2016 was a year of many losses for me, the loss of my father, my job and many of my musical heroes and along with them went the loss of my creativity. I was finding it increasingly difficult to even go outside let alone pack my camera and be creative.

As every creative person will tell you, they have one common fear, the dreaded “creative slump” and I was knee deep in the mire of my very own. Sinking deeper, I decided to turn to Instagram for some creative inspiration and the one thing that continually captured my attention were images photographed from a perspective I hadn’t been used to seeing, they were photographed from the sky, many photographed straight down on the subject matter creating breathtaking and otherworldly abstracts. The neurons in my brain began to fire, I needed to know more.

Sunset in the Pismo Beach Dunes.

Photograph by Cris Mitchell All Rights Reserved.

After a little online sleuthing and a few conversations with instagrammers whose work I admired (not sure instagrammer is an actual term, but work with me here) I found one thing in common, they all used drones to create these aerial wonders, so I turned to my local craigslist and as luck would have it, I found someone locally, selling their entry level DJI Phantom 3 Standard, an hour later i was hurling a football sized object through space and time at 50 mph in the local schoolyard. I was immediately HOOKED! I plunked down my hard earned cash and the rest as they say it was history.

Aerial photography has not only given me my creative vision back, it’s made me begin to see the world around me in a whole new way.

Like you the very word DRONE brings up feelings of peeping toms and wartime weaponry, however these little marvels are equipped with high resolution video and still camera’s and the ability to stay in the air through the magic of GPS. Flying is not the hard part, because of FAA laws finding places to fly is a whole other story but that’s an article for a different day.

There is a sense of boyish wonder when flying these unmanned aircraft, it’s easy to get lost in flight, which I often do. Every time I send my drones out into the world, i say goodbye, knowing it may be the last time we see each other due to a mechanical malfunction or worse, pilot error and I pray for their safe return back to earth with their photographic yield.

Quite often when I pull the images up on my computer screen back at the studio and see the details captured or the things I missed trying to keep the bird in the air, i’m floored. It really has become a magical experience.

Morro Rock – Morro Bay, CA

Photograph by Cris Mitchell – All Rights Reserved.

I look forward to sharing more of my aerial adventures and photo travels with you in the pages of this blog, but for now, I’ll leave you with these parting words.

The next time you find yourself in a creative slump, try something out of the box different than you are used to. Maybe it’s a new lens or camera or try challenging yourself to use only your cell phone to capture things in a different way and maybe, just maybe you’ll find your creative spark and with any luck, it will ignite a whole new passion inside of you.

For what it’s worth…

Till next time, keep shooting.

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