- The USPSA Multi-gun Nationals
I had such great plans for the three day match. Unfortunately two days of howling, 30 to 50 mile-per-hour winds grounded my drones and caused great discomfort for the shooters.
In the end, all I got was Sunday morning, with the last of the winds slowly going down. People were in polo and T-shirts instead of parkas!
the top squads were down to their last two events before going home. This collection will seem repetitive to non-shooters, but dip in and see how a few of the best do it.
For competitors, I hope you find one of your Sunday runs here. The challenge (especially in the wind) was to capture the experience but not interfere with the shooter's performance.
Please send me names of shooters so that I can add captions to the videos.. Each video in the gallery has an email facility to send me the name. I'd appreciate being able to put individual names in the collection.
Finally, to repeat what I said on the RO page http://divexprt.phanfare.com/7197922 I complained to DJI that their drones did not pick up audio
They answered, "All you would hear is the propellers."
I said, 'Over the sound of gunshots?"
And they said, "Who would fly their drone over people shooting guns?
- Preparing for the USPSA Multi-gun Nationals
Here in April of 2016, I've been invited to do aerial coverage of the USPSA Multi-Gun National Championships. The weather forecast is for high winds during the actual match. Oh, great.
The crew spends three weeks building the stages, then the volunteers who will officiate spend two days shooting the stages to be sure everything works under match conditions.
That gives me a chance to put the drone up on the stages, looking for the angles with the best light, the most unobstructed view of the shooters and the safest area to fly the drone (there are stages with flying clay pigeons and shooters going after them with shotguns).
Parenthetically, the DJI Inspire camera doesn't pick up audio. When I complained, they said, 'All you would hear is propeller noise, anyway.' I said, 'over gunfire???'
They looked at me funny and said, 'Who would fly their drone over people shooting guns?'
Today is another prep day, and I have added a number of new videos,
I'm hoping to get names of these shooters later, but for the moment, this is a thank-you for the hard-working officials!
The match starts tomorrow. 6:00 A.M. on the line, and bullets fly downrange at 7:00 A.M. Stay tuned.
- Shadow of the Hawk
On a windy day, I explored a new spot along the river.
As I used the drone to survey the river and its surrounding desert, I didn't realize that a hawk I had spotted earlier was taking an unhealthy interest in my drone.
Sure enough, as I brought the drone down to find my launch point, the hawk swooped in and the drone's camera caught the shadow.
After the wind made flying out over the water risky, I left to protect the drone and returned a few days later.
On today's flights, I launched from atop a high cliff which gave me a fabulous view North and South along the river .
Then I drove up a nearby canyon, and launched the drone where some 20-30-foot tall hoodoos survived the flash floods that occur frequently here. A few days later, I flew here again, but closer to the formations.
- The Bend in the River
On a day with almost perfect conditions, I found a bend in the river where kayakers, scuba divers and speedboat fans were all indulging in early-season activity. It's April 2nd, just at the early moments of our warm weather. After a long cool Winter, this is welcome!
You can make out the small scuba class just off the beach at the beginning of the second video
The parking lots were nearly empty, but you can imagine how this spot would be in mid-Summer!
Today there were the early-season hardy fans scuba diving, swimming and paddling kayaks for miles.
And me, watching from the sky...
- Caballo Lake State Park
Caballo Lake is a pleasant spot. Not as spectacular as Elephant butte, but still very nice if I could just get a calm day to fly. They have been enduring 50 mile-per-hour winds 240 miles North of here in Albuquerque. I'm just getting the edge of the violent weather.
Things could be worse. I could be in Denver, which is getting a blizzard today.
My first visit to Caballo Lake came late in my trip, on a day the winds didn't hold off all morning as they had on earlier days. So, I had to fly the drones In high winds at 7:30 in the morning,
I timidly flew up over Caballo Lake from behind the big earthen dam. An hour later, the winds were so strong I couldn't have flown here.
I hope to come back tomorrow and perhaps get a calm morning now that I know from where to launch.
- Elephant Butte State Park, North of Las Cruces, New Mexico
After my adventures in northern New Mexico, I drove the six hours down to Las Cruces. Along the way, I scouted Elephant Butte Lake.
I stayed only a short time because of all the exhausting hours on the highway, but returned the next day. On both days, the morning weather was fabulous for aerial photography.
I flew the drone from a road near the huge Elephant Butte Dam at the southwest end, then from a park area a bit North of the dam, then another spot called Rock Canyon halfway up to the North end of the lake, and finally a beach very close to the North end. I've arranged the videos in that rough sequence, with captions to place them.
An another visit, I flew the drones down in the Rio Grande Valley below the dam, just to try to find some shelter from the wind.
- Abiquiu Lake and Dam, New Mexico
On what is turning out to be a 'Lakes of northern New Mexico' adventure, today was another wonder.
I drove 2 1/2 hours from Farmington toward Abquiu, which lies North of Albuquerque. The temperatures overnight there were below freezing, and I worried on arrival that drone batteries might not work (they hate cold). By 10:00 A.M., things were looking up. Not a cloud in the sky, the Sun rapidly warming things up--and a sensational lake and dam to explore.
Abiquiu Dam is fun; a switchback road runs down the face to the Chama River and some colorful scenery in its canyon.
I drove across the dam and down the switchback with my GoPro, and had several very productive and color-drenched flights with the drones.
- Ship Rock, in northern New Mexico
On my March 2016 visit to northern New Mexico, I made it a point to visit the colossal Ship Rock, out in the desert near Farmington.
I had visited before, on the trip to Four Corners when I fell out of Hope Arch and almost killed myself. (third picture in the second row for a bit of blood). http://www.divexprt.com/HDRphotography/NewMexico.html
This time, I had the drones, and could get a higher view of the formation. The state geological office describes it here https://geoinfo.nmt.edu/tour/landmarks/shiprock/home.html
As a certain politician would say, it's YUGE!
The winds were down in the morning when the Sun shines on this side, but by Noon it was blowing dust all over the place. I was lucky to get three flights in.
