The year from above


2022 was my first whole year of flying drones. The use of drones for photography and video really has been a game changer for me and the change in perspective for landscape photography cannot be understated.

Throughout the year I  tried to get as much flying time experience in flying the drones and getting familiar and confident in how to control them and fly then safely - which is paramount.

I undertook the UAV Hub A2 C of C Course which was brilliant and very informative training. On completing the course last month and passing the exam I was really pleased to have achieved the A2 C of C Certification.

The course focussed a lot on safety and also on planning and preparation .Moving forward it should enable me to be a lot better at flying my drones and also far more clued up on concerning responsible drone flying.

Ive been reviewing my photographs I have taken in 2022 in readiness for this blog post. I have tried to pick out some of my favourites and most memorable pictures. 

The Tor of Glastonbury

My friend Paul Joy and I got up really early in January and walked up to the Tor of Glastonbury for the first time on a very cold and icy morning. The panoramic view was nothing but spectacular.

Pontypool Folly

I visited Pontypool Folly several times this year. On this occasion I was again joined by Mr Joy. The sunrise was really nice despite the clouds on the horizon threatening to spoil it. However the view to the West was really amazing as the atmospheric phenomena known as the  "Venus belt"  can be seen stretching all across the sky. The panoramic picture really does create a huge feeling of depth of view and you can visualise the contours of the landscape around the Folly.

Goldcliff  Seawall and Goldcliff Lagoons

At some stage I was always going to sneak in some photographs of my favourite nature reserve.  I love watching a sunrise from the wall and being able to put a drone up into the sky and get a view from the air has been amazing.

Pwll Du and Gilwern Hill

Some of the best views in Gwent are to be found up the Blorenge and surrounding area. If you are willing to get up early enough and do some walking to get into a good position to set up your kit then you are in for a visual treat - if you are lucky with the weather. I was hoping to capture the dragons breath on this particular morning. What I found however was that the tops of the hills we thick with a pea soup fog.

I was really having doubts whether I would be able to fly the drone. As dawn approached the fog began to descend down the hills into the valley beneath. It didn't quite form the the thick dragons breath I was hoping for but it looked amazing especially when the sun began to burn through the mist.

Pontypool Park in spring

Pontypool Parks is a wonderful place to visit. I am so lucky to have it almost on my doorstep.

The avenue of Cherry trees near the bandstand is very beautiful in spring.  This pictures were taken very early in the morning when I was about the only soul in the park.

The Punch Bowl

Once again I was up early accompanied by Mr Joy at the crack of dawn waiting for a sunrise. The Punch Bowl is a small lake on the side of the Blorenge that is thought to have been created by a small glacier many eons ago. The sun came up on the horizon in clear skies and I was really happy with the view from above with the drone.

Blackrock Sunrise

I visited Black Rock , Chepstow several times this year and enjoyed several good sunrises.  The sun rose up behind the first Severn Bridge and the wide angle afforded by the drones panoramic mode really does grab your attention. I can look t the drone photographs for hours as the more you examine them and especially if you zoom in you find more and more details.

Trecco Bay

Trecco Bay Porthcawl is not just about the caravans. I have really enjoyed myself in this area throughout the year. Newton Point and Trecco Beach have been great places to find birds - particularly waders. From above the beach looked amazing and I think panoramic captured the whole of Newton Point.

The Keepers, Blorenge

In late August the Blorenge mountain turns a lovely purple colour as all the Heather and Whimbery bushes comes into flower.

I think this year it was better than ever and form above the mountain tops looked amazing.

Pontypool Park again

Autumn was upon us and the leaves on the trees were now starting to turn to lovely shades of green, reddy browns  yellows and orange colours. The park was apparently designed by the famous gardener landscape architect Capability Brown and I think its amazing that his work lives on.

Lasgarn Wood

At the height of Autumn Lasgarn was a glory to behold in its rich Autumn colours. The view from above the tree canopy was nothing short of stunning in my opinion. 

Silent Valley Cwm , Ebbw Vale

I have been venturing further North of Gwent and rediscovering some of my old haunts. Gwent Wildlife Trust have a nature reserve at Silent Valley on Cwm. The location has some of highest ( altitude wise) Beechwood in Wales.

Goytre House Wood

My final set of drone pictures are from a days tree planting with Gwent Ornithological Society at a small reserve they own called Goytre House Wood. With the help of volunteers including Goytre Cub Scout Group over one hundred trees were planted in the field that lies next to the main wood.  It was a great bit of conservation work to be involved in. I am really looking forward to seeing how they grow and plan to take photographs of them every year.


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