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Local Photographer & Licensed Drone Pilot Captures Scenic Aerial Views Popular Among Residents

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

Ready to capture popular local landmarks that sell well on his website, talented photographer Drew Pertl stands at the ready alongside the Fox River in St. Charles, IL. More photographs below...

If Superman had a camera, chances are he’d be the alter-ego of accomplished photographer Drew Pertl who, as an FAA licensed drone pilot, soars mightily above the treetops looking to capture incredible views before they disappear forever into the night.

With day job experience in broadcasting, video production and even graphic design, he definitely has an eye for what makes a good picture – especially the bird’s eye view version. As owner of Drew Pertl - Official Website (

his work highlights easily recognizable landmarks from the surrounding area – both streetside and aerial views.

At his fox valley website, customers can choose sights from a variety of local towns -- Campton Hills, St. Charles, West Chicago, to Aurora or Elgin. They can opt to have them framed as a fine art print on archival paper or printed on a thin sheet of metal that catches the vividness of colors with no frame needed.

So how does he capture those amazing above-the-treetop views?

As an experienced drone pilot, Drew flies a DJI Mavic 2 PRO with a built-in camera. He closely follows the FAA regulations for safe operation right down to filing a flight plan before each launch. Measuring 1.5 feet long and 1.5 feet wide with propeller arms that conveniently fold into a travel case, Drew says the drone only weighs a few pounds. Because it is battery powered, he has to map out his itinerary carefully since flight time maxes out at about 25 minutes.

Drone altitude restrictions are more limited in St. Charles because of its proximity to DuPage County airport. He’s also mindful of windspeed, weather conditions, and catching the light – sunrise or sunset – at optimal times.

The drone camera takes photos in quick succession (called auto exposure bracketing) that he reassembles on his computer using Adobe Lightroom for detail refinement.

“I started out with a smaller drone while I was learning which I crashed into a tree,” Drew says. “However, I’ve learned not to do anything fancy or to fly below tree level. Regulations state that it must always be in your line of sight for safe operation.”

Drew grew up in in St. Charles, IL along the Fox River among family who have resided here for many generations. He has always loved the beauty of the area.

“Growing up, my mom always had a camera in her hand capturing family events,” Drew recalls about his childhood. “I’m a nostalgic person with a strong connection to this area and want my work to catch its beauty for sharing with future generations. I’m passionate about my photography and consider it my mission in life.”

As a survivor of four open-heart surgeries – the first at the tender age of three, Drew understands that life isn’t a guaranteed experience.

“It has definitely given me an appreciation for the here and now,” he observes. “I’ve learned to smell the roses because it’s too easy to get lost in the daily routine. It’s given me insight about enjoying our time here on earth.”

Learn more about Drew’s Fine Art photography at his two websites:

DUNHAM CASTLE at sunset, St. Charles/Wayne, IL area




Street-level photograph -- CAMPTON HILLS, IL ROAD


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