- Lakes in northern New Mexico-March 2016
I began the March 2016 adventure by visiting Heron Lake and El Vado Lake, North of Albuquerque. At each lake, I launched the drone from that lake's dam, then supplemented that angle with stills from the shore near the dams.
Speaking with the dam engineer, I learned that the El Vado Lake level was down 70 feet and despite a good beginning to the snowpack, lately the snowfall has been lacking. They aren't optimistic for this Spring's runoff.
On the second full day, the wind came up in the late morning, but before it began I managed to enjoy a wonderful exploration of Navajo Lake. This is a large facility, with camping and picnic sites along a sizeable portion of its northern shoreline.
On the third full day, I visited Farmington Lake and added it at the end of this gallery.
Then I went out to Ship Rock, which deserves and gets its own gallery. Please visit it!
- Take me out to the ball game(s)...
Before taking off for New Mexico, I wanted to get in some practice flights this weekend. The big park a couple of blocks from my house is usually empty, but Sunday was baseball day, with four games in progress simultaneously.
I carefully flew out from an upper field to see the fields of play for brief moments, carefully avoiding any hint of distracting the players or interfering with the games.
While these preview sites severely degrade the quality of the videos to make the files smaller, they’ll give you the idea and I’ll ask Patty to put the nice sharp originals in a corner of my web site.
- When the tree fell on my house
On the day I was driving back from my Mesa, Arizona adventure, strong winds swept Las Vegas.
A tree in my yard landed on the house, as I discovered when I looked out the window next morning.
Travelers Insurance was very efficient and helpful, and a superb crew from Affordable Tree Service came within two days to remove the tree.
A happy ending! The tree is gone, and as far as we can tell, not a bit of damage was done to the house!
My thanks to all!
- Mesa, Arizona 2016
My trip to Mesa began with some spectacular weather. Considering that I am here in mid-February, the weather is extraordinary!
(A day later) Of course, as soon as I wrote that, the clouds moved in, and days four and five were severely Impaired for aerial photography. You can immediately identify the videos from the cloudy days in the gallery below.
On subsequent days I have added Roosevelt Dam and the Roosevelt bridge, plus Canyon and Apache Lakes and the Salt River. On another day, I visited Saguaro Lake on my way to the Tonto Natural Bridge, and discovered Horseshoe Lake.
After two days of gloomy clouds, day 6 was a treat with brilliant sunshine and color--and action everywhere!
I'm dancing as fast as I can...
- Tonto Natural Bridge
From Mesa, the Tonto Natural Bridge is a 100 mile drive. However, one can make a very productive stop at the Saguaro Lake Park on the way to produce a colorful and exciting day.
All I have had a chance to process are the videos from the platform and the drone. I have a number of stills to set the scene, but I'm too busy out collecting new material to process them. I'll do them any chance I get, but suspect most will have to wait 'til I get home.
I actually flew the drone down from the upper cliff, and took it pretty far into the opening.
So much so that is was wet from the drizzles when it landed!!
- Battery emergency and crash
On a lovely day, I took the Inspire Pro with the X5 (narrower-angle) lens for a very quick flight over the lake. Not 40 seconds into the flight, as I was preparing to confirm focus and exposure, the drone's Ipad screen declared a 'battery emergency-aircraft is landing' message.
Since I was aming to fly out over the lake, I quickly turned the drone toward land, looked for a landmark and hit the throttle to get away from falling into the water.
The drone lost altitude, but made it farther than I expected. At the last moment I tried to lift it over the bushes.
In fact, those friendly bushes cushioned the fall, and when we eventually found the drone a week later it was virtually undamaged--everything worked!
I searched for days along the flight path I thought it had followed (the second image shows the area I searched--from the coast to the left-hand end of the mesa), but under estimated how far the drone had traveled.
Finally, I gave up yesterday and went to the drone store. "didn't you know?" they said. "DJI just brought out an app for that." When the app came up on my screen, it showed the entire track of the flight, and the precise point where we soon found the drone.
My friend Jose of the store staff used the app's display to take us to the very spot where the drone had landed in a heaven-sent bush, which acted like a huge catcher's mitt. The drone was immediately flyable! Meanwhile, take a look at the map provided by the app. What a powerful tool!! (for the FAA to know if you have been naughty)...
By the way, a powerful wind and rain storm hit the day after we rescued the drone. It would have soaked and destroyed the drone's control systems...
- Drones over water
On a day near (I hope) the end of Winter here, a few hours of bright sunlight made a trip to the lake enjoyable. Even on a three-day holiday weekend, there was almost no one else there! In two or three miles of coastline, there were three lonely camper vans parked, and none of their occupants in sight. Perfect. I put the drones up three times to be sure I captured the scene.
Of course, those who have seen the many YouTube videos of drones going down know that putting them out over large bodies of water carries risk.
Wyatt Earp once said, "Fast is fine, but accurate is final."
In the world of drones, "Soaring is fine, but splashing is final."
All ended well, I brought them right back to my two launching spots along the shore.
A couple of days later I visited some lake sites in Arizona, again with perfect weather. I am enjoying these over-water flights!
- Visiting L.A. to see just-born great-grandson
On January 11th, 2016, a new Roessler entered the world. His name is River Alexander Roessler, and he joins his wonderful sister Rowan in the Los Angeles/Hollywood branch of the family.
Of course, I took a drone down with me. Before visiting hours on the second day, my son Paul and Grandson Alex took me out to the Korean Friendship Bell site, where I launched and took some videos of the Pacific Ocean in all its glory on a perfect day.
The day before was cloudy, so I just put the Inspire up at the hospital's parking garage and demonstrated how it flies--and took a selfie of the three of us.
Mother Beth and Father Adam were occupied with the newborn, so they missed the drone. However, I'm coming back during the Fall season when they have lots of days like this, and fly over some spectacular sites.
Hey, we take our fun where we can!
Pictures of River and Rowan have been added, from the many smartphones in Beth's hospital room.
