Reflection Rider (4k Short)
About a Mile from my front porch, headed North sits a fish camp at the base of a bridge on Alabama State Highway 225. The bridge crosses a waterway that spills into the southeast portion of Bay Minette Basin and into Bay Minette, itself.
(Bay Minette: the bay, not Bay Minette: the oddly named and illegally-established county seat of Baldwin County.)
As you stand at the launch: to your left, the delta sprawls in front of a distant Mobile skyline. In front of you, the waterway stretches into the distance with a few piers and hunting camps along the east side. To the right sits a pier and a houseboat with tons of southern character. The property is smattered with outbuildings with tin-roofs and varied construction methods and the parking area was heavily washed out from a recent heavy-rainstorm.
As I opened the SUV and unloaded a small drone, the sound of a creaking screen door as 91-year old Leslie Buzbee comes out to investigate my presence, as he often does. It is that strange moment where the kind-eyed property owner sizes me up to determine what my business is here around sunset.
His confusion is only expanded when I approach, as I always do, clutching a $5 bill and a friendly wave to offer to pay a launch fee. He puzzles over my shoulder as he looks at my dated white SUV (without a boat) and I maintain my best harmless smile as I struggle with the etiquette of showing unannounced at someone's home (that is also a business, of sorts).
I explain that I'm here for pictures and he waves off my $5 offering, as he always does. I've learned to be careful with my choice of words in these situations. "I'm here for a shoot." may be understood by most people in the context and presence of photography equipment but sometimes the word "shoot" can put a man like this on his guard.
On this day, Mr. Buzbee is puppy-sitting his son's dog, Popeye; who at that very moment was particularly interested in the small white plastic drone on the ground near the waterfront. I'm aware that his son, as they say in these parts: "had a run-in with the law", a few years back but I keep the conversation in the safe topics like Popeye's playful meanderings, the weather & fishing.
Most of the time Leslie Buzbee isn't very talkative but sometimes you may get him to share stories of the time he was hired to 'wrangle alligators' during the filming of Friday the 13th VII up the road at Byrnes Lake landing.
As I flew the drone, Mr. Buzbee kept a watchful eye from his porch. I walked over to show him the Drone's view from the iPad. He looked at the screen and seemed to get it though he didn't say much as he watched the iPad screen and the changing view from the drone which was hovering about 100 feet high and 1,000 feet away. A few minutes into the flight Popeye began to wander too close to the nearby road and he enlisted my help to corral the wayward pup back into his house.
As I laid down the controller of the still-in-flight drone to coax Popeye away from the road, I believe Mr. Buzbee's curiosity towards my flying camera apparatus returned but at this point, the sunset (and my battery-life) had concluded.
This video was the result of this outing.