Up above my head

I purchased a Mavic 2 Pro via eBay and have logged two flights this week. This fledgling endeavor has been a long-time goal of mine. I have always enjoyed photographs from a bird’s eye view. Now I get the joy of creating these images myself.

The work of Edward Burtynsky has been foundational in my growth as a photographer and conservationist. With the democratization of aerial photography technology, I can now ponder and implement and create photographs from above.

Flying a drone is no easy task. The craft itself is an impressive piece of technology. My first few flights have been away from people and obstacles in order to begin building muscle memory of how the drone operates. While I have flown other drones, it is less stressful to operate your own.

Last week, when flying a loaner drone, I lost signal with the drone as it hovered 100 meters above my head. Panic is not something you want to do when flying a drone. I took a breath and calmy activated the return to home, and the drone began a slow, stressful descent back to 30 meters.

I immediately grounded the aircraft.

Burned trees from the 2021 Beckworth Complex Fire dot the landscape.

As a storyteller, I am challenged with constantly pushing the envelope. Trying to improve my stories and gain more readership. It is not the clicks or views I am after. It is the joy of crafting a story, and as a visual storyteller, the drone offers a new path forward.

Within six months, I hope to be FAA certified and ready to fly a drone commercially. As I start out on this journey, I will continue to create new perspectives and dynamic images. I will strive to respect others' space and not be ‘that drone guy’ we all fear.

An ephemeral lake bed that has been dry most of the 2022 summer.

Today’s flight yielded one of my favorite photographs I have made all year. The video content is not terrible. While the learning curve is steep, I am aware that I have already become a better pilot in the 70 minutes or so of total flight time I have completed.

To follow my work, head over to my Instagram page or my Twitter page. I’d love to connect if you want to talk about drones or photography. Until then, stay tuned for the next chapter in my weekly musings.

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Richard Bednarski

With a background in Anthropology and Photography, I hold a Master’s Degree in Journalism. My goal is to illustrate the #ClimateCrisis through storytelling.