Going places

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).

fox_island_DJI_0452-6So 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.

 

river_ice_DJI_0462-6_hdrI 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.

Pause for effect

arena_car_DJI_0334-8_hdrI love HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography when done judiciously.  It’s the kind of thing that can bring out all kinds of delicious detail in both the highlights and shadows of a photo, and that’s what I like to go for.  That hyper-realistic look really pleases my eye.  Unfortunately, HDR processing techniques are often done in such a heavy-handed fashion that they end up looking like grainy, over-saturated paintings.  Those I do not like one bit.

I opted to go a little further toward the artistic side with this particular photo, just because I liked the effect in this particular case.  It’s pushed a little past hyper-realistic detail into a more stylized realm, but in this case I think that works.  Not too keen on some of the blooming where dark areas meet light, but much of that is actually because of the way the sky was that day.

How about you?  Do you like extra realism, or surreal style?

Backing the Blue on the road less traveled

back_blue_pallet_60d_15054-6_hdrFor the past few months, Highway 1806 has pulled different duty than usual.  If you don’t live south of Mandan or have things to do at Huff Hills or Fort Lincoln, you probably haven’t been down this road in a long time.  Oh, unless you’re in law enforcement, that is.

This pallet is a nice way for someone to Back the Blue on that road, as plenty of law enforcement would go by over the period of several months.  I’ve seen a lot of things done with pallets, but this one has got to be my favorite!  I’m all for showing our community’s appreciation for our law enforcement heroes.

Drifted in

fallen_farm_DJI_0266-8_hdrThis is a wild looking old barn.  It has a long overhang on one side, which seems will inevitably collapse.  But it was a great place for a snowdrift this winter.  What a uniquely shaped structure, I wonder how it must be configured inside!  Sadly, I doubt I’ll ever know.

Still standing

arena_church_DJI_0289-93_hdrProps to B-Man for recognizing yesterday’s elevators!  I took a quick trip to one of my favorite ghost towns, Arena, to check on this church.  The road to it still had chest-deep snow, so I hiked around the back way.  Although the foundation has caved in on both sides, the supports in the basement are holding strong and the church looks no worse for wear than it did last year.  It’s sagging slightly in the middle, but aren’t we all!

Elevator from elevation

arena_elevator_DJI_0351-5_tonemappedI’d photographed this elevator a number of times before, but never from up in the air.  Today was conducive for sUAS flight, so I took advantage of it.  I’m recovering from the flu and wisdom tooth surgery, so I was getting cabin fever and figured fresh air would do me good.  So did coming home with some nice photos.

Long shadow

fallen_farm_DJI_0130-4One of the challenges of photography during a North Dakota winter is the shadows.  The sun is low in the sky, and that makes for some very hard shadows that travel with the sun throughout the day.  It also doesn’t seem like we get many partly cloudy days in which one can find a window of diffused sunlight, either.  But sometimes those shadows can work to one’s advantage, as in the photo above.

Who says winter is dull and colorless?

fallen_farm_dji_0246-50When I set up for this photo, I was really just going through the motions.  The reason is that there wasn’t a cloud in the winter sky to break things up or throw some colorful reflections into the sunset. Well, that’s what I thought, anyway.  I was pleased to get a splash of all kinds of color as the sun reached the horizon.  At one point the barn was blazing with a beautiful gold, and then the blues, purples, and even a touch of reds kicked in.

I haven’t been able to do a whole lot of photography-related stuff lately, so it’s like I’m forgetting the fundamental technique of getting in place and letting the light come to me, and to anticipate great things from God’s creation.  I’m glad I got this reminder as I slowly dust off the cobwebs .

Wherever I may roam

sunset_road_44542-4_hdrNo, the title is not a Metallica reference.  In fact, a more appropriate word for the title might be whenever. I haven’t had many opportunities for photo trips lately, but I did get my garage Sheetrocked and lots of other big projects are coming along nicely.  I did try to get out this weekend for some drone flight, but strong winds seemed to kick up as soon as I got into position.  I marked a few locations for future flight opportunities and headed home, stopping to catch this sunset shot along the road as I was heading back toward civilization.