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Jumping into Animas River in Colorado at Bakers Bridge

Jumping into Animas River in Colorado at Bakers Bridge

Jumping off a cliff into a river!

Me and Jessica and the dogs had some free time on a rural land shoot weekend in Navajo Dam, New Mexico, and saw that Durango, Colorado was not that far away. We took the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk up a scenic highway, and kept on going right through Durango finding first a natural hot spring, and then later a crowd gathered around this small bridge. Not until you get up on the bridge do you have any idea the amazing views of the Animas River from it, and you really get a better look at the beauty of this area from the drone’s eye view! The crowd there, however, were mostly to watch people jump off the cliff bank 30+ feet into the Animas River below! It was tricky to time out and capture with the drone, but in the video you can see two people making the plunge!

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Rio Grande Gorge Bridge Taos New Mexico Drone Video Photos

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge Taos New Mexico Drone Video Photos

Experience counts when flying a drone

When I first got my DJI Mavic Pro drone in November 2017, the first place I really flew it was in Taos, New Mexico.  Driving there I had no idea there was a mini-Grand Canyon just on the edge of the town, so to my great surprise was the Rio Grande Gorge revealed to me!  I thought the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge would be a great place to fly the drone, but having such little flying experience and with it being so windy when I visited the bridge, the drone stayed in its case that time.  Fast forward to the present, with dozens of flights of experience, having already flown under the Bixby Bridge, with the weather at near ideal conditions I did not hesitate to fly over the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge this time!

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Bixby Creek Bridge Big Sur California drone photo

Bixby Creek Bridge Big Sur California drone photo

I have already shown you what it is like to fly right under the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, California.  And what the view looks like from beside it.  This, now, is a view from only what a drone can see hovering out over the Pacific Ocean.  I find it a lonelier view without the Sea as the background to the bridge.  Is this what the Sea feels when it looks toward land?  Is the Sea, sad?  

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Fly Under Bixby Bridge in Big Sur 4K Drone Video

Fly Under Bixby Bridge in Big Sur 4K Drone Video

For over a decade (or my whole life?) I daydreamed about driving up the Pacific Coast Highway in California going from Santa Monica, turning right where there is no more Road left, then following the Pacific Ocean all the way up to Monterey, stopping at such famous places as the Bixby Bridge.  Recently I got to fulfill that dream and had my DJI Mavic Pro drone with me.  I got bold, and flew it right under the bridge!

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First Sunrise of 2012 Florida Sunshine Skyway Bridge New Years

First light of dawn on New Year's morning 2012 Sunshine Skyway Bridge - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 10 sec tripod mounted with cable releaseI was just thinking about a week ago how I have no photographs of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, one of the top landmarks in the entire Tampa Bay area.  With New Year's Day 2012 approaching it seemed then a great chance to continue a Japanese custom, watching the first sunrise of the year, while finally photographing the bridge.  I learned from a photographer in Japan that the best morning light is actually way before the actual sunrise.  The above image was taken approximately 49 minutes before sunrise.

Dawn light surrounding the peaks of Sunshine Skyway Bridge - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/16 ISO 200 5 sec tripod mounted with cable releaseDawn photography is similarly easy to night photography.  If you have a stable tripod and a cable release, then it is basically just a matter of choosing the best shutter speed to produce the most vivid color and also of course composing the shot in an interesting way.  With my Nikon D300 mounted on my Induro CT214 carbon fiber tripod, making these shots was no mess, no fuss.  By that I mean the tripod takes away the physicality of holding the DSLR and heavy lens, correcting a shot just means turning one dial for shutter speed, and the act of making the shot itself is just holding the button on the light cable release.  Painless!

The sun first peaks over Sunshine Skyway Bridge St. Petersburg Florida - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/16 ISO 200 1/60th tripod mounted with cable releaseIn the fifteen or so minutes before the actual sunrise the light is already poor, especially compared to the light fifty minutes earlier.  So in that time I did not even bother making any photos.  Thus, it is important to know the exact minute of the sunrise so you can keep an eye on the time because once the good dawn light is gone, all that remains is to photograph the sun itself rising above the horizon.  Once it is above, that is the end of the excitement.

Vivid orange sunrise Sunshine Skyway Bridge Florida - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/16 ISO 200 7-exposure HDR tripod mounted with cable releaseSince the sunrise is well in the distance along the horizon, using a longer lens with a focal length of 200mm is very handy for being able to fill the frame.  The above shot was taken at 200mm (300mm effective focal length).  

Please put links to your New Year's sunrise photographs in the comments below!

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