When I took this photo, I was certain it wasn’t going to turn out the way I’d hoped. The sun was in the wrong place, the rail car was in the shade…it was doomed to turn out horrible, and I was already trying to plan a different time of day to arrive back at this spot. Then I looked at the results on my computer.
I’m happy to say the image I saw on my screen in the harsh daylight was not the final image I discovered when I got back home. So I don’t have a return trip planned in order to salvage this photo…but I do have the spot marked in my GPS in case I want to try something different here!
This is an aerial photo of McDowell Dam from last week. It was a very nice day, and the water was a-flowin’. There were rivulets of water ready to be reclassified as rivers in every low-lying area, guaranteeing the lake plenty of fresh runoff. It was a fantastic day, warm and sunny. Looking down at the ice, the cracks took on an organic nature. It reminded me of a butterfly wing or something.
I applied one of those filters you see on a lot of Facebook “photography” groups – you know, the ones where the sunrise or sunrise is so color-saturated that it makes your retinas hurt – in order to demonstrate the array of muted color beneath the ice. While some of those rivers of water rushing into the dam were relatively clean, some of them were pretty brown. The same goes for the water below the ice, apparently. Anyway, oversaturating the image gives it a much more visceral look, don’t you think?
I forgot to post this photo from the October trip I took to the wreckage of the Abner O’Neal. After I was done shooting I headed back to the Steckel boat landing. I met a couple of girls along the way who were going to hike – barefoot, mind you – the half mile down to the site. I pointed out that it was private property (I have permission), it was a long and rocky hike, and that the sun was going down, so they decided to turn around and head back.
Once we got back to the boat area, I put the drone on the dock and showed them all the close-up photos I’d taken. They provide a far better view than even the closest shoreline vantage, anyway. We all agreed that the Abner is pretty cool, then parted ways as the sun began to set. I snapped this photo from the drone even though the rotors weren’t even turning, and it was a perfect way to cap off the evening.
I’m primarily a video guy, but not when it comes to drone work. Yeah, I can do it, but there would have to be a really unique subject or conditions for me to want to do video seriously with an aerial camera. Drones (I hate that word) are kind of a one trick pony in a way, and to get remarkable drone (I used it again) video one has to do a lot of planning or live in an area that’s breathtaking without drones (dangit).
So what do I like to do, you ask? Use the unique ability of being able to position a high quality camera anywhere I want. Sometimes that may be up in the sky, but normally it’s at an altitude just slightly different from anything you could get without a really tall ladder. Typically I try to keep the effect very subtle, so that the angle catches the subconscious eye as unusual but without making it obvious that I’m shooting from an aerial camera. Or, in this case, out over the ice that would never support my weight if I tried conventional photo work. It may not look like it, but I was only about a foot or two above the ice.
I was hoping for a sunset, and that never really materialized in the typical sense, but there was still some scattered color in the sky to the south. So I worked the area, snapped away a few times, and caught what color there was in the fleeting moments before all went dim. And the best part is, I kept my shoes dry.