I've been looking for a new creative exploration regarding my aerial work and/or seascapes. When I realized you could put a Neutral Density filter on a drone, it all came together, and I quickly found myself exploring long exposures from the air in a new series that I'm calling "Salt + Sky".
This body of work is still in its infancy, and it actually requires a perfect set of conditions for execution. For drone work in general, the less breeze the better, and especially for this technique it's optimal for the wind to be at absolute zero. The next element to consider is the light, as always, and I have yet to dial in what lighting conditions make for the best results. So far, I've only been shooting at golden hour -- with no qualms -- but I also need to explore at different times of day. I think it's safe to say the more contrast the better, so I can avoid cloudier overcast days for these shots. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, long exposure work is most effective when there is a moving element in juxtaposition with a still element. In my case, that moving element is almost always water, and for these shots that requires there to be at least some amount of wave action rolling in off the ocean.
The problem with combining all these elements is that most swell is churned up from stormy weather, which means heavier winds or cloudy skies. It's very rare for there to be a gentle to large swell in the water with absolute zero winds. But I will continue to wait for those perfect conditions to explore these painterly birds eye views of our coastline!
See more in the Salt + Sky Gallery
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I haven't been in the water for sunset in a while. But the opportunity finally presented itself a couple weeks ago. The sky was clear for once, there was a bump of swell in the water but apparently no one really deemed it worthwhile because the lineup was empty. Fellow photographer friend Gus Potter grabbed his board instead of a camera, and the two of us hopped in with only half an hour or so before sunset to catch a few with the one other soul already in the water.
It was a little windy and wonky, and certainly cold, but it was one of my favorite sessions this month. You just can't beat that dusky light!