- Lake Havasu City-January 2016
The day was pleasant, but there were a lot of clouds. As a result, I had to chase patches of Sun and pray a lot.
Three Dams near Las Vegas create Lakes Mead, Mohave and Havasu going Southward. The lakes are broad stretches of the mighty Colorado River, and each has become a playground for water sports enthusiasts.
In the end, Lake Havasu and its city delivered. The peninsula jutting out from the city is connected by the famous London Bridge, transported stone by stone from London, England. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Bridge_%28Lake_Havasu_City%29
The parks (Rotary Park in town and Cattail Cove ten miles South) along the eastern banks of the lake were picturesque and easy to access.
Parker Dam was dramatic as I flew over it during a brief sun-filled break in the clouds, and I took full advantage. All in all, a splendid place for drone-flying. I'll return, for sure!
- Ivanpah Solar Plant
On a day of calm weather, I drove down to the Ivanpah facility to catch it in the Sun. It is impressive, and I didn't fly the drone close to the towers, since these solar furnaces fry thousands of birds.
This is the official story http://www.ivanpahsolar.com/ but it is important to realize that the cost overruns have been horrendous, and the amount of power generated has fallen far short of the promises made. http://breakingenergy.com/2014/10/29/at-ivanpah-solar-power-plant-energy-production-falling-well-short-of-expectations/
Still, up close it is vast and impressive; soaring up to get a better overview is a thrill.
On a second visit, I flew in lower over the heliostats. From that altitude they seem to go on forever.
- Happy 2016!
As we leave the turbulent old year behind, may your New Year be free of anything but joy!
- Needles, California and Topock, Arizona
The Colorado River feeds a good-sized water system just southeast of Needles, California.
Part of that system is in Topock, on the Arizona side of the river.
On a quick one-day trip, I stopped near the Topock bridge into Arizona (bottom of map), then drove northward into Topock and flew over Topock Bay and the maze of lakes in the wetlands.
Driving North on my way home to Vegas, I crossed the Colorado North of Needles. Stopping again, I put the Inspire Pro up to take in the contrast between the Colorado and the desert. Behind the bridge in that last video, you can see the Needles formations, for which the town is named.
- Laughlin, Nevada in early Winter
Winter is a challenge, in several ways. Days recently have been calm and sunny in the morning, but by late morning strong winds appear and clouds ruin the color in the scenery.
Knowing that, I raced over to Laughlin, Nevada this morning. Most people who have heard of Laughlin at all remember it for a famous biker gang fight in 2002 http://www.foxnews.com/story/2002/04/27/casino-fight-between-motorcycle-gangs-leaves-three-dead.html
That is a shame, because it has some wonderful scenery and is beautifully situated on the banks of the Colorado.
I managed to got a couple of flights with the Inspire over the Big Bend of the Colorado State Park, in Bullhead City South of Laughlin. Those are the first four aerial videos. Two were taken looking North and then South from a northern jetty, the other two were taken from the camping sites at the South end.
Then I added the very careful landing process...
Within an hour, the wind came up, so I scouted the Davis Dam as a photo subject, and went North to a cove with a broad beach on the shores of Lake Mohave (Like Lake Mead North of here, the big lake was formed by building the dam to control the Colorado).
I flew over another lake on the Arizona side of the river; those are the final three videos. I love these lakes and rivers in the middle of vast desert!
- Late Fall in St. George, Utah
Just before Thanksgiving Day in 2015, I took a quick run up to St. George in southern Utah.
There was a high wind warning for the afternoon, but the morning was sunny and calm. I flew over some dying colors, toward the formations at Red Cliffs, over to the future arch that is slowly forming.
Then I dropped in on Quail Creek across the highway. At the end of that clip, we can see the arch in the distant cliffs.
The drone-flying weather is becoming less frequent as Winter approaches, but I'll do what I can...
- Window Rock/Four Corners 2015
I arrived in Window Rock with the weather deteriorating as a huge storm was forecast to the East of Arizona. The first morning it was still fairly calm, so I took two drone flights, but the wind was strengthening. By afternoon we had rain and gusts of 45 mph. Not drone weather.
However--I did get to fly over Wheatfield Lake in the morning before the storm, and the Los Gigantes Buttes near Round Rock.
I was greeted next morning with the wind down--but 22 degrees and frozen snow blanketing everything!
Amazingly, the weather warmed and the wind dropped. Taking advantage of the calm air, I raced to Los Gigantes, the Lukachukai foothills, Wheatfield Lake and the local crown jewel, Window Rock.
The closing days were magnificent! Got out to Edna's Needle and Hope Arch, nine miles out into the desert West of Round Rock, and a formation I call the Eye of Sauron near Fort Defiance. In calm weather, there are plenty of subjects here!
- Sedona, Arizona, November 2015
Please remember that these quick-review sites degrade the videos to save space on their servers. Patty will put the sharp originals into a real gallery in here! http://www.divexprt.com/HDRphotography/Drones.html
My earlier visit to Sedona this year was cut short by clouds and rain. This was my return to complete the drone flying from the earlier weather-shortened attempt.
I began as I drove into town, stopping at the scenic Midgley Bridge. A miracle occurred there, as I'll explain in the caption of the second video. My guardian angels were brilliant in saving an expensive drone!
Then I proceeded into Sedona, stopping at the Mount Wilson area North of the city center and taking a flight up to Chimney Rock. In the afternoon, Cathedral Rock West of town is a beautiful subject.
In succeeding days I took aerial videos of Dry Creek, Boynton Canyon, Chimney Rock, Bell Rock and other scenic features.
At the end of my overall trip (which included the Four Corners area), I drove back for a final few hours in Sedona and was rewarded with some gentle, colorful Fall foliage and some serene, colorful videos of the Chapel
- Surefire Multi-gun Championships-Professional Division
Please remember that these quick-review sites degrade the videos to save space on their servers. Patty will put the sharp originals into a real gallery in here! http://www.divexprt.com/carlpg.pics/MultiGunNationals.html
Be sure to give each video a few seconds to load.
