Cast Net

Having not grown up on the Gulf Coast - I didn't grow up swinging a cast net like many of our kids do. I'm still a little fascinated at this form of fishing. At any rate, this little fella was casting off the pier as I was snapping some photos, I'm happy to have caught one of his better tosses.

I haven't posted anything in a few weeks, I've had a couple of interesting projects that aren't really photography-related underway that I'm looking forward to sharing in the coming weeks! More on that, later..

Our kids head back to school tomorrow and everyone gets back into a routine.. Hope your week, ahead is great!

Unfamiliar Perspectives

Even though I've been working with Drone and Aerial photography for a couple of years, I sometimes still get surprised by how certain things look from above.

Take the Fairhope Pier.    It is probably one of the most oft-photographed features of the Gulf Coast.  We all know it has lights and they create reflections on the water, yet before drone photography became a thing, I really didn't consider what the implications of the lights would be from 200 ft up.  The repeating patterns and lines are pretty cool to see!

Have a great weekend!

Summer - Holiday Commute

The beaches were a bit more cluttered with leftover trash than usual and the northbound roads were a bear.   I think this all means it was a good weekend for the businesses on the Gulf Coast this 4th of July Weekend.

I stopped by one of my favorite Taco joints, Bravo Tacos and saw they had sold out for the weekend! Hopefully that's awesome news for our Gulf Coastal vendors.

As the BBQ and Fireworks high for the weekend wears off, I hope you have safe travels to wherever you call home and a great week!

Blues Turn to Golds

I wanted to paint the scene for you, when this photo was taken because parts of it are a little humorous.   The plan for the outing was there were a couple of motion sequences I needed for a video project.    Basically, I was looking for golden hour light with some low and fast passes along the surf and a pull up and away to reveal the Bayway in the distance, the Mobile Skyline if possible.

I parked at Bayfront and made the walk through the Village Point Park Preserve with the Inspire suitcase in tow.   This thing really needs rollers.

I noticed some cars at the event haul near the main park but didn't think much of these until I got to the Village Point pier.    A small wedding party was hanging around near the pier, getting their photos taken by a photographer person.   

One thing that I know for sure about most women, is that flying robots have no place in their special day.  Armed with this life truth, I walked a comfortable distance away from them, in fact I kept going until I could no longer see the white of the Bride's gown.  

I made one of the eagle-scout-project benches my home.

Listening to tunes on my iPhone, in a few minutes I was able to get the Inspire deployed within a few minutes and began filming.    It was hot, it was sticky, there are creatures biting.  Typical southern Alabama coastal moments.

I was able to get a battery of filming done between crowds and passer bys.   Eventually, though - the session was cut somewhat short by some curious wildlife.

Normally, I wouldn't take photos of the kids that stop and ask questions about Drones.   But these two kids were cracking me up for a number of reasons. 

The boy had no reservations whatsoever to get entirely too close to the quad, even when flying.   Chasing it, trying to grab it out of the air - all seemed like a great idea in his little mind.

I didn't see their parents around, so I cut my session short. 

The moral of this story is, beware of wildlife during your drone adventures.  If a wild one gets clipped by a spinning propeller, it would certainly be my fault, parents or none.   If you are flying a drone and feel the situation is no longer safe - stop.  

There are always more sunsets out there to enjoy. :)

Lagoon and the Gulf

The area around Johnson beach, looking back towards Fort Mcree.    I think as beaches go, this area of the Gulf Islands National Seashore is about perfect.   I unfortunately don't get down there as much as I'd like and never get down there in good light.    

I would imagine around 2 AM the Milky Way starts to become visible this time of year - something I hope to go down and try to photograph at some point...

On the south side, you have the Gulf.  It isn't cluttered with Jetski rentals, chairs, condos and swimmer buoys.  You have sand, surf and whatever you carry with you.

On the North side is the Lagoon.   It bends around enough to give you a sense of privacy.   Hermit crabs, shells and sand dollars scatter amongst the gentler surf.

Comical Origins of Serious Passions

Have you ever stopped to consider the origin of some of your interests and passions? 
I was pondering on this the other day while playing Indiana Jones Pinball with some friends.

Personally, I'm heavily drawn to the general idea of exploration.  Exploration of foreign lands, exploration of space, exploration of knowledge.   Ironically, much of this as at odds with my chosen career of a person who gets paid literally to sit at a desk all day long.

As the knight in the Last Crusade might say, "He chose, poorly."

But where did I get those notions?   The plane pictured here is one of two on Disney's cruise-ship island in The Bahamas.   The story goes that at least one of them was a derelict, left behind when this island (with a runway!) was used for drug smuggling.

What this plane really reminds me of is LaunchPad McQuack's plane from Duck Tales!   I would come home from school and plop down in front of the TV to catch Scrooge McDuck's adventures with his nephews nearly every day.   It had adventure, it had travel, the mystique of treasure hunting and clear plots around the virtues of working smartly.

With these visuals and those of Indiana Jones, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and similar movies it really is no wonder why I'm fixated on the idea of exploration and anxious to go out and see the world.   Even when chained to a desk! :)

So my question is this.  Does popular media form our children's later inclinations or does it inform them?  Are my kids destined to be obsessed with mining and building things? :)

Duck Tales is scheduled to be rebooted in 2017.  I wonder if Scrooge McDuck's money bin has been affected by inflation or diminished in any way by bad derivative investments in the sub-prime lending crisis.   I guess we will have to wait and see!

Just out of Reach

All too often, lately when I'm out for a leisure photo walk, the leisure is somewhat removed because of the presence of a camera drone.   The leisure photo walk usually turns into a Drone Q&A with spectators and the whole bit.   I don't mind this but I do miss opportunities for shots when there is a crowd of onlookers with questioners.

