Friday, May 27, 2022

 

Distant


For my last image of this series, I went to where the Dallas North Tollway and Bordeaux Avenue intersect. My goal was to capture cars moving on the tollway with the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in the background. The challenge with it was the shaking bridge. Every time someone drove over it or a big truck underneath it, it would shake, ruining my image. After 155 tries, this is the result. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

 

Traffic


After taking Wednesday's image, I was nearing the first warning telling me to land the drone before the battery died, and this was my last battery. I looked down and found myself over the intersection of Interstate 35 and Freeway 366. I knew I didn't have much time left, and unfortunately, there wasn't much traffic. Regardless, I took the image, and after editing it, I like how desolate the piece looks. There isn't too much action, and the lone stopped car, I believe, is the highlight of the image. Without seeing that still object, I think there wouldn't be anything that catches your eye.

Monday, May 23, 2022

 

Shining


As I continued on battery number three, the sun set, and the city lights started to turn on. I flew to where I took the first photo of this series and took a long-exposure image of downtown. I liked the picture but felt it was flat and didn't give off much emotion. Utilizing a preset in Lightroom, I added a vintage filter, increased the grain, and increased the brightness of the buildings to make them stand out. Now, this image has become one of my favorites.

Friday, May 20, 2022

 

The City


As I continued my flight around the buildings, the sun was constantly in my way. I hoped it would have set enough for me to take images with ease, but I started photographing too early for that. To compensate, I flew behind the Comerica Bank Tower, but even then, the sun kept peaking around and almost ruined my shot. Another reason why I like this angle is because there is a direct line to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. When I first look at this image, the buildings in the foreground stand out, but after looking around, it is a fun surprise to see the bridge. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

 

Lines


When I first arrived in downtown, I had hopes to fly through the buildings and make some videos. I soon realized that the radiowaves from Wifi, TVs, and radios created a much weaker connection to the drone than I thought. This meant that the drone lost signal as soon as I was behind one building. The first time this happened, there was quite a bit of panic and fear of losing the drone, but after four times, I felt like a seasoned veteran. Unfortunately, the signal was too weak to weave in and out of buildings, but I captured this image of the places I hoped to fly.

Monday, May 16, 2022

 

Sunset


As the school year is wrapping up and I finally have more free time, I decided to use it to take images! On this first excursion, I ventured to three spots in downtown Dallas. Surprisingly, there are few drone restrictions. Due to Love Field, sometimes I have to fly below 150 meters, but for most the most part, I can fly as high as I want. For this image, I captured the skyline along with Freeway 366. I then threw the picture into Photoshop and Lightroom, and added a filter creating a blue and almost vintage look.

Friday, March 25, 2022

 

Bluebird Skies


For my final image of this series, I specifically chose this one as I think it is my favorite. It starts with the grainy and fuzziness of the Instax camera. The image is not as clear, but I like that style. Next, the skiers going down the slopes help lead the viewer's eye to the background, where a slightly overexposed mountain lies. Unfortunately, with the Instax camera, I cannot control the shutter speed, aperture, or any of my typical settings. It makes the images different than what I would like, but again, sometimes the worse-looking image gives off a better message.

Monday, March 21, 2022

New Roads


Going back to the flight on my first day, where decreasing the drone's altitude was a struggle, I managed to take this image on my way down. I wanted to emulate one of the images I took last year in the mountains. To change it up this time, I found a spot where trees surrounded not one but two roads made from snow. What I found fascinating about these roads is that someone has to go out and remake them every time it snows. While I did not walk on this one, I did on a similar road. Let me warn you though make sure you walk in the middle of the path and not on the side unless you want to sink to your knees in snow.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Hues


After a fun day of skiing, I again went on another adventure. This time, dinner was a little later, which allowed me to explore later into the evening. Around 5:20, the sun set behind the mountains and started to change the colors of the sky. The unedited version of this image is not nearly as interesting as this one, but the filter trick again changes this image for the better. It adds the pink and blue-ish hues and darkens the whites on the mountains. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

 



Sundown


I continued experimenting with the Instax camera by taking a few landscape images. For this piece, I wanted to capture as much of the mountainside as I could, inspiring me to take a quadriptych (or a series of four images). Unfortunately, this website does not like pictures as wide as  I originally made this piece. I had to crop the image in half then position them as close together as possible. 

