It’s that time of year again! Another year has passed and that means it’s time for overviews. To put it lightly, 2023 has been an amazing year for my photography. I got to experience a lot of firsts again, got to meet amazing people on photo workshops, made new (photography) friends and I won a few awards. More importantly, I grew as a person and a photographer. This year, I decided to take my yearly overview into a different direction with 3 different blogs: one about my favourite camera shots, this one about my favourite drone shots and, finally, my classic ‘Year in Review’ blog.
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My Five Favourite Drone Photographs Of 2023
Let’s continue my yearly overview with my 5 favourite drone shots! This year I started out with the DJI Mavic 3 Classic, only to trade that drone in when the DJI Mavic 3 Pro was released, which is now my weapon-of-choice. This turned out to be an excellent idea because the zoom lenses came in handy during the two eruptions this year. I had a REALLY hard time selecting drone shots for this list. I have been so happy with what I managed to capture this year and, to me, many photographs stood out.
1. Desolate Wasteland
Perhaps a surprising first addition to this list, especially because I’ve shot this location before several times, but I really loved this image. The conditions were really tough. There was a brutal wind blowing over the area and on top of that, the height of the clouds kept changing. I shot probably around 20 variations of this shot, out of which only 5 stitched properly due to the rapidly changing conditions while taking panoramas.
2. Dragons & Serpents
Ever since the first eruption of Fagradalsfjall in 2021, I’ve been heavily obsessed with finding patterns and shapes in the lava. I even dedicated a chapter in my book to it, and I won an award with my Lava Dragon. During the Litli-Hrútur eruption in July, I managed to find a few more patterns I really enjoyed but these two undoubtedly stood out for me. The first one is an even better version of a lava dragon, while the second one is a kind of fire serpent. These images truly stick with me, even after six months.
3. Ticking A Location Off My List
The location where I took this photograph has been on my must-visit list for a long, long time. This year I finally made it there. The conditions were perfect for my liking, with low clouds and soft light. Flying with my drone was tough. With no one other than two friends around, I had to perform lengthy flights to get to the desired vantage points. The area is so vast, with so many angles that I flew 8 batteries in the time I was there. What’s funny is that after I arrived back home, I compared my photographs with satellite imagery which made me realise I need to visit again and capture even more images. Maybe in 2024!
4. Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life
A second eruption right before the end of 2023, who could have imagined that? And who could have imagined that I would capture my favourite photograph of the year during that eruption? To me, the pattern in this photograph resembles a tree which sprouted from the bowels of the earth. It symbolises the birth and growth of a new landscape, a new part of Iceland. Curiously enough, it also really resembles the depictions of Yggdrasil, the norse mythological tree of life.
5. Feeding Humpback Whale
During the West Greenland photo workshop this year, we were fortunate enough to have several encounters with whales. Each encounter was special but this one took the cake. We spent about one and a half hour with a huge humpback whale, which swam around and even under our boat as it was feeding. The moment was incredibly special. I captured so many photographs but this one stuck with me. What you see is a humpback whale trying to stun krill with a blow, while opening its jaw to catch the krill. It’s a unique moment.
6. Frozen Greenland
Just like with my top 5 camera shots, I didn’t manage to stick to only five. I captured this photograph during a winter photo workshop in Greenland, which I hosted together with Andy Mumford. I really enjoyed the framing because the ice in the foreground points straight at the background. I was flying very, very low above the sea ice and used an extreme wide angle to bring out the lines even more.
After my favourite drone shots of 2023, it’s soon time for the final blog: my ‘normal’ Year in Review. Stay tuned!
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