See the first of our three galleries below for an introduction to the very challenging Surefire Multi-gun Championships in Boulder City, Nevada .Organizer Pete Rensing is a hard taskmaster.
I'm indebted to Jessica Nietzel, who sent me IDs for most of the shooters in the videos. Thank you, Jessica!
Looking at these stages, it is hard to even imagine how difficult they are--some are very long, require a high number of shots from all three weapons, all while maintaining close concentration for accurate hits, and also force competitors into some long, energy-draining runs.
After two days of raw wind that grounded the drone and knocked over a lot of range equipment, we finally got a nice day.
I tried to make the most of the better conditions, with the resulting videos below.
I'd appreciate names of competitors you recognize. Please use the comments facility on this gallery, or email me at email@example.com. I'd like to credit the good performances to the competitors who shot so well.
- Surefire Multi-gun match-Semi-Pro category
Be sure to give each video a few seconds to load.
Yesterday I described the Surefire match and my dynamic friend Pete Rensing of the Surefire Institute in Boulder City, here in Nevada.
That posting was about the Non-Professional portion of the match, which took place during the first two days of a very busy week.
For the days of semi-professional competition I will try to gather drone'-eye videos and display them here. There is a lot of wind forecast, so I'm afraid I will lose a day or two.
I'd appreciate any help competitors can give me with names of the people shooting asI get the videos uploaded to this gallery.
That first video is just an overview of the first four stages being shot today. I had two decent weather days for the Semi-pros, and the videos are displayed here. The third day blew out with high winds.
- Surefire Multi-gun Competition-non-professional category
Be sure to give each video a few seconds to load. It will begin playing after a pause.
These drone videos are from the first two days of the Surefire Multi-gun Championships at the Pro Gun Range in Boulder City, Nevada, where Pete Rensing's Surefire Institute and training center are located. Pete invited me to use my drone to take videos of the competition so the public will understand how much fun competitive shooting can be. DJI's camera on the Inspire drone does not deliver sound--undoubtedly because in most videos, all you would hear would be the sound of the motors!
The first two days have non-professional shooters competing.
In coming days we will have a three-day match for semi-pro shooters, and next weekend the big-name talent will compete.
The first day had gusty winds, which make drones really hard to hold in position and center the camera on the subject. It was hard to keep the shooters framed properly, but I learned as the day proceeded. IThe second day was placid, though lacking in Sunshine. Can't have everything.Stay tuned! More to come!
Competitors! Please send me names I have missed in these! Put SUREFIRE in caps in your header, please
- Drones above the Arkansas River in Colorado
Please remember that these quick-review sites degrade the videos to save space on their servers. Patty will put the sharp originals into a real gallery in here!http://www.divexprt.com/HDRphotography/Drones/ColoradoFall2015/ColoradoFall2015.html
Be sure to give each video a few seconds to load. After that, the video will start playing..
After several days of inclement weather, Colorado finally yielded hours of bright sunshine. To make the most of it, I drove West out of Canon City, where Route 50 follows the Arkansas river toward the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
At a number of scenic spots I put the Inspire drone up to show the river in its course.
Some of these are quite short, others more relaxed and longer. Drones don't have much battery life, so most are digestible.
- Bishop Castle, Rye, Colorado
Bishop Castle is South of Canon City and Pueblo, Colorado. The story of this incredible achievement by a single man and his wife is worth reading at http://www.bishopcastle.org/#
Any time you think 'The Power of One' is merely a slogan will read this and smile. Mr. Bishop proves the concept.
All of the weather at lower elevations was poor, but up here near 10,000 feet, the clouds were thin and I could capture some of the wonder of this unique structure.
It was a privilege to see it, especially when some local visitors told me that Mr. Bishop is now suffering from cancer.
- Eastern Colorado 2015
Another adventure in Colorado was a trip from Canon City to Colorado Springs, exploring a number of magnificent attractions. These included the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, the Royal Gorge Bridge outside Canon City and others I will describe in upcoming days.
So far, I have gotten some material from Garden of the Gods and Royal Gorge despite quite a bit of inclement weather. Plenty of days and targets left. Stay tuned!
- Grand Junction and the Colorado River
Grand Junction was my entry into Colorado as I drove from Las Vegas. I stayed for a couple of days to photograph the Supermoon Eclipse (separate gallery) and the Arkansas river as it runs through town.
- The Supermoon Eclipse of September 27, 2015
On September 27, 2015, a rare eclipse of a Supermoon took place. I photographed it from a high cliff site atop the Colorado National Monument, outside Grand Junction, Colorado. This phenomenon combines the Moon being only 221,000 miles from Earth, and Earth's shadow completely engulfing it.
These are a few of the resulting images, though I have many more to do a YouTube video later to document it.
By the way,a photographer who was on the cliff near me said that we'd better get the pictures now, because the next Supermoon eclipse isn't coming for more than thirty years.
- Upper Mesa Falls, Idaho
On a wonderful visit to Driggs, Idaho, my hosts drove me all around the wonders of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
After we drove out through West Yellowstone and turned South to Upper Mesa Falls.
The Inspire drone did the great falls justice!
- The Greater Yellowstone Region
In September of 2015 I enjoyed an adventure visiting with friends who live in Driggs, Idaho. Driggs is right on the border with Wyoming, with Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons National Park right on the eastern side of that border.
Despite rain and even snow at higher elevations, my friends strove mightily to find places that would still deliver exciting imagery despite the weather.
My first target was the Fall foliage. There are samples in the first seven items below.
Then we went into Yellowstone for bison, thermal locations, bubbling pools, geysers and wild rivers like the Firehole (the one shown with its waterfall. As a bonus, we also had a friendly (?) herd of bison sharing the road with us with the geysers in the distance behind them.
In the higher summit areas we saw the beginning of Winter, as the snow stuck, at least for a while.
I flew the Inspire drone over rivers, forests and the glorious Upper Mesa Falls site. The first video of those four shows the very best location a walking visitor can see from the observation platforms. As you see, they can't get much of a view of the falls except for the eastern end.
