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The Road to Shangri-La
Ring of Ice
High and Dry
Mas Auga Por Favor
Ciudad de la Muerte
Rice in the Sky
Scenes from the Land of The Long White Cloud
Stone and Sky
Hong Kong Time
I just finished this short video of my recent trip through southern China. It was a gradual climb from Kunming to Shangri-La in China's eastern Himalayan mountains at the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The journey was by plane, train, bus, car, cable car and a lot on foot through some of China's most beautiful scenery.
It's time once again for my annual "Highlights" film. I'm about 2 years, 33 countries and six continents into this long voyage. This year, I traveled to 17 countries (some more than once). I hit 5 continents: Asia, North America, South America, Europe and Africa. In the last few days I've been searching through over 5000 video scenes from the journey to make a compilation of my year's work. For continuity reasons, and to keep the video short and watchable, I have not used scenes from each of the 17 countries. I didn't even use footage from each continent, sorry North America, you didn't make the cut this year. Hope you enjoy the video.
Happy New Year!
I spent a week and a half doing a circumnavigation of Iceland on the Ring Road. I actually spent a lot of time off the Ring Road in remote back corners of the Island. Here is a short video of some of the things I encountered.
I'm just wrapping up a month long trip through Uganda. I spent the bulk of the trip on the western edge of the country, frequently within spitting distance of the Congo. As a matter of fact, the Hippos in one of the scenes are actually in the Congo, not Uganda. This is the first African video I’ve done that doesn’t have a single big cat in it. I sort of got skunked in that department. I only saw one Leopard, and at such a long distance it was barely visible even with a 600mm lens. I also saw only a single Lion. It was a cub laying in the grass and not doing anything particularly interesting. All other attempts to find big cats were unsuccessful. I did, however, get lots of excellent Chimps and Rhinos. And there were quite a few good scenic opportunities and more birds than I really wanted to film. So while the month here in Uganda didn’t give me quite the quantity of scenes I was hoping for, I did get some nice quality scenes.
I filmed this in the Peruvian Amazon a few hours downriver from Iquitos and the Ecuadoran Amazon a few hours downstream from Coca. Both locations are fairly remote and involved quite a bit of canoe time and hiking to get to the locations. While there are lots of large animals in both areas, you rarely get to see much more than a glimpse of them because of the thick jungle. The real highlights in heavy rainforest like this is the jungle itself and the tiny things that occupy it.
I wound up staying in Peru a bit longer than I originally planned. There’s a lot to see in Peru and I spent quite some time in both high elevation locations and low elevation amazon jungle. I decided that for this video I would concentrate on the high elevation locations so it’s all from the Andes. It has footage from Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Machu Picchu and the Cordillera Blanca.
The Atacama desert is the driest desert in the world. It is located at a very high altitude at the base of the Andes in Northern Chile. It is the home of herds of wild Vicuñas and the salty lagoons of Salto Atacama host flocks of Flamingos. The desert is surrounded by towering volcanos and in the upper altitudes you can find the Tatio Geyser field, the third largest in the world and the world’s highest. At the high altitudes is a contradictory mix of steam and frigid temperatures. The Atacama is home to several Astronomical observatories due to its high altitude (less atmosphere to look through) and dry air (less moisture in the air to distort the view).
I recently spent a week at Iguaçu Falls on the Argentina/Brazil border. Most of my time was on the Argentine side in Iguazu National Park, but my last couple days were on the Brazil side at Iguacu National Park. Iguazu Falls is the most impressive cataract in the world. My favorite prior to visiting Iguazu was Victoria Falls on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. But Iguazu definitely has Vicky beat on all counts. This short film has scenes from both the Argentine and Brazilian sides of the falls plus a little bit of wildlife from the Parks.
Of all the marvelous sights that Buenos Aires has to offer, Cemetaria de la Recoleta is consistently rated as a top attraction for tourists. I spent two days there filming and shooting stills under differing light and conditions. The Cemetaria de la Recoleta is known as “The City of the Dead” because of it’s orderly arrangement of mausoleums along the “streets” of the cemetery. So I’ve named this little video “Ciudad de la Murete”. Since Buenos Aires is the Tango capital of the world, I decided to that Kevin MacLeod’s “Tango de Manzana” (Tango of the Apple) would be a perfect musical accompaniment.
