Drones, Landscape Photography, and Holidays

Relax, I’m on Holiday

When I go on holiday with my family, I really try and forget about landscape photography for a bit.  But, the trouble with being a landscape photographer is that your brain is wired a particular way.  For example, it is literally impossible for me to watch a nice sunset without a part of me wishing I was photographing it. 

Fortunately for me, my desire to get up really in the morning diminishes when I'm on holiday, and a cheeky glass of wine in the afternoon means that I can't just jump into the car and head out to take pictures.  But this does mean that I do actually enjoy my holiday, relax and have fun with my family.

Talking about balancing photography and family, there is a very good article on Nature TTL’s website called The Delicate Balance of Photography and Family Life, which is well worth a read.

Always Have One Eye on the Weather

Another odd by-product of being a landscape photographer is that I like to check the weather forecast.  A lot.  And in detail.  Even though I was on holiday, and I had no plans to take any landscape photographs, I couldn’t help but to check the weather forecast on my favourite website yr.no.  As I drank a glass one evening I checked the weather forecast for the next day and noticed something interesting.

The weather that caught my interest was the possibility of mist or fog.  How did I know that there was a chance of mist?  After reading the excellent book From Dawn to Dusk - Mastering the Light in Landscape Photography I had learned that mist can occur when the outside air temperature is close to the dew point, and wind speed is very low.  These were the very conditions that were forecast for the next day. 

However, even with such interesting conditions forecast, I didn't really have the motivation to get up, go out and find something to shoot early the next morning.  I was in full holiday mode.

Misty Mornings

When I woke up the next morning and looked out the window, all I could see was mist.  This was all very exciting but it was all a bit late to go anywhere.  I was just about to get the coffee on the go when I had a bright idea.  What did the landscape look like from above?  Well, that's an easy question to answer when you have a drone.

With the coffee brewing away I sent the drone up into the air, just a few feet from my door.  Though forward visibility wasn't great, vertical visibility was a lot better and I could clearly see the drone just above me.  After a short ascent, I could see mist covering the landscape.  It looked amazing!  I just knew there was a photograph to be had from my elevated viewpoint.  There was just a little too much mist at this point to make an interesting photography, so I brought the drone down and had a coffee.

A short while later I sent the drone back up and captured this image:

Trees in the Dawn Mist - DJI Mavic Pro, 1/1000th sec at f/2.2, ISO 100, 6 image stich cropped at 6:17.

The Perfect Camera for the Landscape Photographer on Holiday

I don't capture a lot of still images with the drone but that's twice now that I've used it to capture a landscape image on holiday (you can see the first one here).  I've now come to two conclusions.  Firstly, the drone really is a great addition to my landscape photography kit bag.  There is no practical way I could have captured that image without the drone.  That little bit of elevation the drone gave me opened up a whole new view on the landscape allowing me to capture an image which showed how the mist was covering the landscape.

The other conclusion I came to was that I think the drone may be the perfect camera for the landscape photographer on holiday.  Why?  Well, it allows you to take photographs without even leaving the comfort of your holiday home!  I don't need to sneak off early in the morning or stay sober past 4 pm.  Even the kids find it interesting.  As long as I'm in a location where it's possible to fly and there is a composition to be made, I can scratch that landscape photography itch. 

I know some photographers do manage to indulge their passion for landscape photography while on holiday, but I find it rather tricky, and would actually prefer not to spend large amounts of my holiday time out taking photos.  This is why the drone is so useful.  It's fun, accessible, doesn't require me to go out for hours, and I can do it from wherever I'm staying.

Do you separate yourself from photography while on holiday?  Do you take landscape photographs with a drone?  Let me know in the comments below.

Bonus Video

I also captured a 360-degree video of the misty landscape.  Enjoy!