drones

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Art Photography

Glowing Geometric Light Paintings Dance Above Sparse Landscapes in Reuben Wu's Audiovisual Works

April 26, 2021

Grace Ebert

Paired with static, beeps, and soft melodic sequences, a series of glowing geometric shapes by Reuben Wu (previously) appear to emerge from the air in his new project, EX STASIS. Created in his signature otherworldly style, the Chicago-based photographer draws on both his Lux Noctis and Aeroglyph series, which use a combination of drones and light painting, to illuminate the rugged topographies with rings, tubes, and dots that spin and contort in hypnotic motion.

For EX STASIS, Wu programmed a stick of 200 LED lights to shift in color and shape above the calm landscapes. He captured the mesmerizing movements in-camera, and through a combination of stills, timelapse, and real-time footage, produced four audiovisual works that juxtapose the natural scenery with the artificially produced light and electronic sounds. “As it gets dark, my surroundings cease to be an exterior experience and become a subliminal space, and that’s when I feel most connected and aware of my sense of being,” Wu says. “This dynamic terrestrial chiaroscuro synchronizes with my sound design and music to form singular looping pieces.”

Find more of the photographer’s light-focused works on Instagram, Twitter, and Behance.

 

A still from “EX STASIS I”

A still from “EX STASIS III”

A still from “EX STASIS II”

A still from “EX STASIS IV”

 

 



Photography

Right Up Our Alley: Striking Drone Footage Flies Through Minneapolis's Bryant Lake Bowl

March 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

After splitting from the nighttime cityscape, a drone descends into Bryant Lake Bowl in a fast-paced clip that rolls through the classic Minneapolis venue. The camera-strapped device trails a ball as it barrels down the lane and then winds past the gutters and into the bar and theater, picking up competitive banter and diving in the otherwise-unseen abyss that is the ball pit. Taken by Jay Christensen of Rally Studios, the footage is evidence of both how far technology has advanced in recent years and the adept piloting skills required to capture such a striking ode to the beloved alley and the game itself. (via Kottke)

 

 

 



Art Photography

Geometric Drone Paths Illuminate the Otherworldly Landscapes of the Southwest in Photos by Reuben Wu

November 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Reuben Wu, shared with permission

During recent years, Chicago-based photographer Reuben Wu has visited quiet regions in Bolivia, Nevada’s SolarReserve, and the rivers of molten sulfur flowing in Indonesian volcanoes to capture the natural grandeur of the earth’s outmost layer. In each location, Wu highlights the land’s beauty by juxtaposing the organic features with artificial light cast by drones flying overhead. The resulting images, of which Wu boasts a rich and diverse collection, employ illuminated geometric shapes to spotlight individual features.

Wu’s most recent series, titled Light Storm, brought him to the rocky landscapes of Utah and New Mexico—the photographer doesn’t disclose specifics due to the fragility of the environment. Here, the hovering instruments brighten the stripes and crevices embedded within the stone formations. Like his 2018 series that detailed the melting Pastoruri Glacier in Peru, Light Storm plays a similar role. “I felt like it was an attempt to document and preserve the memory of a landscape in peril,” he shares with Colossal.

Adamant about leaving no trace on the locales he visits, Wu’s process allows him to maintain a distance from his rugged subject matter while creating the conditions necessary for such precise shots. He explains:

Instead of the old photographers’ adage of waiting for the right moment, I’m literally creating it from my position behind the camera. It also allows me to have more creative ownership over a photograph of a landscape. Something I’ve been struggling with as a photographer/artist is the idea that a beautiful landscape is doing all the work for me, so this was an opportunity to finally have more artistic control.

Overall, Wu writes, “the project is about presenting familiar sights in a new and unfamiliar light, renewing your sense of seeing and the experience of discovery.” Prints of his topographical images are available in his shop, and you can find more of his work on Instagram, Twitter, and Behance.

 

 

 



Photography

A Shark Swimming in a Heart-Shaped School of Salmon Tops 2020 Drone Photography Contest

September 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Love Heart of Nature” by Jim Picôt. “In winter, a shark is inside a salmon school when, chasing the baitfish, the shape became a heart shape.” All images © the photographers, courtesy of 2020 Drone Awards, shared with permission

The 2020 Drone Photography Awards garnered an arresting collection of aerial shots, and among its winners is a serendipitous image of a heart-shaped school of salmon. Captured by Australian photographer Jim Picôt, the piece is particularly special because a shark swims near the center, chasing one of the fish. Other prized shots include heron roosts nestled in the treetops, and a group of swimmers floating between crashing waves.