Here is a little video of my footage from the Angkor Wat archeological sites near Siem Reap, Cambodia. This is my third trip to Angkor Wat. The first two times I was concentrating on still photography. This time I did quite a bit of 4K video as well.
This video is quite different than the last one I posted. Both are archeological sites, but whereas Burma Sky was almost all aerial, this one is mostly from the ground level. There is only one aerial scene which I managed to capture before the authorities shut me down. Flying a drone is apparently not allowed anywhere in the archeological zones. One of the other things that's different with this footage is that almost all of it was filmed with a DJI Osmo gimbal stabilized camera. This was my first major test of the system and it worked very well. It does a great job when panning or tilting, but is still difficult to use when walking. It's a much better "tripod eliminator" than I was expecting, but not quite as good at replacing a slider, dolly or jib as I hoped. So I would up concentrating on the types of scenes that it handles well and consequently, this video has lots of moves that are hard to do with other camera systems.
Here’s my end of year video. It’s a compilation of scenes from my 2015 travels. During the year I visited 16 countries on 5 continents over an 11 month period. This video doesn’t have scenes from every place I filmed, but it does have something from most of them. It was difficult to pick scenes for the video because I had a very productive year. I had literally thousands of good scenes to choose from, but only space for a little over 130 of them in a very fast paced production. I hope you enjoy this trip around the world with me.
Another 100% Aerial video filmed with my DJI Inspire 1. I spent a day in the highlands of central Bali filming Rice Terraces. Since Rice needs a shallow water filled paddy to get started, in hilly areas you have to carve the hillside into terraces. This makes the terrain difficult to film from the ground, but a very interesting locale from the air. Rice crops are staggered in Bali, so this video contains everything from fallow fields, newly plowed land, freshly planted paddies, green fields and golden rice ready to harvest. Bali has two seasons. One is hot and wet, the other is hotter and wetter. I'm currently here in the latter, so it's not a great time to be filming weather wise, but I lucked out with a great day that had some blue sky and fluffy clouds.
This is a compilation of the four New Zealand Themes. Nothing new, but now it's all merged into one film. I'm officially finished with my New Zealand footage But I'm pretty sure that I will do a slide show in the form of a video from stills that I shot there.
This is the last segment of New Zealand footage. The previous video (Going Coastal) was the longest segment and this one is the shortest. The theme for this one is "Hot Stuff". There is much geothermal activity in New Zealand, especially on the North Island around Rotorua. It's a veritable hotbed of geothermal activity (sorry, couldn't resist that one). There are numerous hot springs, bubbling pools, and geysers. My favorite were the mud geysers.
Here's the third short film in my New Zealand series. This week, I'm still on a "water" theme, but instead of streams and lakes and waterfalls, we're Going Coastal. Scenes in this film are from the gorgeous coastlines of both the North and South Islands. There's quite a lot of aerial footage filmed with my DJI Inspire. As a matter of fact, the entire opening sequence is aerial from Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula on the North Island and the closing sequence is from the Pancake Rocks on the South Island. So nearly half of the film is aerial this week.
This episode of my New Zealand series of short films is a water theme. It's all about rivers, streams and waterfalls. It's a mix of scenes for the North Island and the South Island. About 20% of the scenes are aerials filmed with my DJI Inspire.
OK, it's showtime again. I've been busy filming for over 2 months in New Zealand and now I'm hanging out in Bangkok for a month to work on postproduction and organization. This little video is the first of several that I will do with footage from the New Zealand trip. The theme of this episode is Mountains. New Zealand has spectacular mountain scenery. Most of it is from the South Island in the Southern Alps, but there are a few scenes from the North Island too. There are several scenes that I filmed from the air with my DJI Inspire Quadcopter. There are a couple time lapse scenes, a few still photos and yes, even some sheep in the mix! Hope you enjoy it.