I stood on one of the platforms and put the drone out to see the entire face of the falls and the river stretching away to the North and South. A fabulous falls!
A final stop as I drove home to Las Vegas was a beautiful Bear Lake, near Salt Lake City.
- Drones over Twin Falls, Idaho
In September of 2015, I took my first drone-flying trip back to a favorite place, Twin Falls, Idaho.
Briefly, the first four items are of Niagara Springs state park, along the Snake River. I'll have more videos from a second visit to upload soon.
The next eight items are of the unmistakable Perrine Coulee Falls, pouring out atop a high rim of the Snake River Canyon.
Below it lie Centennial Park, and around to the right in the early-morning Sun we find that Perrine Bridge.
The powerful flow of water in the next seven items is from the Twin Falls Hydro Power plant upstream from Shoshone Falls.
Then there are three views near the Hanson Bridge at Tipperary Corners, about tem miles East of Twin Falls.
Then there are a series of images and videos of the Yingst Falls, near the golf course West of town.
The picture of the high Perrine Bridge introduces a series of BASE jumpers who leap from it. I have a lot more divers to add later when I have bandwidth to upload them!!
The Shoshone Falls were turned off to conserve water, but the Dierkes Lake park and the Snake River above the usual falls are beautiful.
Then we have four items introducing us to the immense Balanced Rock.
Finally, a couple of items from Lake Walcott, near Pocatello, east of Twin Falls.
- Drones above Sedona, Arizona
In July of 2015 I revisited an old favorite, Sedona in Arizona.
I drove from Las Vegas via the immense Meteor Crater in Winslow, then doubled back to drive down to Sedona.
The Midgley Bridge was a treat. I flew the drone out to look at the structure from above the river, and up at Steamboat Rock-- which sits on a high peak behind the bridge.
In Sedona, I went to the beautiful Chapel of the Holy Cross and flew the Inspire drone up to see it as visitors in buses or cars can't.
Then I went down to Bell Rock, Chimney Point, Schnebley Hill Road and other observation points that seemed suited to aerial photography. The weather grew cloudy, but I kept on flying as best I could.
While I covered Sedona rather thoroughly a few years ago, http://www.divexprt.com/HDRphotography/Sedona/Sedona.html
Having the drones adds a thrilling new ability for the photographer. Some formations which I could only photograph from a distance or through trees suddenly became possible.
- Hot Air Balloons over Vegas
During our calm Summer mornings, local hot air balloon operators take people up in the still of dawn.
I went out to use the DJI Phantom2 and Inspire 1 drones to shoot video ot them. The pilots and crews were very friendly and helpful, giving me tips to help.
I began with a day of shooting the long view, then on the second and later days I watched how the crews quickly assemble and deploy their balloons, launching into the early Sun.
After a while, I knew the correct viewing positions and which way the balloons would move in the breeze. The Sun and sky were perfect for five days, and the launches produced very colorful videos.
A brisk wind on the fourth day forced the Red Baron to chase the balloons across the sky, but on the fifth morning everything came together for the videos you'll see.
- Red Canyon, approach to Bryce Canyon, Utah
Red Canyon is a stunning, beautiful and starkly different environment when one emerges from the forests West of Bryce Canyon.
Suddenly, as we climb the grade toward the park, dazzlingly complex cliffs of red sandstone topped with hoodoos are all around us. There are many viewpoints, and a drone pilot has a cornucopia of opportunities to get footage.
On the days I was there, I was fortunate to enjoy full sun and maximal color.
- Devil's Garden, Escalante, Utah
Devil's Garden, located South of Escalante, is one of at least three regions of Utah where erosion of sandstone layers into bizarre forms. Fantasy Canyon, Goblin Valley and Devil's Garden are special treats for photographers because they are so difficult to capture.
In this case, I took my Inspire drone and hovered over various sections with the intention of supplementing what I have on my web site from earlier visits: http://www.divexprt.com/HDRphotography/Escalante/3DevilsGarden/DevilsGarden.html
- Mossy Cave Trailhead, Bryce Canyon, Utah
This charming alcove is encountered immediately after one exits Bryce Canyon National Park and heads East on scenic byway 12. It is easy to miss unless several cars are parked along the road marking the spot.
This overlook is immediately evident as soon as one starts up the trail. In the morning hours, the high hoodoos and babbling brook work magic to start the day.
- Panguitch Lake, near Panguitch, Utah
Panguitch Reservoir is another of Utah's many dual-purpose lakes. It supports agriculture in the area as well as providing a recreational facility for citizens.
Panguitch Lake is located on the road which passes Cedar Breaks National Monument, between Cedar City and Bryce National Park
It was a wonderful subject for my Inspire 1 drone, which could soar like an eagle and see the entire lake by merely turning. This was a gorgeous day of deep, rich and intense color for photography as well
This is Nature at her most artistic...
- Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah
Kodachrome Basin is a charming and colorful state park lying just East of Bryce Canyon and ten miles North of Grosvenor Arch.
We are close enough to Bryce Canyon that from most sites in Kodachrome, the long cliff of the 25-mile long Bryce acts as a distant background.
I approached from the South after shooting video at Grosvenor Arch. The roads are maintained, but recent thunderstorms had opened gullies that were nerve-wracking, mainly because breaking down South of Kodachrome might mean a long wait for rescue.
Kodachrome Basin is, as its name states, a basin surrounded by high white cliffs. Erosion over millennia has revealed red sandstone volcanic intrusions into softer dirt above. The softer layers eventually were worn away to reveal the harder volcanic spires we see sticking up in these views..
Both the Phantom and the Inspire drones got good workouts here! Tow of the days were brilliantly clear, but the third day was very hazy, with scattered light and poor color. Still, the footage was informative as the drone flew over a large red formation with a volcanic spire sticking up right through it.
Oh--and yes, I had some fun with Chimney Rock!