It was considerably more relaxing recently to just throw on some sneakers and earbuds for a walk / run.  No suitcase-full-of-drones, just a mirrorless camera and an okay sunset.  

Need to do that more often for both mental and physical health! 

Working Late @ Austal

Chasing down a sunset, these crazy summer clouds make for interesting drama in the skies.     I am thankful that the armed gentlemen around the port @ Austal didn't decide I was a foreign spy and start shooting at the stationary blinky light in the sky.

I've heard tales of a few jet-skiers getting a good scare from men on megaphones as they approached too closely.   The Inspire-1's no fly zone indicator didn't complain, so I'm going to assume this was kosher. :)

Looks like quite a few folks were working late on this particular dreary Wednesday evening.

Where the Trolls Live

If trolls live under bridges, what lives under piers?   I know there's a joke in here somewhere.  

Speaking of Trolls..   Over the weekend I posted this photo of the City of Mobile taken from across the port.   The sky was boring, so I used another photo from my personal stock of sky photos to make the sky a bit more interesting. 

The same night, I stayed up really quite late doing some much-needed site update work.  The next morning, I got up pretty late to find this gem in my inbox:

Dear "Photographer",
Your image called Port City Nights showed up on my feed this evening.    I have family in the area and clicked the thumbnail to see more.  

The Gulf Coast must be a forgiving place to live and call yourself a photographer.   This photo and many others I see on your pages have blatant and tasteless processing.  Don't quit your day job.

<Name Omitted>

PS, Drones r the biggest nusance and waist of time of the decade. You thank your being creative but your really just being a jerk.   Just stop.

I don't get messages like this often but when I do, they do entertain me.  This one, might be the all-time winner given the awesome grammar - which was honestly hard to even copy and paste  - chrome wanted to correct it!   

At any rate, I hope Mr. Pleasant stops by the site again to read this and other posts.  I do read the emails but I don't get too worked up about this stuff.  The internet isn't going to Troll itself. :)

Seriously, normally I wouldn't even share these but I'm feeling playful, trolling the trolls.  A veritable TrollPocalypse!  :)  

Wishing everyone, trolls included, a great week ahead..

Port City Nights

It can be very surprising how quiet Mobile, Alabama can be at night.   Looking at my iPad screen on this scene from above there was surprisingly little movement in the City from this perspective.

On a Saturday night I drove into town, looking for a place near the port to take photos or to launch a drone.   I ran into this extremely poorly lit abandoned industrial park area.    It was totally the sort of location you would see in a movie, where some epic super hero battle might take place destroying derelict buildings and overturning industrial trucks.

There wasn't a marked trespassing sign, per-se but I limited the session to 15 minutes to be on the safe side.

Aside from mosquitos and / or mutant sand fleas and more wind than is helpful for aerial long-exposure photography the quick session was pretty uneventful.   I guess the superheroes have the night off.

The USS Alabama in Film

When I first moved to the Gulf Coast, we were in a sort of .. homeless.. situation.   Not quite 'under-the-overpass' homeless but 'living-in-a-hotel' homeless.   

The USS Alabama is sort of like the first friend I made as a teen relocating to Alabama.  We lived at the now-gone Ramada Inn on the causeway.  2 adults, a teen and a couple doberman pinchers.    We stayed there because mom was a dog person and they allowed the dobermans.

The room would get crowded so I would spend my time making mischief around the hotel, swimming in the pool or walking down to the Battleship park, looking for vacationers my age to hang out with.

In my 30's, I regard the USS Alabama as an old-friend.   Now living a couple miles down the road, I like to see her on the horizon and I like to use her for photography.   

One thing I find profoundly cool is that this museum ship gets tapped as a locale for movies on occasion.  That's awesome!

Steven Seagal kicked lots of butt in the 1992 film Under Siege, much of which was filmed here.

As was War and Remembrance, Rapid Fire.    This summer, she'll get some action again as a film locale for the movie, USS Indianapolis.

Exciting times for Mobile this trusty icon!

On the day when I spent some time at the USS Alabama Park (I was actually waiting to see what the sunset was going to do) I shot some drone footage around her as well.  It is here:

-The video is somewhat sped up because the pan around was pretty slow.

Dragon Boat Festival

The 2nd Annual Dragon Boat Festival at the 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center in Spanish Fort, was a success!   The event benefited The Fuse Project and funs raised, exceeded goals by mid-day.

20 paddlers.. well.. paddle.   A drummer keeps a cadence on.. well.. a drum. :)

At the rear of the boat, someone drags an oar, serving as a rudder.

It was fun to watch, I'm guessing it was VERY fun to do!

A friend asked if I could capture some Drone video of the event, I was more than happy to do so.   The free music choices on youtube were pretty limited but I think it still fits, more or less.   As usual, tons of folks stopped by to ask questions about drone photography.  If you were one of them it was great to meet you, the info I mentioned to get you started can be found here.

Some of the frames are dropped in the video above compared to the original source material (in order to sync to the soundtrack).   If you are from the event and would like the download links to the original 4k files (10 files, around 30 gb) - just shoot me an email to

..and at around 12 minutes, 9 seconds there is another drone :)

Drive Time Rays

One of the awesome things about the typical gulf coast summer is that cloud formations around with scattered showers make for some awesomely dramatic skies.   I found the rays on this afternoon to be pretty interesting.  The fronts did bring with them some decent wind gusts, combined with sketchy light over Mobile made this a more of a challenge than usual in terms of aerial work.