As for the Instax camera, it does not have a tripod mount, meaning each piece I take is handheld. I often take images handheld, but for something like this, where it would be helpful to move the camera a set amount, it was difficult to align and connect the images. It worked out, and I like having a little bit of overlap. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Tetons

Countless times I had heard of the Teton Mountains, whether it was in Youtube videos or from pictures that I saw online somewhere. There is something different about these mountains from the Rockies. Maybe it is that they rise from almost flat prairie land or that this was a celebration trip for finishing my college applications, but something made these mountains special. Unfortunately, my extent of exploring the Tetons was limited by how far my legs could take me. In the future, I would love to go back and explore the surrounding area, including Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

Monday, March 07, 2022

 

Preparing


On our second day, I decided to continue adventuring by riding the aerial tram up to the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, I might have chosen the absolute worst day to explore the summit. This image makes the weather seem calm, but I took it between gusts. The temperature was 16 degrees (I read that on the display they had), and I estimate that the winds were upwards of 50 miles per hour. My mask ended up freezing to itself, and at one point, I grabbed onto the snowcat in fear of being blown off the mountain. Even one Instax image froze and created this green pattern that ruined the image. All of this occurred over ten minutes, and the next thing I knew, I was taking another tram back down the mountain. 

Friday, March 04, 2022

Emotion


As my adventure continued, the clouds became more and more dramatic. I wanted to find a way that emphasized the clouds while showing my location. This is the original image (along with some edits), but I considered cropping out the houses on the bottom. I chose to keep them in to add another layer and show perspective, and I think they play well with the filter. Recently, I have been utilizing Adobe Lightroom's Presets, which allows me to select from already made filters. This specific filter turned the image black and white while adding a brownish tone. The filters simplify the editing process while creating a more fascinating image.

Monday, February 28, 2022

 

Into the Clouds


On this adventure, I brought along a new tool, well, a new tool for me. My new weapon of choice is an Instax Mini 26. I found it in my sister's room, thought it would look cool, and added it to my arrangement of photography devices. I have to say, sometimes the old feel on the images looks better than a perfectly crisp image. The colors are muted and slightly desaturated, the focus is not the clearest, and the overall hues are different than those I saw while taking the image. Of course, while it may not capture the moment as I expected, this Instax camera will definitely stay in my toolbox.

Friday, February 25, 2022

 

Emptiness


I captured this image before all the events I describes in my last post. At just under 400 feet, the straightness of the sole road that led to town fascinated me. I like the contrast between the two sides, one side with scattered trees and the other with smooth snow. The clouds provided an interesting touch as they streak diagonally across the image. I wish the mountains in the background were larger and you could see them more clearly, but that would take away from the emptiness of the land. I guess every image cannot be perfect.

Monday, February 21, 2022

 

Teton Village


After finishing the college writing process, I took an adventure to Teton Village, Wyoming. Not even five minutes after my dad and I arrived at the hotel, I took my first adventure. The views from the ground were incredible, but the views from above were outstanding. On my first flight, everything was normal as I flew up to 394 feet (specific, but it is the maximum within city limits), but when I tried to come down, it barely descended. Fortunately, it was slowly drifting down at two miles per hour, and I had enough battery life that it floated to the ground instead of falling, but for multiple minutes I was thinking about where the best spot for it to crash down to Earth.

