Here are a few of my pictures that went ‘viral’ in 2016.
Provence, the summer haircut
I wanted to take some nice aerial photos of the famous lavender fields of Valensole last summer. The wind was awful as often is in this part of the world. I had just bought my Phantom 4, it was literally its first flight.
We had been driving through the fields all day looking for nice compositions. This is such a beautiful area. Very popular with chinese tourists 😉
At some point, I noticed the harvester truck starting bang on the middle of a field. I thought that could do for a nice composition. Got the drone out, flew it for a few minutes, but the wind was blowing so hard, the drone was struggling to come back to me. In my hurry, I had left it in beginner’s mode, which meant really slow movement. The battery was getting low so I basically ended up having to walk to the drone myself. After that short scare I didn’t think much of the picture. It’s only after I released, I was blown away by the reception, hundreds of likes, comments, shares, pick of the day on National Geographic, got calls from agencies who wanted to sell the images… It got published in a lot of magazines and websites over the world and I’m still getting requests for prints to this day.
Sigiriya – The Lion Rock
Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. Dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion.
I couldn’t find any picture of it from a drone perspective, so I thought this could be a great opportunity to be the first to do it. I decided to go there early to catch the first light. We drove through the surrounding jungle so I could position myself on the right side of the rock. The jungle was really thick and it proved difficult to find a spot from where I could take off and not crash into the trees. As soon as we did find a spot, a tribe of monkeys started to surround us. They were really intrigued and started making quite a lot of noise. They stayed near us the entire time, which didn’t help my concentration! The light morning was perfect, and the small cloud on the left added to the composition. Then it’s all about editing the picture to give it vibrant colours and make it look sharp.
This was my first drone picture that went viral. It was featured in DJI’s book ‘above the world’, got massively shared online and is going to be published in National Geographic magazine in April 2017. It was one of the best drone image of 2016 according to Dronestagram.
They are possibly the most photographed villages in the world and for good reason. Cinque Terre are 5 villages on the Italian coast of Liguria. They were built on dramatic cliffs by the sea, and all feature stunningly beautiful colours.
A photographer’s paradise. However, it is from the air that they truly reveal their beauty. I went there in March 2016 to avoid the crowds. The weather was perfect and the resulting images got published in The Times magazine, Business Insider called Vernazza Sunset the best drone picture they saw this year and was also selected as the best drone image of 2016, making me the only photographer with 2 pictures in the top 20.
Although they look naturally beautiful, they were extremely complex to edit to get true colours and get rid of the distortion effects prevalent in drone images. You can view more of my work on Cinque Terre here, including the video I made.