Riding Into the Sunset on Converging Paths

Interstates may seem a natural part of the American landscape, but the drone’s-eye view reveals the truth of how highways were laid atop the earlier landscape. I like the convergence of the headlights along both the country road and I-64, like two different eras running to a shared future.

Riding Into the Sunset on Converging Paths

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Equus Run, a Concert, and Margaux

Last Wednesday, I showed you the light trails of concertgoers leaving Equus Run Vineyards. Today, I bring you a bird’s eye view of the same moments. In the distance, Margaux is quiet for the evening; in the midground, car headlights bounce off the grapes; in the foreground, light trails highlight the bridge and the road through the trees.

Equus Run, a Concert, and Margaux

Hydroelectric Output

Colton, New York’s hydroelectric dam brings together dark, deep, deceptively passive water on one side and a raging torrent on the other. It’s perhaps a useful metaphor for the experience of preparing to leave a place one has lived for a decade. Visiting sites like this is also a reminder that sometimes I avoid exploring the interesting places near me until I’m preparing to leave the area; something analogous happened near the end of my sabbatical.

Hydroelectric Output

Old and New Kentucky

While the Interstate system feels like an ingrained part of American culture at this point, its presence (in the Eastern U.S., anyway) is revealed as a late addition from a drone’s eye view: the original patterns of farms and country roads has this massive strip of highway laid atop it.

Old and New Kentucky

Rays from the Barn

Drones open up all kinds of new perspectives, but these vantages don’t always have to be extreme or dramatic. The equivalent height of an aerial work platform presents just the correct geometry to get these rays from the setting sun to explode from the roof of a recently renovated barn outside Lexington, Kentucky.

Rays from the Barn

Dry Paths and Trails

Rain brings spontaneous desert symmetry breaking: some areas become rivers and streams, while others stay high and dry. La Quinta Cove brings hiking trails into this equation. Looking high over the landscape, those trails and dry streambeds may be hard to distinguish—until the rain comes. In the distance, just above the tan tanks on the left of the image, the Salton Sea serves as a reminder of how water and the desert interact.

Dry Paths and Trails

Bird Pilgrim to the Tetrahedron

My final photographic adventure of 2022 felt fittingly fell at dusk and felt like an achievement: flying my drone at the Salton Sea’s Bombay Beach, capturing the unique sculptures and setting.

Seeing that little wading bird approaching this tetrahedral sculpture seems a bit metaphorical for humans approaching our own futures: Coming up to something big and interesting and completely beyond our ability to properly predict/explain. Here’s to 2023!

Bird Pilgrim to the Tetrahedron

Night Arrives Above Empire Polo Club

I guess I’m still discovering new tricks up the DJI Mini 3 Pro’s sleeve. I’ve never managed to create a panorama (much less one looking up) from drone images before, but this massive shot of the sunset over the San Jacinto Mountains has changed all of that. The pink clouds arc above and the Empire Polo Club (home of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival) spreads across the foreground.

Night Arrives Above Empire Polo Club

(You’ll definitely want to click through for full resolution on this one.)