Drones - Aerial Photography & Film or his website, http://sadrones.co.uk/

You can also get in touch with him through Twitter, @SebFlys

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