The red rocks and blue skies of Southern Utah provide striking scenes for aerial cinematography.
It was late afternoon when I was finally able to open my drone case and get some shots. I felt like I needed to hurry because there was so much beauty and so little time to fly. I barely scratched the surface, so to speak. The good news is, there is much to see and capture next time I go back.
The Bonneville Salt Flats landscape has a stark beauty. The salt preserves and corrupts. Very little can live in the salt. This far from civilization it may as well be another planet. Yet, the solitude, the harshness and the contrasts are inspiring. I would go back. I will go back. I will fly over the salt and the water. Next time, I will stay longer.
I shot this drone footage with my DJI Phantom 4 drone. I also did the music.
I thought it would be easy, flying a drone. And, in truth, the technology makes it much easier than it could be. Nevertheless, it is still easy to crash. Believe me, I’ve done it. Fortunately not yet catastrophically.
Standing in a high mountain meadow, I take off. My phantom 4 rises effortlessly and hovers. In truth, every time I take off I have this feeling that I’m going to loose it, my drone that is. It is going to fly away, or, get blown away, or, run into something, or…I can go on thinking of all the possible ways I might loose or crash my drone. Nevertheless, the good pictures and the great footage do not reside near where I stand. If they did, I wouldn’t need a drone. So, I send my phantom 4 off into the sky.
Having passed my Federal Aviation Administration part 107 test and received my FAA UAS certified remote pilot rating, I know that I must fly VLS, visual line of sight. The specs on my phantom say that it has a 3.1 mile range. I, on the other hand, can not see my drone once it has gone about a half mile. I probably need glasses. However, I’m trying to find a balance between VLS and reasonable range. I haven’t found it yet.
I fly over the aspen trees toward Mount Timpanogos. The sun is setting and with fall approaching, the colors and the imagery are amazing. I’m trying to get the right exposure, watch the drone and watch the screen when I get a message telling me that the signal is weak. My phantom is not that far away. Then the message changes–signal lost.
My drone is out there flying, by itself? And, I must admit, I can’t see it. It has gone out of my sight behind a stand of Aspen trees.
That knot in the pit of my stomach tightens.
The specs say that the phantom 4 is supposed to return to home upon signal loss. I can’t hear it and I can’t see it. I start walking uphill through the meadow. If I can just get to a higher vantage point. I hold my controller over my head. The signal returns. My drone is found. Hallelujah.
The battery life is running critically low so I bring it in for a landing. The sun drops behind the mountain and I pack up my gear.
When I look at the footage, I’m amazed. It actually looks pretty good. Nevertheless, you be the judge.
Fall comes to the high mountains above American Fork Canyon in the Uinta National Forest.
These mountains are amazing. I never tire of the view from my house. Now that I fly drones, I try to spend as much time as possible soaring over them, remotely. These are a few shots from this summer of the mountains nearest my home. I will post more aerial cinematography shots on a regular basis. Your comments are always welcome.
I have had the privilege over the last several years to travel the world shooting and producing short documentary films. I have been in over 65 countries on every continent except Antarctica. I have had marvelous experiences, made friends, tasted exotic foods, seen incredible sights and experienced my own personal miracles. I hope to continue traveling and filming throughout the world. I may yet make it to Antarctica. In the mean time, I thought I would post a selected montage reel, with the musical help of Bono and U2. I didn’t ask their permission. If Bono asks me to change the music I will 🙂
I also would like to credit two of my very talented friends who traveled with me to many of these countries: Tom Garner and Curtis Anderson. They are incredibly talented cinematographers and filmmakers. Some of the shots in this reel belong to them; although, I don’t remember which ones. Sorry Guys.
I hope you enjoy the reel. Let me know what you think.
It has been my privilege to travel to Africa numerous times. It has also been my privilege to tell stories of individuals and families who’s lives are filled with faith, in spite of trials. The spiritual journey of the Sam family from South Africa is such a story.
Following decades of war, violent strife, economic turmoil and the ebola crisis, Sierra Leoneans carry on. On December 2, 2012, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland organized the 3,000th stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this West African nation. There are many ways to die in Africa; nevertheless, the light of love and peace shines on the Lion of the Mountains.