- Grosvenor Arch, Tropic, Utah
Grosvenor Arch was named for Gilbert Grosvenor of the National Geographic Society by a team of photographers covering nearby Kodachrome Basin, which is now a state park
The tall tower actually contains two arches, which I have shown from the ground http://www.divexprt.com/HDRphotography/GrosvenorArch/CottonwoodGrosvenorArch.html
The difference this time was using the Phantom drone for getting much closer to the top of the formation to obtain videos . I used the larger Inspire 1 drone to fly above the lake for the different angle and longer footage of the tower.
The small lake is one of many across the West built to provide water for agriculture, a crucial component of the state's economy.
- The Burr Trail in Utah with drones
As part of a trip through the Bryce Canyon, Escalante and Capitol Reef regions, I visited some favorite locations with my new aerial cameras mounted on drones. In my Phanfare galleries, I'll take each place separately an show a few tantalizing items--especially those shot by the drones.
This one is the Burr Trail, a road through winding canyons of red sandstone and then down through the desert to an amazing cliff, into which John Atlantic Burr (born in 1843 on a ship coming across the Atlantic) carved an enormous switchback road to move his cattle in the late 1800s.
I covered this area some time ago on my web site http://www.divexprt.com/HDRphotography/Utah.html#Escalante
- Escalante, Utah
Escalante has a colorful history, among other notable historical events was the Hole in the Wall Expedition which crossed the 60 miles of desert between Escalante and what is now Lake Powell. I tell a bit of the story on my web site http://www.divexprt.com/HDRphotography/Escalante/2TheHoleInTheRock/HoleInTheRock.html
On my most recent visit, the remains of Hurricane Biance had come in from Mexico, causing some unsettled weather. When the Sun was out, I tried to make the most of it
Shown in this gallery is the view from a high overlook above the sweeping road known as The Most Beautiful Road in America, There is one section a few miles away with sheer drop-offs on both sides of the roadbed (known as The Hogback). I also took mu drones and visited the colorful local reservoir.
The Most Beautiful Road was beautiful indeed on my first day, but as you see, Hurricane Bianca made a complete mess the next day. What a difference!
- Cathedral Valley, Utah
A series of violent storms severely damaged the Caineville Wash road in eastern Utah (and several others as well) while I was there, so it was a bumpy, sometimes downright alarming struggle to get to the areas I wanted to photograph.
The pictures and videos tell their own story better than any mere words of mine, I can't possibly communicate the kind of awe and solemnity this entire area awakens in the visitor.
I had the pleasure of being there all alone, photographing these creations in the morning Sun. A rewarding experience that erased the pounding of all those gullies...
- My new flying camera
It was august of 2014 when I made my first halting flights with the DJI Phantom 2 (first picture).
After those months experience with spectacular attractions in Nevada, California, Utah and Arizona, the strength of the Phantom lies in subjects like the 650-foot high Bridal Veil Falls. The Phantom's 140-degree wide-angle lens can capture large subjects from fairly close distances.
On the other hand, that wide-angle lens can be a drawback in places where a high angle includes the horizon, like Jordanelle Lake or Goblin Valley.
So, I have now added the powerful DJI Inspire 1 to my toolkit. The Inspire is powerful, has sophisticated electronics, is stable in winds that would hamper the Phantom and has a 4K camera with exquisite detail and a 90 degree field rather than 140 degrees as in the Phantom. Different tools for different jobs....
It also has retractable landing gear to get the legs out of the camera's way. It is easy to fly, and has backup systems to protect the photographer from unanticipated hazards.
It's also FUN!
- Jordanelle State Park and reservoir, Utah
Jordanelle Reservoir and state park lies on the northern outskirts of Heber City, Utah. There is a well-placed high overlook on the South end of the lake, and a very well-developed park on its north side, offering beaches, boating and fishing in a large facility.
It is a beautiful spot, conveniently close to the town. Winding roads lead to convenient parking and covered picnic tables
Utah has done a spectacular job in its state parks and reservoirs, contributing mightily to the quality of life for its citizens.
- Heber City and Deer Creek State Park, Utah
My May 2015 trip to Utah was based in Heber City, which lies to the northeast pf Provo ,Heber City is loosely ringed by four large reservoirs hosting State Parks. One of them, Deer Creek State Park and reservoir lies between Heber City and magnificent Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon.
Heber City is also surrounded by mountains with snow-covered higher peaks behind them. The Provo River and highway to Provo run Southwestward from the Deer Creek Reservoir and past the 650-foot high Bridal Veil Falls.
Northwest of Heber City is spectacular Wasatch Mountain, the Jordanelle Reservoir and a small mountain around which Wasatch County built an ascending spiral road capped by a beautiful monument to our veterans.
I celebrated all these wonders with photographs and videos, using the drone where it offered a special insight.
The drone is especially effective soaring up over lakes, waterfalls and rivers. Around Heber City. I used mine to get an elevated view of both Deer Creek and Jordanelle Reservoirs, including their dams.
- Strawberry Reservoir and Soldier Creek Dam, Utah
My May 2015 trip to Utah took me eastward out of Heber city to the large Strawberry Reservoir, and its Soldier Creek Dam.
The weather was a problem all week, as clouds and intermittent rainstorms would roll through and knock out significant parts of my days (see the panorama of the lake with the storm approaching on the right. I drove through that to get back to Heber City!
- Starvation Reservoir and State Park, Utah
In May of 2015 I traveled to Heber city in Utah. When I investigated my principal photo target, Bridal Veil Falls, I discovered that Heber City was surrounded by four good-sized reservoirs. Starvation Reservoir and State Park is the most distan,t but still worth a visit with the drone.
- Bridal Veil Falls, Provo, Utah
When I first saw pictures of Bridal Veil Falls, near Provo, Utah, I was intrigued by the idea of sending my Phantom up there.
I visited on different days, in various kinds of weather. One day was particularly windy, so I used a telephoto to capture some young hikers at the base of the lower falls, and the falls being blown above them into the characteristic 'Bridal Veil' design.
The Falls are spectacular, and no video can approach the effect of standing there looking up at them in their colossal fall. It was definitely worth the long drive!
