An Oil City man enjoys bringing a different perspective to pictures of Oil City — aerial views that showcase the beauty of the area.
“I jumped out of more airplanes than I ever landed in,” said Garey Scott, who spent 27 years in the Army, during which he was a criminal investigator.
Scott said he loved the “peace and freedom” of falling through a silent sky after jumping out of an airplane, as well as the view.
“Not a lot of people see things from above, it brings a unique perspective, and it’s fun,” Scott, who owns and operates Scott Airborne Imagery, said of drone photography, which is another way for him to capture the view from above he saw after jumping out of airplanes.
Oil City Code Enforcement Officer Yvonne Green said there are many ways Scott’s passion for drone photography is beneficial to the city and local area — from taking beautiful photos of the region to being a safer way to capture images.
Scott, who began taking photos and videos with drones earlier this year, has six drones of various sizes and capacities, and flying them isn’t a solitary endeavor. His 11-year-old son enjoys flying drones with him, and he helps Scott on certain projects.
By law, Scott said, he must keep his drones in sight at all times, so his son helps him keep the drones in sight if they must go around the corner of a building or somewhere Scott briefly can’t see it.
“He likes doing it and has fun,” said Scott, who also is the father of two teenage daughters. “The kids are great. They love what I do. I love working with my family.”
Helping the community
Scott said there are many ways that drones serve the community.
“It’s all about making life easier for people,” he said, and creating beautiful photos.
To that end, Scott, who has no formal training in photography, keeps a small drone in his car and is always prepared when a lovely view around the community presents itself, such as sunsets on the South Side of Oil City and night shots of the North Side by City Hall.
Scott said he likes Oil City and likes to take photos of the city to show people how pretty it can be.
He also captures the beauty of the surrounding region, even getting special permission to fly drones to take photos in Oil Creek State Park, where drone photography is not allowed.
“I’ve been around the world three or four times. I’ve seen beautiful places and not-so-nice places. Pennsylvania has some of the most beautiful scenery,” said Scott, who hails from a small town in New Mexico and came to Oil City with his family several years ago to take care of his wife’s parents.
He said photographing beautiful scenes is therapeutic for him after his years in the military.
“If I can bring a smile to someone’s face, that is what matters,” Scott said.
Sometimes, he said, people ask him to take a photo of where they grew up, which brings back memories for them.
However, he said, there are headaches that come with flying drones. For one, birds, particularly pigeons, mob the drones to knock them out of the sky; for another, water can drown the drones.
Scott, though, doesn’t let that deter him, as he continues to take pictures when he sees something he likes.
To make videos, he works with another local artist, Devan Zagar, who puts together videos from the footage Scott takes. Scott’s videos include those of Oil City’s Jolly July 3rd fireworks and Bridgefest.
“It’s touching to be part of people’s memories. It’s an honor,” he said. “Up above, everything looks good.”