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Helene, princess in a tower

Helene: "I greatly enjoyed the day. There were a few instances that I felt slightly uncomfortable, mainly when we realized that there were actually every ten minutes new visitors at the watch tower and when I realized the surface where I had been lying was covered in only just emerging sprouts of stinging nettles. The problem of t he visitors was easily solved by having Tom standing downstairs and steering the drone from down there. This allowed me to feel like a lonely princess on my own tower. Where I could be free, and it felt very nice and awesome just to be there on my own.

Tom told me later during the day that he did not really seem to figure me out as a person. I think that has something to do with the fact that because of being nude, my mind put up some up some kind of veil to ensure that Tom, in this case, would not know everything about me. Interesting how mind and body work.

I am very proud of the pictures and love seeing myself as a figure in a piece of art."

For me, Helene seems to be a person with a strong mind and a strong drive. She studies an abstract topic (technicalities of an ancient language), she runs marathons, she runs her own company, and likes to model for out-of-the-box photo projects. She has a lot of experience in modelling, however, being nude at a public place would be a new experience.

We went to three locations and started with the most special. The forest "Kaapse bossen" were once developed by a rich couple that made money in South Afrika: hence the name "Kaap". The forest area has some small hills and a mix of coniferous and deciduous forest, and recently the current owner (Natuurmonumenten) added a touristic attraction: a watch tower of 30 meter high. The height is required to look over the surrounding trees. The design of the watch tower is simple: a closed 30 meter high rectangular box containing the stairs and an open platform added just below the top. Just two simple functional elements, which makes it a beautiful building.

When we got to the watch tower we saw ten people on the platform, but they were part of a group and they left shortly after. However, after the group left two hikers arrived at the tower. And then the next hikers, etc. etc. Apparently even on a week day in a rainy week, the watch tower was visited almost countinuously. I tackled this problem by asking visiting people politely to delay their visit to the top of the tower. What helped is that I offered them to join me in watching the view from the drone on my iPad, Helene had agreed to that. The visitors liked it a lot, and seemed like they might even be interested in buying a drone as well. Next to the hikers, I encountered another problem: the surface of the platform was made out of steel which caused calibration problems for the drone. Even when I raised it as high as I could, the calibration failed due to magnetic interference of the steel. I solved this problem by calibrating on the ground, away from the tower.

After discussing the shoot and a test flight, Helene started posing and I made a zoom out film, a lot of 90 degrees and 45 degrees photos and a pano. Helene proposed to make a 45 degrees photo where the lines of the tower would match with a specific pose: great idea. Also, we measured out where exactly Helene would lie in the middle of the platform. The tower had a metal railing which reflected the sky which made it light and stand out from the surrounding. It acted as a frame for Helene. Also, the simple rectangle forms of the tower contrasted beautiful with the natural surroundings. After flying two batteries and thanking the patient visitors, it started raining and we headed to our next location.

At the Gagelbos we went to the straight path inside the nature area for some running films. Helene was great in running, however the path was partly flooded, which made running difficult. Getting the drone to follow the straight path proved difficult, although I now stood in the direct path of the drone. Checking whether the drone kept a safe distance to the model required me to look at the iPad, and making the drone fly exactly in line with the path required looking directly at the drone. Combining the two was impossible. Alas, during a side-shoot the drone was not perfectly aligned with the path, drifted too far from the path and crashed into some low trees. just like last crash, a propellor broke. Luckily the drone ended just above the ground, the detached battery touched water. Very lucky again, I wonder how soon I will run out of luck, since this is crash number three. After the shoot, I thought of a special function called 'cable cam'. Would that solve the problem of aligning the drone to a path?

The final shoot location was the dark area of the forest where I worked with other models. We found that the area was turing green: spring is coming. Helene modelled lying on top of a fallen tree and on the surface. She posed in some relaxing poses, some acrobatic poses. I made some photos, some film and a pano. Since the first attempt was with dark exposure settings, I continued with a second one. Since the batterylevel was low, I prepared to abort an autolanding. The problem is that the drone will auto-land when the second low battery kicks in, and the drone is within 20 meter of its start location. Even if the start location is safe, and the actual location is over a tree.

Lessons learned: I should avoid risks since some time in the near future I inevitable will run out of luck, well designed buildings are great for DroNudes, bystanders are understanding when properly addressed

To do: study youtube instructions on the cable cam option, test cable cam options, look for more architectonically interesting buildings in a proper surrounding

Ideas for future shoots: try out the cable cam option, try out other DJI Go and Litchi options.

[more pictures will follow]

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