Aerial views of the pyramid-like structure called a ziggurat which sits on the top of the SunTrust Financial Centre on May 11, 2019, in Tampa.

Drone offers different perspective on Tampa Bay news stories

From the sky, things come into focus.
Aerial views of the pyramid-like structure called a ziggurat which sits on the top of the SunTrust Financial Centre on May 11, 2019, in Tampa. [ LUIS, SANTANA | Tampa Bay Times ]
From the sky, things come into focus.
Published Oct. 27
Updated Nov. 6

As a photographer, I use many tools to bring me closer to the action and offer viewers unique angles.

Several years ago, I added a drone to my kit, which allows me to put my camera in places I couldn’t otherwise reach. Whether it’s directly above the scene of a fire, an environmental disaster like a sinkhole or open ocean, the drone expands my storytelling.

I fly a Mavic 2 Pro and I am a licensed Federal Aviation Authority Part 107 Unmanned Aircraft System remote pilot.

Anyone interested in flying drones can learn about the rules and regulations by visiting this website from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Here are some of my memorable assignments with the drone:

An aerial view of the damage at Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Tampa after a fire broke out on Sept 13, 2017 in Tampa.
An aerial view of the damage at Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Tampa after a fire broke out on Sept 13, 2017 in Tampa.
Residents of the Lake Padgett Estates community recently weighed in on how to restore Ocean Pines Drive where a massive sinkhole opened on private property last summer on Aug 5, 2017 in Land O' Lakes.
Residents of the Lake Padgett Estates community recently weighed in on how to restore Ocean Pines Drive where a massive sinkhole opened on private property last summer on Aug 5, 2017 in Land O' Lakes.
A house is saved after dozens of firefighters battled a 700-plus acre wildfire threatening Indian Lake Estates in eastern Polk County. Hundreds of residents in the subdivision were evacuated on April 22, 2017 in Lake Wales.
A house is saved after dozens of firefighters battled a 700-plus acre wildfire threatening Indian Lake Estates in eastern Polk County. Hundreds of residents in the subdivision were evacuated on April 22, 2017 in Lake Wales.
Race participants run down Bayshore Blvd toward the finish line during the Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K on Feb 22, 2020 in Tampa
Race participants run down Bayshore Blvd toward the finish line during the Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K on Feb 22, 2020 in Tampa [ LUIS SANTANA | TIMES | Tampa Bay Times ]
Aerial drone image of the home of Bill Wright on Publix Rd. where an EF-2 tornado ripped through the area overnight, Oct 19, 2019 in Kathleen.
Aerial drone image of the home of Bill Wright on Publix Rd. where an EF-2 tornado ripped through the area overnight, Oct 19, 2019 in Kathleen. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Aerial drone photo of the damage to Kathleen Middle School after and EF-2 tornado ripped through the area overnight, Oct 19, 2019 in Kathleen.
Aerial drone photo of the damage to Kathleen Middle School after and EF-2 tornado ripped through the area overnight, Oct 19, 2019 in Kathleen. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Aerial photo of kite boarders enjoying the moderate breeze and cooler temperatures near the Skyway Bridge on Sunday, Feb 2, 2020 in St. Petersburg.
Aerial photo of kite boarders enjoying the moderate breeze and cooler temperatures near the Skyway Bridge on Sunday, Feb 2, 2020 in St. Petersburg. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
A portion of the Sunshine Skyway bridge multi million dollar LED light system is off due to a damaged transformer and is pictured on Oct 30, 2020 in St. Petersburg.
A portion of the Sunshine Skyway bridge multi million dollar LED light system is off due to a damaged transformer and is pictured on Oct 30, 2020 in St. Petersburg. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]