The Phantom performed perfectly, soaring up to provide the eagle's eye view.
- Drones above Mexican Hat and Mexican Hat Rock, Utah
As noted in my gallery on the Moki Dugway, Mexican Hat is a small town on the San Juan River which was the site of an uranium-processing plant.
The town is right on the river, and boaters take off from the boat ramp in inflatables each day. I made several flights with the drone over the river, which are shown here.
One flight was atop a high cliff and slope of loose boulders that plunged to the river. After one flight on a day with gusty winds, I landed the drone on the intended site--but then the wind skittered across the ground until it plunged down the slope to the river bank.
I've shown the pictures of the site, but I'll spare you the pictures of my legs when I finally struggled back with the drone and controller.
As a commercial for DJI, that Phantom flew five flights next morning after I replaced a couple of props.
The Mexican Hat stone formation is on the North end of town, and makes a scenic subject for drone flights!
- Goosenecks State Park, Utah
Goosenecks Sate Park encompasses an immense double bend of the Colorado River. We stand on a high parapet, and see the river sweep around two huge mesas.
In 2015, I took a drone to the site and shot some footage of the larger scene, as well as getting a bit outward from the normal viewing platform to see deeper into the gorge.
- DJI Phantom above Monument Valley
In 2014 I began using drones as photographic platforms. Majestic Monument Valley is a wonderful arena for using them--the vast open ares and towering sandstone formations are enhanced when one has two completely different perspectives available to perceive them.
In one, we are earthbound creatures. In the other, we see what the eagle sees.
I was fortunate to get two days in the valley when the winds were light (unusual!) and the Sun was shining, so I enjoyed myself with a number of flights. Here is a small sample of the results.
On my online galleries in Phanfare and Blogger, I'm limited to short clips. When we get this trip uploaded to my web site www.divexprt.com I'll be able to put up some leisurely flights above these scenic wonders.
- Valley of the Gods, Utah with drones
Valley of the Gods is a miniature version of Monument Valley, about twenty-five miles North from the famed Navajo Nation tourist attraction. A dirt road winds through it, with some small buttes near the northern entrance and a taller series a few miles further into the park.
I found a pair of vertical sandstone fins with a saddleback between them, which made a perfect launch platform for the drone. Finally, I got a day without cloud shadows and enjoyed the flights.
The cliffs in the background at the saddleback are part of the huge mesa which has the Moki Dugway a few miles to the West.
- Page, Arizona and Glen Canyon Dam
My latest trip to Page, Arizona has some early results which I'm sharing with you. I'll update with more later when I have faster broadband.
Page is in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which includes the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. Beautifully scenic, it is rich in the contrasts between a red sandstone desert and a vast lake of blue water.
I'll upload the videos later--meanwhile, I hope you enjoy these still shots!
- Snow Canyon Park, St. George, Utah
Just outside St. George on the North side is a large recreational park called Snow Canyon. Miles of hiking trails and bike trails interweave with large sandstone formations in various colors.
It is a relaxing place to stop after driving North to the lakes (Enterprise, Baker, Gunlock) before taking the two-hour drive back to Las Vegas.
I took a panoramic photo from a high overlook, then drove down into the valley and found a friendly spot to fly the Phantom.
Another small gem of scenic Utah!
- Upper Enterprise Lake, Utah
This is the upstream lake of the Enterprise complex, some thirty miles North of St. George, Utah.
The first time I visited, snow was on the ground (final panorama) and the wind had come up when I wanted to fly the drone. So, I decided to come back two weeks later and lucked into a sunny, windless day.
On that second visit, the lake had some fishermen visiting in ATVs down on the shoreline. I flew the Phantom out above the lake and got a soaring bird's-eye view of them. Very scenic.
- Lower Enterprise Lake, Utah
Enterprise Lake is a reservoir complex with two bodies of water, located near the town of Enterprise, Utah.
At the smaller of the two lakes (Lower Enterprise Lake), I was fortunate to find some protection as the wind began to blow.The drone flights over Lower Enterprise Lake were risk-free because of the hills around me.
I returned two weeks later. The snow had disappeared, and I was able to fly the drone comfortably from next to the dam.
- Calico Basin near Las Vegas
Calico Basin is part of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which is just a few miles from my home in Las Vegas.
The light at Dawn is soft and warm, bringing out the grandeur of the red sandstone cliffs.
Just for fun, I took the drone straight up, creating a shadow reminiscent of the huge figures on the Nazca Plain in Peru.
- Baker Lake, Utah
Baker Lake is a small reservoir near the town of Veyo, Utah. I was delighted upon arrival to find a flock of ducks in residence.
A local told me that many birds stop at these lakes as they migrate North to Great Salt Lake, their Summer home.
I sent the Phantom drone up to look down at the ducks as another duck might, but without coming too close and frightening them.
By the time I shot the final video from the dam end of the lake, the wind had come up quite strongly.
- Gunlock Reservoir near St. George, Utah
Gunlock Reservoir is a beautiful lake just South of the town of Gunlock in Utah. I arrived at dawn, when the light was soft and the wind calm.
Putting the drone up for some lazy, enjoyable sight-seeing, I watched as the light changed with the rising angle of the sun.
Since it is the middle of Winter and early in the day, nobody was around until I was leaving and the 'rush hour' (there is no rush hour here) traffic began.
I returned to Gunlock a few weeks later, on a windy day, and shot pictures from the eastern side, looking toward the dam where I had flown the drone (the final three images in this gallery).
I love these lakes in the middle of our immense deserts--such a contrast!
- Little Finland, Nevada
There are several unusual places in the West where water and/or wind have fashioned collections of phantasmagorical shapes resembling gargoyles, animals and other artistic extravagances. Utah alone has three: Fantasy Canyon near Vernal, The Devil's Garden South of Escalante and Goblin Valley West of Moab
Nevada has Little Finland in the desert East of Hoover Dam, where atop a large mesa we find a vast population of sculptured forms, some resembling animals.
