Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa

If I had any doubts as a tourism photographer about the value of using a drone, they disappeared when I captured this photograph (above) on Aitutaki.

It simply wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

I would have needed to position a ladder, it’s unlikely I could have anticipated the light or the tide in time, and I would never have got the dancer in position. Fact is, we had just a 15 minute window from when I saw the potential for the pic and raced back to grab the drone, to the sunlight disappearing and the sand bar the dancer was standing on being swallowed by the incoming tide.

And technically, I can’t fault the quality of the image. While this pic is obviously a low res image for the post, it’s a 50 meg Tiff file, with both the subject and the scenery sharply in focus (despite the heavy wind).

From earlier posts you will know this is my second assignment since I bought the Phantom 4 Pro, and I couldn’t be more delighted with the results (not to say the anxiety of crashing it has passed I’d have to say. In fact, I had a landing bingle today in heavy winds which, not-so-remarkably you might suggest, coincided with the arrival of my client. “Is this the first time you’ve flown it?” he said, observing my desperate effort to bring my flailing piece of equipment to a halt as it thrashed across the beach).

Otherwise, four days to go on Rarotonga Island before I head back from the Cooks largely satisfied with the outcome. Rain’s predicted for the next few days but I’m hopeful of at least a serious snorkelling shot in the resort’s marine sanctuary on the way out.

I’ll look to post a short preview shortly.

I’ve just ended day three of a five day shoot I’m doing of Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa, here in the Cook Islands.

In my opinion, it’s one of the gems of the South Pacific.

We’ve had a couple of breaks in the weather so I’ve managed to send the drone up but it was short-lived as the clouds moved in. So, we grabbed a couple of the staff and did some interior shots of the overwater bungalows (below). What a great smile – well done Nanise.

It’s a stunning property to photograph and we’ve found some talent to work with so, hopefully, I’ll have some appealing images to add shortly (…..please Gods, I’m begging you, just one day of sunshine and no wind and I promise I’ll not think any unkind thoughts about Donald Trump for at least a few hours).


Ps…’re right. I can’t do it. The guy’s just an embarrassment.


“The best hammock in the universe” Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa

I’d struggle to think of a location in the South Pacific more photogenic than Aitutaki Lagoon in the Cook Islands.

For me, as a photographer, it’s simply as good as it gets for natural beauty.

I leave on assignment tomorrow to photograph three resorts in the Cook Islands  – Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa on Aitutaki,  and – on the main island of Raratonga – The Raratongan and The Sanctuary  – all three of which are perched on absolutely drop-dead gorgeous locations. The brief is to strengthen their exisiting photo libraries which are already pretty comprehensive I’d have to say, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

But, its Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa that I’m most excited about. I’ve been to the resort before, briefly, on my way to photograph One Foot Island (below) for the national tourism authority several years ago. And I was so taken with the resort then that I deemed their hammocks on the beach (above) to be the best place to relax in the entire universe (not that I expect to be spending any time in them when I get there, he adds, in case his client is reading this).

I’ll look to post some pictures and a few impressions as I go so you get some inkling of why you may want to add the resort to your bucket list.

….time to get the drone ready.

With budgets being considered towards the end of the financial year, we’re offering a special package to Australian regional tourism authorities looking to update their promotional photo libraries in 2017.

Provided the booking is made before June 30 for 2017, David will reduce his standard commercial rate by 30% and offer additional concessions for a seven day photo assignment of your region.

The following benefits and savings are included in this package:

You will secure the services of one of the most experienced and widely published tourism photographers in Australia.

You will receive a 30% saving on David’s standard fees (full details provided on request).

Three complimentary days will be added to the assignment.

Twice the number of images usually supplied will be provided.

Copyright of the images will be transferred to your tourism authority for all promotional purposes.

Your assignment will be priority listed in the six months ahead, allowing you to plan for optimum conditions.

As you can see by clicking the preview below which features some of his photographs from Australian regions, David specialises in all aspects of tourism photography – capturing natural and man-made attractions, visitors enjoying themselves, culture, food, activities (both on the water and under the water), special events and, now, drone photography.

While much of David’s time has been concentrated in the Asia Pacific region and, more recently, on the African continent and the Middle East, he enjoys photographing “his own back yard” and raising the profile of Australia’s tourism regions.

To view images from his international galleries, visit David’s commercial photo library at

This special End-of-Financial-Year-Package has been specifically tailored to meet the needs of Australia’s regional tourism authorities. David will shoot to your Shot List and draw from nearly two decades of experience working with tourism authorities to deliver a wide range of high quality promotional images aimed at strengthening your marketing messages.

To book an assignment and consider timing, contact David directly at or call him on 0417993792.


It gives me some satisfaction to report that capturing a drone photograph for promotional purposes draws far more on the experience of the photographer than the skill of the pilot (not that you don’t need to keep it in the air, he adds).

With a usual photograph, there are hundreds of combinations needed to get it right in terms of light, timing, composition, message and technique. With a drone, there’s all that as well – but with the entire new dimension of height to consider, and all the variables that come with it.

So, with all that going on, it still falls to the photographer flying the drone to anticipate when conditions will be optimal, which vantage is likely to present the best opportunity, what needs to be included in the shot to make it stand out, and what can be done in post production to bring it to international standards.

….It’s an important point to bare in mind (one, as you can imagine, I’ll be eager to bring to the attention of my clients who’s mate may happen to have a drone as well).

In the meantime, for those interested in flying devices with cameras attached, following is a short review of the Phantom 4 Pro, based on my recent experience on assignment in Fiji.

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