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.
I 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?
For 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.
This 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.
Props 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!
I’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.
One 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.
When 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 .
No, 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.
I got a tip that a group of F-18s were inbound for Bismarck yesterday, so I took a long lunch break to wait for them to arrive. I love few things as much as military aircraft, despite being afraid of flying myself.
Aren’t they breathtaking? There was a group of seven of them en route to Washington state, returning from a few weeks in Florida. A friend of mine who moved up here from Pensacola said he got to see F-18s in the air all the time. That’d be amazing, until you’re trying to take a nap with the Sound of Freedom roaring overhead.
Three of the planes stopped in Sioux Falls, but four of them were able to come to the Bizzo and tank up on fuel from Executive Air and pizza from A&B (of course). If you were only in North Dakota for an hour or two and wanted pizza, wouldn’t you pick the best too? I actually think it may have been complimentary for them. Awesome.
I watched as one truck was drained dry and another came up to finish the task. Perhaps it’s good that they weren’t trying to top off all seven!
Nice tail. Just sayin’. I’ve been told that these are F-18F Super Hornets, which are two seater models and used for electronic warfare. They’re part of VAQ-129, an Electronic Attack Squadron based out of Whidbey Island naval air station in Puget Sound, Washington.
These pods on the wings house antennae. Lots of ’em, apparently. So since it’s the navy, the wings gotta fold anyway (for carrier space limitations?) but I’m guessing they also want to protect these from damage. I forgot to ask if that’s a secondary reason why they folded ’em up when they parked.
If I was expected to fuel up visiting aircraft on a daily basis, I’d absolutely live for days when a pack of military jets roll in for some juice. I’d probably be humming the Top Gun theme, even though they flew F-14s in the movie.
Love the colors on that bubble. It takes a while to fuel four of these, which thankfully left plenty of time for conversation. A friend’s brother is one of the crew here, so we got to chat him up about the flight. They were all very nice and accommodating.
Joe gives an interview to…somebody. Since I don’t work in television anymore I have no idea who most of the reporters are. I haven’t seen any reports online, and the cameras these days are too small to slap a logo upon, so your guess is as good as mine.
Last one to get gas. Yes, they do actually have Navy credit cards they use to pay for their fuel, one per plane. How’d you like those bonus points?
Then it was time to fire ’em up. What’s cool about these is that they can start themselves; no need for an APU to power ’em up and get the engines turning. No remote starter, though, although we joked about that.
Then, with a wave it was time to roll out, one at a time. They didn’t leave close together, as you can probably tell from the open cockpit in the back. I suppose they bunched up later after everyone was in the air and headed westward.
I took a little ShakyCam™ (I haven’t trademarked that, but I should) video of the arrival and departure. Using a still photo lens not suited for video, I still got some passable results. I do enough video work with actual video cameras that I don’t care to do it with still cameras, but if I do more of this I’ll probably have to nab a stabilizer rig to have with me. Anyway, here’s the video. If you view it full screen it’ll be 1080p.
It has been a LONG time since I’ve been able to get out with my camera. This was incredibly therapeutic, even if it was dreadfully cold outside. Getting some photo time feels GREAT!