Now, a new generation of photographers with drones is ready to bring that same technology to all levels of sports while giving audiences a perspective they've never seen before.
It helps that capturing breathtaking images with a drone has never been cheaper or easier. Prices start around $1,000 for a quadcopter small enough to fit into a backpack and equipped with a high-definition camera. And even a novice—me, for example—can have a drone up and running in minutes.
After an hour-long safety class at UAVDirect, a retailer in Liberty Hill, Texas, just outside of Austin, technology manager Eric Davis shows off a DJI Phantom II. He calls it "the iPhone of drones" because of its sleek looks and simple controls. Davis hands me the controls, and I'm airborne, zipping the drone through the Texas sky, stopping to hover over the football stadium in the distance before bringing it in for a landing. It's thrilling—and suddenly clear why this is the future of sports photography.