Here is a short sample of some of the Scenic and Bear footage from last week's SE Alaska trip. Though the trip wasn't much of a success for Brown Bears, I did quite well with the Black Bears at Anan Creek near Wrangell. There is a tiny bit of aerial footage in the video, but it was not made with my Quadcopter. It is from a float plane. There's some footage from the ferries that I took from Ketchikan to Wrangell and from Wrangell to Juneau. There's also some footage from the small fast boats that I took to Anan Creek and to Le Conte Glacier. The glacier was difficult to film because it was a very gray soggy day, but in some scenes, that actually makes the blue glacial ice bergs seem to glow against the monochromatic background.
This is the second video offering from my recent Southwestern Deserts and Canyons trip. The first one was all aerial footage. This one is all terrestrially based. It includes some of the same locations that I filmed from the air, but also some places that you can't fly such as US National Parks (not drone friendly), and places that would be impractical such as the slot canyons in Arizona (Antelope Canyon and Cathedral Canyon)
I finished my Southwest Canyons and Deserts trip a few days ago and this short video is the first production to come of it. It's 100% aerial footage. I did a lot of flying with my DJI Inspire for the first time since I had radio issues with it in Africa. After 6 weeks at DJI, it was returned to me with much better range. Before, I was only getting about 100 meters out before I was encountering weak signal warnings. It's all better now and I did a number of flights that were over 1km out!
This is the second of my three little India videos. In this episode, I'm cloud bound high in the Himalayas on the border between India and Nepal. Actually, quite a bit of this was filmed in Nepal, but India was just on the other side of the trail. Since I was besieged by clouds that left me in a whiteout for a few days, the only option I had was to shoot some Time Lapse scenes of the clouds flowing up the valleys below and over the ridge tops. This part of the world looks remarkably like my home turn in the Oregon Cascade Mountains. Just a little bit higher. Much of this was filmed at an altitude that would be about 1000 ft above the summit of the tallest mountain in Oregon. In the end, I did finally have a couple hours of clear skies in Darjeeling and was able to see the section of the Himalayas I had come to view. The tallest of the mountains in those scenes is called Kangchenjunga, and is the third highest mountain in the world (behind Everest and K2).
This is the first of a trio of videos from my recent transit of India. During my visit, I stopped in Varanasi for a couple days. The Ganga River (Ganges for westerners), India's most sacred river, flows past Varanasi and is a pilgrimage destination for Hindus. They come to bathe in the Ganga, and they also come, if they can manage it, at the end of their life to have their ashes spread on the waters. A series of stone steps, called Ghats, line the river frontage and early every morning crowds come to pray and bathe in the sacred waters.
I have finished the European portion of my current journey and am now in Tanzania. I'm about to begin the Safari portion of the trip but since I have a brief interlude in my travels, I decided to upload a short video of the European portion. This film consists of footage from Vienna, Budapest, Zagreb, Venice and Sorrento. Most of the footage is aerial, hence the title. It was not possible to fly in each of the places that I have visited so far, usually for weather reasons. But I did manage to get a few flights in places that I didn't think I would be able to. Who would expect clear skies in February in some of the locales.
The aerial footage was all captured in 4K with a DJI Inspire Quadcopter that is traveling around the world with me. Since much of the footage in this film is within cities where you can't really fly very far from your point of origin, there are lots of "elevator shots". Now that I am in the vast Savannahs of East Africa, hopefully I will be able to "stretch my wings" a bit more.
I just finished a 2 week trip through China visiting Hangzhou, Shenzhen and culminating in Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong, I had really nice blue skies and puffy white clouds, perfect weather for Time Lapse! Since I wanted to field test a new Time Lapse App for iOS that controls RED Digital Cinema cameras, this was a perfect opportunity. All of the scenes in this brief video were shot on my RED and the time lapse was controlled with my RedLapse App on my iPhone.
Incidentally, RedLapse has been approved by Apple and is now available on the iTunes App Store for all of you RED Time Lapse shooters out there:
Unlike great rivers that end in a Delta when they meet the sea, the mighty Kavango river flowing out of Angola's interior ends in the Okavango Delta where the waters disappear into the sands of the Kalahari Desert.
The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world and consists of hundreds of square miles of marshland and crisscrossed by narrow channels forming a Sea of Papyrus. This little video, all shot with a GoPro Hero3, is a two day trip deep into the Okavango Delta in Mokoro dugout canoes.