From a bird’s view: nature drone photography
A lot of people say that technology makes us lose connection with the nature.
Here’s one example of the opposite!
Technology actually can improve our connection to the nature, allowing us to experience the beauty of it in the ways it would not be possible otherwise.
Take drone photography for an example! With that, you can see your own home from a bird’s view; you can see the unique form of that small river that you used to swim in the summer holidays; and you can experience new and fresh look on your everyday life that you could never do otherwise.
We sat down for an exciting conversation with the nature and wildlife photographer Uvis Locmelis from Latvia – one of the greenest countries in the world.
Hi, Uvis! How did you start taking photos of nature with drone?
Well, actually, I bought the drone for fun! I started to experiment here and there on how to use it for nature photos. Then I put the technology in my car, just to have it when I’m driving around. Because of my work I have to drive through nature a lot. The best moments you cannot plan, so I wanted to be ready to capture the best moments of the beautiful nature on the road. Now I can say I am quite good with the drone photography, so people start to come to me. They ask to take air photos of their property, of their town, I have filmed and taken drone photos for weddings as well.
And the second hobby of yours – wild animal photography? Can you tell about it more?
Yes, of course! It’s called animal photo hunt. This is very common hobby to a lot of photographers who love the nature. Instead of hunting wild animals for real, you hunt for a photo of them. The process is quite complicated and requires a lot of dedication, research, knowledge about nature and habits of the wild animals, use of camouflage, sometimes even the daily routine of a specific animal! The wild animals are very cautious, they hear even the tiniest movement. Just a small hand gesture can make a whole gracious deer family to run away from a far distance. It’s very challenging process, but the result, the moment when you finally get the picture you patiently worked for weeks, is enormously rewarding.
What equipment do you use for wildlife and nature photography?
For drone photography – DJI Mavic Pro, together with polarised lens, of course. They have to be bought apart from the drone.
For wildlife photography – I use Pentax K50 with 300-500mm objective. I plan to buy 600mm objective soon.
What is the process of the nature photography like for you?
Oh, pure spontaneity. The nature, you cannot plan it! Yes, you can research the weather forecast, the best spot, plan the specific time when the sun is rising; but the nature always makes corrections in your plan, so you always have to adapt. I have to say that the process reminds me of treasure hunt. Adrenaline may be the same. Will I get a great or not? Tremendously exciting and adventurous. The best photos are the least planned. Lathough I can remember one perfect picture I really planned for months and it turned out to be exactly as I hoped for – a beautiful, foggy early summer sunrise with a small, old church near my hometown.
What photos of nature do you enjoy taking the most?
The moments that show the power of nature. Something that nobody can control. Storms, thunder, rainbows. It reminds me of the unpredictability that only the nature can bring. The moment when the storm is just gone, the nature looks as fresh as it can ever be, the colors are very rich; and you can see a few rays of sun coming through the dark clouds… Wonderful! If I happen to be at a place where I can take great photos, for example, near a field, it’s the best day.
Or the rainbow – just a few minutes, and the sun will be at a different angle and the rainbow will not be so bright or will will be gone! So I have to react quickly. When I get the shot, the feeling is perfect.
Which of your photos, as seen in Canvasway Exclusive fine arts gallery, were your most exciting to take?
Well, there are two specific photos that come in mind. First, the air balloons in Sigulda, one of the most popular cities to visit in Latvia. This photo was taken spontaneously as well! I was driving my car near Sigulda, and suddenly I saw the air balloons floating in the air; so beautiful, but quite far. So I started racing to get closer to them, stopped, and took the drone out. While the drone had risen to the air, just a few air balloons were in sight. Those are the ones that you can see in the picture. It’s a sight that you cannot see every day, so it inspires me for great moment hunting.
The second photo – the island of Aluksne lake. Aluksne is a small town near the border of Estonia, and is surrounded by military territories. I thought that it will be easy to take drone photos there! And then, one restriction after another, until the only place I was able to take photo was this island. In a beautiful lake that is located in the middle of the town. This picture and it’s story, I guess, is the most precise for the word “Exclusive”.
What photos or paintings do you have in your own home?
I like to surround myself with the things that inspire me. That’s why my house is decorated with a special painting and a couple photo canvasses with my photos. The painting is from my wife. It has a nice house painted in the middle of the wood, with bright, warm colors. It’s my dream house I would like to live in one day.
The drone photos on canvas is a huge daily inspiration. Not only I can see views that inspire and make me feel good, but also having my pieces of work in front of me every day motivate me to improve my photography skills, photography technique, and get better as a nature photographer every day.
To be continued! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and see what places in Latvia and Europe Uvis recommends for great nature views (and photos); tips and tricks on how to find them, and some bonus advice for drone photography beginners.