Friday, June 17, 2022

 

Lights


As I close out this series, I saved my favorite image for last. After receiving the low battery warning, I slowly lowered the drone in for a landing. I stopped to take this image, which is now a favorite, but hovering to take this image cost me too much battery time. I was at 2%, the drone was losing power, and a moderate wind prevented me from landing where I took off. I quickly scrambled to look for a new landing zone, but the closest one I could find was across a highway. With fifteen seconds left to fly, I quickly located an open parking spot, marked the location, landed, and hoped it was there after I drove over. After a tense car ride and a short fence I hopped over, I found the now out-of-battery drone and safely recovered these images.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

 Centerpiece


One of my favorite experiences while flying the drone is when clouds are at the same level I am taking pictures. It feels unreal to have a camera up that high. I took this image at 1000 feet, with clouds at 1250 feet. There has only been one instance when I have taken an image completely above some clouds (during last Thankgiving's trip to Florida) but seeing landscapes from this angle is always incredible. 

Monday, June 13, 2022

 

Moody


This image is a perfect example of why I add grain. During a humid and warm sunrise, a thick layer of clouds rolled in and blocked my view of the sun. The mood quickly turned gray and gloomy. To increase this feeling, I added grain. The buildings became less clear, the sky bluer, and the overall image darker. 

Thursday, June 09, 2022

Rush Hour

One of my favorite accessories to the drone is the neutral density filters. As I have mentioned before, it darkens the image and adds contrast. For this application, it helps blur the movement of the cars and gives the buildings a more rich color. One of the editing processes I have been experimenting with recently is adding grain. In the past, I have always wanted the sharpest image possible, meaning no grain, but recently I like how the pictures are not perfectly clear. It makes the image feel older, shifting the mood and how the viewer interprets the piece.

Friday, June 03, 2022

 

The Fountain Place


During one of my sunset excursions, I flew the drone over Freeway 366, or Woodall Rogers Freeway. Fortunately, I put on my neutral density filter, which allowed me to blur the motion of the cars on the freeway. The cars ended up moving enough that they were blurred, but not too much that the cars didn't look like cars. Additionally, the neutral density filter adds vibrancy to the colors, which helps the main building, called The Fountain Place, stand out.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

 

Dawn


After going downtown during a moderately interesting sunset, I chose to go down two more times, another sunset and one sunrise. In the past, I have been looking at weather apps to determine what I thought would be a good sunset or not. Recently, I downloaded this app called MySunset. Based on the clouds at the horizon and above it, it rates how good the color will be for the sunset and displays it as a percent. This sunrise was rated as a 80%, but the colors were better than expected. It is a good app and certainly one I will use again.

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.