Monday, February 07, 2022

 

0309


Continuing from Monday's description, this house stood out to me after a recent drive. The pink glow of Dallas reflecting on the low clouds, bright white porch light, and a large number of trees all combine into a dark and fascinating piece. When describing images like these, I try to keep my commentary basic. I prefer to let the viewer interpret the image as they please instead of self-imposing characteristics that someone might disagree with.

Friday, February 04, 2022

 

0359


Taking pictures of suburban America is a fun and slow process. After sunset, I drive slowly around various neighborhoods, and when I find a house that appears different than others, I snap an image. When editing, I do not have criteria for exactly what I want to see, but I want something unique and mysterious. In this image, it is the leaf-less trees in front of the houses. They split the photo into numerous pieces, and create a chaotic aspect to the image.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Heading Home


Welcome to 2022! After taking a nice break to recharge, I am back to capturing images. For this next series, I am capturing how suburban America has changed due to humans. I took this image to highlight people coming home from work. I combined multiple drone images of a road cutting through trees into one to add more streaks of light to the piece. While the combination process may seem simple, it is more complicated than one thinks. You can even see where I messed up in the bottom right, as one car is driving just slightly off the road. I tried multiple times to fix it, but this was the best I could do.

Friday, December 17, 2021

 

Colors


I specifically saved this image as the last one published from Trinity Groves. It was one of the sharper images and captured the color from the city lights in great depth. There is even a slight glow just above the skyline, which I believe adds to the image. But, most importantly, this shot highlights the car's lights and waving flag. I am still amazed how the drone remains still while taking long-exposure images, but whatever magic it uses, I greatly enjoy it. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

 

Dallas


I continued my flight by pushing the limits of my connection. I flew past the bridge and to the far side of the Trinity River. When flying, I can see five bars of connection. Five bars is the best, and one bar automatically triggers a return to home sequence. While taking this image, I was at two bars. The distance each bar reaches, and how far the drone can fly, varies depending on the terrain. For instance, in Colorado, where there were no buildings and signal interference, I flew over a mile away and still had four bars. While in Dallas, I flew a fifth of a mile and had one bar.

Monday, December 13, 2021

 

Crossroads


After switching the battery, I flew a little to the north and west to capture the entirety of downtown Dallas, including Reunion Tower. When editing, I wanted to magnify the glow that came above downtown. To accomplish this, I increased the amount of grain in the image. I don't often do this because I like my images to be crisp and clear, but recently I have been experimenting with this technique. It works in images like these because it increases the glow, but for regular images taken during the day, it is not effective.

Friday, December 10, 2021

 

Interstates


The next image I wanted to post is this one. I flew past the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and set my position again. One of the problems I often have flying in the city is medical helicopters. During this session, a PHI Medical helicopter was flying to a local hospital at 1,100 feet (I know this because the DJI drone app provides their flying height, and I have another app that provides flight information of all aircraft). I was flying at 385 feet, and while it was over the 100-foot buffer the FAA requires, I still wanted to be extra safe and flew down to 150-feet. But, the helicopter eventually flew over, and I was able to capture this image.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

 

Home


The next spot I wanted to fly during the night was Trinity Groves. If you scroll down far enough, you can see that I have now been there three times. I went once with my camera during the night, once with my drone during the February snowstorm, and this time with my drone during the night. I think I have exhausted all possible pictures from here! I had been planning my trip here for multiple days, but the wind was too strong for images like these. Even when I took these images, you can tell by the flag how strong the wind was, but, after searching through two hundred pictures, there were enough clear images to post.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Chaos


For my final drone battery of this night, I ventured over to a nearby mall and took a few images from above. I was hoping to capture the entire mall and its multiple parking lots, but the mall was much bigger than expected, and I did not want to fly that high and risk fines. So, I stuck with one parking lot, the main one. When I flew over and was preparing to take these images, I was surprised by how little activity there was. I imagined seeing around ten cars moving, but there was much less traffic than expected, quite surprising for a Friday during the holiday season.