Hosted by the Siena Awards Festival, the contest received entries from photographers in 126 countries, and an exhibition titled Above Us Only Sky will run October 24 to November 29 in Siena to showcase the top images. Check out some of our favorites below, and dive into all the winning shots on the contest’s site. (via PetaPixel)

 

“Gray Whale Plays Pushing Tourists” by Joseph Cheires. “At the end of the gray whale season, I was told about a gray whale that, for the last 3 years, used to play with the boats, pushing them gently. So we went back the year after and incredibly the gray whale appeared and this shot is the result.”

“Alien Structure on Earth” by Tomasz Kowalski. “Sometimes we need to change the perspective to feel the strength of the structure stronger than we’ve ever thought. The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers, are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur.”

“Where Herons Live”  by Dmitrii Viliunov. “Many think that herons make nests in reeds or in a swamp. In fact, they nest in the tops of huge trees and with a drone it is sometimes possible to see them.”

“On the Sea” by Roberto Corinaldesi. “An aerial view of swimmers, where the sea becomes the place to take refuge, between the blue carpet and the white foam of the waves.”

“Frozen Land” by Alessandra Meniconzi. “With temperatures of minus 30°C, winters in the Eurasian steppe can be brutal. But life doesn’t stop, and local people move from one village to another with a sledge, crossing icy rivers and lakes.”

“Phoenix Rising” by Paul Hoelen. “The phoenix rising is a symbol of re-emergence from the ashes of fire. This is symbolized through the beginnings of an actual regeneration process at the industrial mining site of Lake Owens. After a destructive past and the creation of the most toxic dustbowl in America, migratory birds are returning, and life is beginning anew…”

“Black Flag” by Tomer Appelbaum. “Thousands of Israelis maintain social distancing due to Covid-19 restrictions while protesting against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rabin Square on 19 April 2020.”

 

 



Photography

Take an Eerie Walk Through the Empty Streets of Amsterdam, San Francisco, and New York City

March 31, 2020

Grace Ebert

With one-third of the world’s population currently under some level of quarantine, the streets of major cities like Amsterdam, New York City, and San Francisco are an unusual and unsettling sight. Film director and cinematographer Jean Counet, who shot “Meanwhile in Amsterdam,” shows the capital city almost entirely deserted. Public transit is empty and a four-minute walk reveals less than a dozen passersby.

Counet tells Colossal that “Meanwhile in Amsterdam” came together like any other film, except that “this time there was no director, and no plan,” he says. “We walked through the old city centre of Amsterdam between 8:30 (and) 13:30 which is normally teemed by walking people and bicycles. What we witnessed felt like a dream. Sometimes beautiful and mesmerizing, sometimes scary and worrying.”

In a similarly bizarre look at San Francisco, stop lights cycle from green to red with no cars passing through and businesses are boarded up. One with a psychedelic facade even has signs that read “We will survive” and “We will get by,” a hopeful gesture derived from the city’s musical legends that directly contrasts the nailed plywood covering the windows.

To see how the global pandemic is affecting public life in New York City and Rotterdam, check out the videos below. (via Kottke)

 

 



Photography

Remote Landscapes Illuminated by Geometric Drone Flight Paths in Photographs by Reuben Wu

October 7, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Chicago-based artist Reuben Wu (previously) blurs the lines between photography and art in his unique images. Wu’s work brings him to remote locations around the world to capture rugged landscapes. But rather than focusing on purely documenting local topography, Wu uses lighted drones to create geometric shapes in the air, accenting the natural surroundings. Featured here are images from Wu’s Lux Noctis and Aeroglyphs series, showcasing the artist’s interplay of organic and constructed shapes.

Lux Noctis started as a means to present landscapes in a different way to conventional photography. The use of artificial lighting in a natural landscape came to me at Trona Pinnacles in 2014 when a random truck drove into my time lapse, unexpectedly illuminating the pinnacles in a way that shouldn’t exist,” Wu tells Colossal. “This expanded into the idea of introducing my own look and feel to a landscape using very nuanced aerial lighting. Rather than rely on the sun, and timing, to light my images, I was able to light it myself, like I would in a studio environment.” For his most recent Lux Noctis images, Wu traveled to Bolivia with sponsorship from Phase One, to use the company’s new XT camera platform.

For Aeroglyphs, the artist draws inspiration from the Land Art movement to create interventions without physically touching the earth. Images from the series are currently on view at photo-eye in Santa Fe, New Mexico through November 16, 2019. A catalogue from the show is available for preorder from Kris Graves Projects. Stay up to date with Wu’s new work and travels on Instagram and Facebook.

Wu traveled to Chile to document the eclipse as part of his “Arca Lux” work