Aerial photography of Davao from a chopper © Jojie Alcantara
“Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.”— Socrates
When I was actively doing aerial photography for establishments, it was normal to hire a pilot, a plane or chopper, and a photographer by the hour to shoot a good view from the top.
With technology in the upswing, the traditional aerial photographers are slowly being taken over by drones, where you can spend less in manpower, fuel cost, and a licensed pilot. Plus you get the results straight away in stills and video.
Drones are able to capture panoramic scenes at a lower altitude where vehicles like a helicopter or a Cessna could not. I could not even ask the pilot to turn back repeatedly, so every shot was calculated and anticipated. Failure to shoot well was a costly mistake.
While we now invest in these new high tech gears, and eventually I need to master the intricacies of maneuvering the small craft, there is nothing like the old ways of capturing images from my own eyes, to feel the wind in my hair, to take a risk at the changing weather, and to rise above the skies and feel immortal for a moment.
Without boarding a chopper, I would not have seen the fuming ashes spewing up close from the mouth of the crater of Mayon Volcano during an alert level, nor would I have witnessed a spectacular view of the rainbow on the other side of the crater, back in 2010.
By then, my image on the cover of Mabuhay Magazine would have been captured by a mechanical gadget, and not by dear old me hanging on for dear life in an open aircraft, dangerously inhaling deadly fumes.
This year alone I rode in a chopper three times over Davao region (see top photo and below). Will post more aerial shots in my next blogs.