LOCAL PERSON: Craig Garth
by Peta Hen
Capturing breathtaking scenes from the skies above Hobart, Craig Garth shares how he turned his passion for drone piloting and photography into his full time career.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now? Hobart, Tasmania. I never left!
Tell us a bit about your work. For about twenty-three years I have worked for the City of Hobart, aka the Hobart City Council (HCC). I started out as a trainee in IT back in the year 2000, back during the Y2K bug era when IT professionals said the world would end. I worked on the help desk for the next twenty years and in 2018, we started a little side project into drones. Then the floods happened and I used that as an opportunity to showcase what drones could do for the city. Jump forward a few years and I have become the Chief Remote Pilot for HCC. It’s been my full time role here for the past five years.
How did you first get into drone photography? I was given a cheap drone with a camera, however it could only fly for five minutes. I always liked creating art, drawing and capturing images of what I thought was cool, so I saved up and with a little help from my parents, I purchased my first entry-level professional drone. The Phantom 4 with a one inch sensor and then down the rabbit hole I went: ND filters, settings, RAW, editing. Learning all that I could about everything and still not knowing anything.
What does a day doing drone photography look like for you? Depending on the location, it requires planning, logging of the job for Remote Operators Certificate (ReOC) requirements, charging batteries, checking the drones to be used for any damage, remembering memory cards and then, on the day, I load it all up and travel to the site. Depending on the drone it can take a couple of minutes to a good 10 to get set up. Then I check off the flight plan, check the drones for any damage and ensure the take off and landing site is clear, and launch. Sometimes I’m focused on a particular object, like solar panels or a dead tree over a walking track. Other days, I’m out to create awesome images to be used for a report or social media. They’re the fun ones to be honest.
What has been your favourite event to cover with the drone? The mountain snow and the Hobart NYE fireworks.
What do you love doing outside work? Drawing, video gaming, flying drones, going for walks with the family, eating.
Who do you admire? I’m not really sure, my brain doesn’t work like that. I don’t really admire anyone to be honest.
Favourite podcast or tv show? StarGate SG-1 and The Mandalorian.
Secret vice? Good question. Being a dad of two very demanding girls and having an insane work life, I would have to say it’s just peace and quiet. When the kids are at school and the wife is at work, I can just do whatever I like. I feel like a kid again.
What was your first job? Paper delivery on a Sunday morning.
What are your daily news/social media habits? I check all of my work socials for feedback and to see if they used what I created, then maybe some Reddit, YouTube and Facebook reels. Unfortunately, most of it is opinion-based hot garbage and I find myself wasting time watching reels some mornings before work.
Your favourite place (in Hobart) for?
Breakfast: The Stagg (Bus Mall)
Dinner: Hog’s Breath
Favourite team? I’m not into sports.
Favourite Hobart secret? The secret base in kunanyi/Mt Wellington, built during the cold war under a secret deal with the US…I have said too much, just kidding…or am I?
Parting words? Be kind to each other.