Meet the aerial drone photographer capturing the Austin Marathon

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Local videographer and content creator David Aguilar is taking the Austin Marathon to new heights, bringing in his aerial drone photography expertise to capture the annual race Feb. 18.

Aguilar’s Aerial Austin Instagram account details his trips in and around Austin, encapsulating everything from the city’s sunset-lit downtown skyline, pit masters smoking barbecue and paddleboarders going for a lap around Lady Bird Lake. But his first introduction to the art form came via a different venue: as a coffee roaster at Mozart’s.

“I was always on my phone capturing what was going on my latte art, my coffee roasting. So they were like, ‘hey, do you want to run our social media?’” he said.

That opportunity led to him purchasing a higher-quality camera and falling into the rabbit hole of drone photography on YouTube. For Aguilar, he said the draw toward drone photography was to get a different perspective of Austin from new heights, while blending in his unique, creative touch.

It was that personal style that captured the attention of Austin Marathon organizers. Organizers first offered him entry into last year’s full marathon, which he completed with less than a month’s worth of training under his belt.

He credited that lived experience of running in the race on enlightening him on the iconic aspects of the course — the spectators situated in neighborhoods, the live music along the route as well as the local breweries and establishments passing out beers and samples to runners.

When event organizers approached him about the 3M Half Marathon, he said it was a no-brainer to work with them on it.

“I think part of [getting the offer to film it] was just my work and just being consistent, and they’ve seen it and they wanted to work with me,” Aguilar said. “But then after I ran the marathon, it was also, ‘hey, now you know the fun that goes on — help us communicate this in an artistic way, in a way that brings more people here.’”

As for how he knows where to send his drone, Aguilar said it comes down to experiencing operating his drone locally as well as tapping into his own experience living in town.

“If I’m, you know, a few hundred feet in the air, I could zoom in and add that composition with compression of the runners in the city,” he said. “It’s just really my familiarity with the city that also allows me to get some shots that maybe other people don’t even think about getting.”

After racing in the Austin Marathon, Aguilar said he’s thrilled to combine that memory with his skillsets in documenting the race this go around. In the days leading up to the race, he added he’s tapping into his own core memories from his marathon to key in on unique elements he wants to capture with his drone this go around.

But beyond memorializing these legacy events in Austin, he said this journey into aerial drone photography has allowed him to become an “OG historian,” as worded by a commenter on his Instagram account.

“Taking this journey really has allowed me not just to grow creatively, but even see Austin grow itself and seeing all the businesses,” he said. “I just feel more proud to capture the growth of the city.”

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