January has been a busy month. The Scottsdale desert, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, The Magic of Cowboys workshop, school photos at Children First Leadership Academy, and now explorations at Gold Butte National Monument, Nevada.
In the last post, I riffed on getting out of the comfort zone. I just want to say that sometimes it’s fun. I have a new drone. What a joy!
I have to eat my words a bit. I’ve been complaining about drones for years, especially about the obnoxious whiny noise they make. New ones are a bit quieter, and I figure I’ll be a good citizen and just fly when I’m far from others, which I often am. I’m good with the trade-off.
Yeah, I'm a little late to the party.
|Petrified sandstone detail, Gold Butte National Monument NV|
The small print: for recreational flights the aircraft itself needs to be registered and there’s a short, quick safety quiz to take. I did all that and found it quick and painless. It’s also important to be well-informed about where flight is allowed, and there are apps for that. Now I’m working on certification as a commercial drone pilot. The FAA “Drone Zone” website lays all that out clearly in case you’re interested.
|Sunrise clouds, Gold Butte National Monument NV|
We’d planned to explore Gold Butte National Monument, not thinking of flying there, but it turned out to be a great place to learn. Most of the time there was no one around, and it’s a spectacular place.
|Sun star over Gold Butte National Monument NV|
The very first time I put the aircraft up, I stumbled on a sun star. I took that as a small omen. I was giggling like a schoolkid, and flight was easier than I expected. Even I can do it.
|There I am for scale, Gold Butte National Monument NV|
Folks call them “tall tripods,” great for adjusting composition so things don’t overlap unattractively (an issue nicknamed “bad mergers”). There’s also the unique opportunity to show an overview of the area, “the establishing shot”. Using myself for scale is pretty cool, too.
|Reflections in the tinajas, Gold Butte National Monument NV|
I found that there’s a different mindset for aerial images and that I’m best off not switching back and forth with standing-on-the-ground image making. There was some spectacular opportunity to do that too.
For now I’m coming up with lots of ideas about flying private property near home, fall color forest shots, and a new take on lots of favorite locations.
More images from Gold Butte are in the Winter 22-23 Gallery on the website.