Mike Drew: Flying excessive


I simply knew it was going to be day.

Headed east into the dawn, I may see patches of fog within the low spots alongside the bottom and breaks within the clouds overhead. It was chilly however not frosty and the sloughs that I handed had been misty mirrors, undisturbed by even the tiniest breath of wind.

East of Strathmore I finished to the solar rise by way of a financial institution of fog and shortly swung my digicam for an image of a blue heron winging by way of blue mist throughout a pond. A faculty bus handed by and disappeared because it rolled by way of a miasma of suspended water vapour.

A blue heron flies the fog lifting from a pond east of Strathmore on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Mike Drew/Postmedia

I launched my little copter and despatched it slowly upwards till it cleared the mist and revealed the foggy panorama beneath. From the excessive vantage level, I may see fog spreading in every single place, farmyard timber and surrounding hilltops islands rising above the haze.

Onward and eastward, now, throughout the Crowfoot Creek valley and over towards Normal, the solar climbing within the sky and gaining power. Fog nonetheless stuffed the valleys however above them, the radiant warmth of the solar was beginning to soften it away and substitute it with golden daylight.

Cattle within the morning fog east of Strathmore on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Mike Drew/Postmedia

Stopping once more at a wetland alongside a small creek, I shot photos of savannah sparrows feasting on hawkweed seeds and the nonetheless air carried sounds alongside the valley from each path. There was the chirping of the sparrows, the yaks of magpies and crows, meadowlarks singing and motors operating. Planes flying overhead.

However no combines, no swathers. Stopping by a wheat discipline simply previous Normal, I grabbed a ripe head and crushed it into my palm to take a look at the grain. It was smooth sufficient to cleave with my thumbnail. Harvest must wait a couple of days for the fields to dry.

Many of the mist had dissipated by now and all that was left was a smooth, blue haze. Up on the Chimney Hills I watched cattle grazing round patches of blazing crimson and orange saskatoons and chokecherries. A coyote sat close by surveying the scene. A jackrabbit spooked up and bounded off into the brown grass.

Dew on wheat east of Normal on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Mike Drew/Postmedia

I put the copter up once more to shoot aerials of a set of ponds within the basin between the Chimney Hills and the Wintering Hills and from the air they appeared like patches of sky in opposition to the encircling amber fields. Taking pictures straight down and drifting the copter alongside I may see patches of color emerge because the copter handed over copses of willow and still-green aspens.

A flock of geese was coming towards me as I landed the copter so I grabbed my lengthy lens for an image. By means of the lens they appeared like plain previous Canada geese however they had been making a peeping sound as a substitute of the same old raucous honks.

Blowing up the image on the again of the digicam for a greater look, I noticed that they had been white-fronted geese, early migrants from the north already on their means again to their winter properties. Cool to see them this early however I’m not so certain I’m comfortable about it.

A flock of white-fronted geese flies over the Chimney Hills north of Normal on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Mike Drew/Postmedia

Again on the south facet of the Chimney Hills I put the copter up once more to the canola fields and the partially-cut barley on the Normal Hutterite Colony. My pal Stu and I had been out this manner a few days earlier than and photographed the blokes at work. Such good people, they provided us rides within the combines and allow us to drive throughout the sphere for higher photos.

They weren’t out working this morning, although. Far too moist.

The morning was nicely underway now and the fog all gone. I may tons of younger geese and coots on each slough, some so younger that they could have a tough time heading south. Over by Seiu Lake north of Hussar, I launched the copter once more to get photos of the puffy clouds mirrored within the calm water.

Grain awaits the combines north of Normal on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Mike Drew/Postmedia

I headed again by way of Normal and throughout the Chimney Hills. A light-weight breeze had blown up and it shook the intense leaves on the saskatoons, chokecherries and hawthorns I discovered close to an outcrop of badlands. Launching the copter yet one more time, I shot overhead views of all the color. Assured — or not less than hopeful — that I had a pleasant set of images, I headed on residence.

And located that I’d someway misplaced the cardboard from the copter.

There have been most likely 10gb of pictures and video on there, stuff I used to be actually happy with. Taking pictures from floor stage is nice however that additional added peak — actually, a hen’s-eye view — provides one other dimension, one other stage of curiosity, to just about something. Certain, I had loads of different stuff from my different two cameras however dropping that card actually bummed me out.

A coyote surveys the scene above autumn-tinged chokecherries and saskatoons within the Chimney Hills north of Normal on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Mike Drew/Postmedia

I churned by way of the opposite photos and I had loads of pictures that I wasn’t fully ashamed of however these aerials would have added a lot extra. I do not know how I misplaced that card. I assume It had someway popped out as I used to be carrying the copter however I appeared in every single place within the truck and round the home. I simply couldn’t discover it.

I slept poorly and within the morning I searched once more. The extra I considered it, the extra I needed these photos. I knew there was gold on that fingernail-sized piece of plastic. However alas, it remained unfound.

So I put a brand new card within the copter — and slapped a bit of tape over it — and headed again out to retrace my steps.

Take Two was not the identical as Take One.

There was no mist and the sky was leaded over. Chilly wind was blowing from the north and rain was spitting down. The colors had been nonetheless shiny although — much more so within the smooth gentle — and as soon as I acquired the copter airborne, the panorama glowed beneath.

Day 2 – Color within the Chimney Hills close to Normal on Wednesday, September 12, 2018. Mike Drew/Postmedia

The wind tried its finest to kick the copter round however there’s some superb know-how in this stuff and I may hover and fly, if not with ease, not less than the place I wanted to go. However among the photos, I simply couldn’t recreate.

The wind shredded any reflections on the water and bent the standing grain, making it look extra like the highest of any person’s head than a discipline. The patterns made by the windrows of canola nonetheless appeared good, although, and I flew over a pair of swathers again at Normal Colony that appeared like they’d been purposely parked for me to from above. Flying over an previous farmstead, it stood in for my pond photos from the day earlier than, an island in a sea of grain.

Day 2 – A farmstead types an island in a sea of grain close to Normal on Wednesday, September 12, 2018. Mike Drew/Postmedia

Lastly, although, it felt like I had sufficient. It didn’t make up for the cardboard I’d misplaced nevertheless it must do. Shivering, I pulled the cardboard from the copter, put it in my pocket and headed residence.

And that’s how I’ll do it any further. Fly, pull the cardboard, put it someplace protected. Lesson realized.

However enhancing the photographs from Take Two, one other, happier, lesson was strengthened. And that lesson is, we dwell in such a good looking place, a spot the place no two days are ever the identical. A spot the place it’s nicely worthwhile to present it a Take Two.

Day 2 – Swathers in a harvested discipline close to Normal on Wednesday, September 12, 2018. Mike Drew/Postmedia

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