Photo of the Week – February 12, 2015

Last week, Jasmine (one of our two Hubbard Fellows) and I spent a morning at the Derr Wetland Restoration here in the Platte River Prairies.  We wanted to get some photos and video of the site before the latest snow melted.

…Ok, to be honest, we were mostly hoping to test out the capabilities of our new drone (UAV).  Two of our Nebraska board members, Jim and Nancy Armitage, donated the funds to purchase the drone as a way to help us better capture our sites and the work we’re doing here in the state.  We’re just starting to figure out the potential for drone photography, but I sure like what I see so far!

Here is a short 3 minute video of footage shot from the drone, followed by some still photos from the same morning.  Both the aerial video and still photos provide powerful images, but the video certainly captures the context of the site in a way that’s not possible for me as I walk along the ground with my camera.  I think the drone is going to be an awesome complement to the other ways we photograph and monitor our sites – it’s going to be exciting to keep exploring the possibilities.  Stay tuned for future videos!

Click here to see the video on YouTube.

 

Tracks of a river otter sliding across the ice/snow.  No, I didn't see the otter.  Thanks for asking.
Tracks of a river otter sliding across the ice/snow. No, I didn’t see the otter. Thanks for asking.
Canada goose tracks were all over the site, along with coyote, mink, rabbit, and many others.
Canada goose tracks were all over the site, along with coyote, mink, rabbit, and many others.
Photographing from the surface of the ice provides a neat perspective of the wetland, but a very different one from the drone's aerial view.
Photographing from the surface of the ice provides a neat perspective of the wetland, but a very different one from the drone’s aerial view.
A final ice-level photo.
A final ice-level photo.

16 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – February 12, 2015

  1. elfinelvin February 12, 2015 / 5:04 pm

    Fantastic! I can’t wait to see what you’ll be able to do with this. Cool toy, too. :)

  2. Karen Hamburger February 12, 2015 / 5:21 pm

    I am jealous!!!

  3. Inger Lamb February 12, 2015 / 5:23 pm

    wow, very cool! I can only imagine how much info can be gathered in a short time frame – and sometimes in conditions that it would be very challenging for humans to be onsite. Wonder whether the wildlife will pay much attention? Or might a territorial bird take offence….can envision some hilarious footage involving a crazed red-winged blackbird….

  4. Joanne February 12, 2015 / 5:48 pm

    Beautiful pictures ! And re. the crazed blackbird, have you heard about the owl diving at runners in a park in Salem OR? It is all over the news here in OR –

  5. Jim in IA February 12, 2015 / 9:32 pm

    That’s excellent. It will be a valuable tool for you.

  6. dave in western mn February 12, 2015 / 9:39 pm

    Be sure to have the drone available to get a great perspective during prescribed burns!

  7. James McGee February 12, 2015 / 11:35 pm

    Piloting a drone sounds like much more fun than driving a tractor. That will give your fellows something extra to add to their resumes. They should bring videos they have captured to show off at future interviews.

  8. Benny February 13, 2015 / 9:52 am

    Love these! Thank you very much!

  9. Bill Kleiman February 13, 2015 / 10:41 am

    Nice photos and comments. You have a fine blog, Chris.

  10. marilyn February 15, 2015 / 7:12 am

    These deep perspective stills are incredible. The drone introduces a whole new range of possibilities for viewing the prairie! I want one!

    • James C. Trager February 15, 2015 / 5:13 pm

      Very much what I was thinking, Marilyn – Lovely resolution and depth!

  11. Adam February 15, 2015 / 5:48 pm

    Curious on the type of drone and/or camera that you are utilizing? Great video and cool way to get that perspective for sure!

    • Chris Helzer February 16, 2015 / 7:17 am

      Adam, we’re using an Iris+ by 3DRobotics.

  12. C February 16, 2015 / 5:51 pm

    I love Nebraska’s beauty – I hope you never stop taking still photos – because that’s the sense you get from your photos, stillness.

  13. C February 16, 2015 / 5:53 pm

    Could a drone fly upside down and get pictures of the stars? I’d love to see the prairie sky!

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