This place is so remote that I have asked many Nevada residents about it and they have no idea that it exists.
It took a couple of exploratory visits, but I finally found the correct entry, a steep little ATV road and gate at the North end of the plateau.. Those images and videos are found after the white map below, which shows the route from Devil's Throat.
Toward the end of the gallery below, that figure 8-shaped horse corral is at the South end of the plateau.
On later trips, I have found that Sundays bring many ATV drivers out here on the rough roads. On two occasions the weekend visitors helped me a lot--once with a flat tire, and more recently helping me find my lost drone (see the flight and crash down the page). More on the lost drone and the ATV folks who helped can be found on my blog on my home page at www.divexprt.com
- Bonita Springs, Florida
These are from a quick trip to Florida, where my brother's birthday led to a family reunion. We gathered at his condo in a golfing community, which was speckled with scenic small lakes.
Some of the lakes had resident alligators with whom I attempted to engage The one shown here succumbed to my charms, and I was really pleased with the resulting portrait.
Birds were also plentiful, so our long morning walks were rewarding on all fronts. The glowering Bittern on the small branch sat and posed, while the Blue Heron watched us warily, ready to take off.
Of course, we were walking in a community with two large courses, so Death by Golf Cart was constantly in our minds. Don't watch the wildlife, watch the rolling stock coming up behind you!!
- The Devil's Throat, Nevada
The Devil's Throat sinkhole is ten miles South of the Whitney Pockets park down a rugged road. I met a man who told me his father had descended into the sinkhole 60 years ago, and it was far smaller than it is now.
My parked SUV gives an idea of the size of the hole, and I put the drone straight up over the sinkhole to give 'the Road Runner view.'
A remarkable place!
- Small lake near Gunlock, Utah
I stumbled upon this beautiful small lake while driving to the Gunlock Reservoir near St. George, Utah. A very pleasant gentleman was there; he told me that during the migratory season, thousands of sea birds stop at this lake on their way to
Great Salt Lake.
In our vast desert lands, these lakes and man-made reservoirs are very important, refreshing changes to relieve the immense dry landscape. I have sought them out to go with all of my pictures of stone and sand.
- Sharks other than great whites
During many years of diving around the world, I saw the diving public's reaction to sharks change completely.
In the early days, we couldn't take divers to places where sharks might be seen. The divers wanted to take pictures of small, colorful, harmless reef creatures.
In the mid-1970s, we began introducing shark feedings into our more adventurous cruises. In 1976, while the movie 'Jaws' was still in theaters, we began taking very select clients to dive in Rodney Fox's Great White Shark cages in South Australia.
The transformation picked up momentum, and soon almost all of our cruises included shark feedings, sometimes frequently.
Today, it seems to be all sharks, all the time.
These are a few moments from a long career finding different species.
- Great White Sharks-South Australia
In an underwater career that spanned forty years all over the tropical world, my favorite subject was the great white shark. I made more than 30 expeditions to South Australia with the famed shark victim Rodney Fox. It added up to nearly 300 days in those cages!
For me, looking into the eyes of a big shark very close to me was like looking into the face of God. A powerful, unforgettable experience. These are some souvenirs of those years.
- Whitney Pockets, Nevada
Whitney Pockets is a pleasant park twenty-five miles from Mesquite, Nevada in the middle of a vast desert.
Families from Mesquite and Logandale bring their children to enjoy the rich scenery.
Thank goodness, for I had an all-out flat tire here on my January 17 trip back from the Devil's Throat and Little Finland. If the flat had occurred out there I would have been totally on my own.
Being near Whitney Pockets saved me grief, for a gentleman named Merland from Logandale stopped his truck, joined me and changed the tire.. When he finished, he refused to take a penny, which restored my faith in human nature on the spot.A very generous gentleman.
I hope he sees this and reads of my appreciation.
- St. George, Utah
A short trip to St. George in January of 2015. Quail Creek state park, Red Cliffs and the Sand Hollow State Park. The two lakes in the parks are man-made, bringing water sports to an otherwise bone-dry area. All three parks are within a very few miles of each other, making all three doable in a day driving up from Las Vegas.
- Goblin Valley, Utah
Goblin Valley State Park is an unusual set of formations in central Utah. Visitors walk freely through the hundreds of figures, many of which have 'personalities; http://www.divexprt.com/HDRphotography/GoblinValleyNearbyAttrct/GoblinValleyAndNearbyAttractions.html
- Drones above the Colorado River-Moab, Utah
The Colorado River runs for 50 miles between red cliffs in Moab, Utah. It is a grand place for boating, hiking--and drone flying. I particularly liked putting the drone up at the Gold Bar bend in the river, where on an early trip to Moab I had encountered the 'Flying Lawnmowers.'
See the videos here:
- Mono Lake 2014
Mono Lake, California sits at the eastern end of the road into Yosemite National Park During the Winter the access highway is shut, but the lake is still accessible.
I made two trips to the area. The images of the tufa formations were taken from the beach in May of 2014, the drone shots were taken on a return trip in September.
- Valley of Fire, Nevada
I made some of my early flights at the Valley of Fire State Park, a half-hour's drive North of Las Vegas.
The scenery is stunning, of course, but there are no soft places to land. :)
This park has some of the most spectacular red sandstone formations found anywhere, and the road system makes them accessible. I took maximum advantage, and set the Phantom soaring over various formations.
In a couple of these, I put the drone up near Elephant Rock, where there was a beautiful view of Lake Mead in the distance.
- From my underwater travels
For forty years, I was privileged to dive in remote, unspoiled places around the tropical world. From the Caribbean to Socorro, from the Red Sea to the Maldives, from the Coral Sea to the Galapagos, these were the kinds of creatures I saw when the diving world was young. All during those years, I told clients so appreciate what they were witnessing: the Golden Age of underwater exploration.
Every image carries a memory of its individual time and place, indelibly etched in one's mind. Each picture tells its story when seen.
I hope viewers will get at least a sense of that with each of these pictures.