Islay (instagram @adventuresofblondie) traveled around Mongolia in autumn 2019 for 4 weeks and discovered many areas like the steppes in Central Mongolia, the lakes in Northern Mongolia, the glaciers and highest peak in far western Mongolia's Altai Mountains and the very diverse desert landscapes in the southern Gobi desert.?
During her trip she captured many incredible patterns with her drone from an eagle's perspective in a unique and fascinating way.
Islay shared her thoughts about her trip and how she started droning in an interview with Escapetomongolia.
How I got started?
I got into drones as soon as the first Phantom models came out. I had flown them a few times mostly helping my ex boyfriend get clips for his kitesurfing videos. But the drones at the time were bulky and hard to travel around with. They also had lots of technical issues so I didn’t trust buying one. However, as soon as DJI released the Mavic pro I was sold on it. I had been waiting for a more compact drone with foldable legs to travel the world with more easily. I preordered that within days of the release and when it arrived I was so excited I barely had it in me to open the packaging. I think I slept beside it for two or three days. When I finally decided to try it out I never read a users manual. I literally plugged in my phone and pressed whatever button looked the most like an on button and up it went. The first few times were in my room because I had a legitimate fear that the $2,000 hovercraft would just fly out of sight and disappear into outer space. After lifting it up and down and getting more comfortable with the idea that I had a flying camera I took it outdoors to see what I could do.
Why it interests me?
Within just a few flights I had fallen deep in love with the world from above. I wanted to be there all the time. Everything suddenly became so simple. Even chaotic places seemed systematic. Ugly places were like some abstract work of art. One thing that struck me especially was that many of the things that made me sad about the world at eye level were something else from above, something better… some place I liked being. I wanted to explore everything. Over time it became an escape for me and still is to this day. On bad days it continues to be the perfect way to get out of my own head. There really is something both addictive and therapeutic about it all. Especially when you’re in places you’ve spent time before and think you fully understand or maybe have become bored of. It kind of makes you think there truly is beauty in everything, all you need to do is find a new angle… a new perspective. That’s probably one of the biggest take aways from all of it, and something I’ve applied to many other aspects of my life the past few years.
Best places to drone?
Over the past year I’ve shot in six different countries, my favorite being Mongolia. Mongolia completely changed my mind about what I decided to shoot. Before I would often only send my drone up when things looked interesting at eye level. But in Mongolia, after just a few flights I realized that the country has a landscape that is full of surprises. I made it a habit to send the drone up even in places that didn’t look as interesting from the car window. I found that most places from above, when flying at high altitudes, would often transform into what looked like abstract paintings. I never realized that the earth could be such art. Perfect in its own imperfection, with no trace of mans mark. That is another reason Mongolia is such an incredible place for aerial photography and video. These places have not been altered by man kind. It was my first time truly being able to imagine a world unchanged by man, and I realized after heading back to the busy east coast of America that a world unaltered by mankind is the world I want to know the most about. I think my trip to Mongolia has not only permanently altered the direction I want to go in terms of aerial content creation, but also made me realize that I fully want to make a career out of it. Before the trip I was always forcing myself to love certain types of videography and photography, more traditional kinds, the kinds I am frequently scrolling past on my instagram feed. But during my 25 days in the country spending all day everyday driving, I realized that my true love is in the sky. Just a week after our trip had begun I had barely reached for my dslr. I wanted to push myself in the area I am most passionate and will continue to do so from here on out.
Reflections on being lady droner?
Specializing in drone has opened up my world In ways I didn't think it would. It has given me a leg up in my professional field by understanding how to show the most out of a place from an angle people may have never seen before or thought about. In a industry dominated by men, I have the opportunity to show a completely different perspective not only because they are captured from the sky, but also captured through the eyes of a woman, which is still very uncommon at this time. I am excited to see what this year has to offer as I delve deeper into aerial content creation.
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