Salmon River hexacopter video

I stumbled on this video I put together back in 2011. This was the first time I saw an RC multi-rotor helicopter in person. Not long after this trip, Andy Batt and I decided we needed to get one too. We now own a small quadrocopter and a larger octocopter.

An unfortunate result of the video on Oregonlive was that the guys at Idaho Power were shut down. It is well documented now, but at the time of publishing we were unaware that the FAA didn’t approve of commercial use of “drones”. Common sense didn’t win that battle.

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    Our octocopter hovers over a field of corn near Winterset, IA.

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    Bruce Ely, Andy Batt and Galvin Collins gather around their tech table between flights.

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    Bruce Ely makes an adjustment to the octocopter before taking off.

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    Portland lover Zach Stigler watches the monitor as Andy Batt controls the Canon 5D MkIII that hangs below the copter.

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    With the use of Cinemizer goggles, Bruce Ely flies the octocopter with the use of a second camera that is mounted on the copter.

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    Our opperation is set up to have completely separate and independant control of the camera and the copter.

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    Our octocopter over the corn fields of Iowa.

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    Andy Batt makes some adjustments between flights.

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    Super assistant Galvin Collins prepares the octocopter for flight.

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    We have a visitor.

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    We found a great spot to work out in the field that allowed us to shorten our flight time out to the subject of our shoot.

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    Was a super successful day with about 20 flights.

octocopter aerials over Iowa corn fields

Both Andy Batt and I have had a super busy spring with our octocopter.

With the help of our 2 super-assistants, we loaded up with 13 pieces of luggage and headed out for Winterset, Iowa. Can’t share why we were there quite yet, but I thought I would post some pictures of the adventure.

The day started with an epic midwest thunderstorm and plenty of rain that grounded us, but quickly cleared and ended with a beautiful evening of still air and beautiful light. Can’t wait to share the pictures and video we captured.

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    Aerial view of the Verizon Indy car that was created by Bruce Ely and Andy Batt

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    Andy Batt in the role of camera operator and Bruce Ely as the octocopter pilot. (picture by Galvin Collins)

Aerial image created for Verizon advertising campaign

I was brought along on a commercial shoot for Andy Batt Studios. The Verizon campaign was the perfect opportunity to show off our new investment — an aerial camera platform — no, it is not a DRONE. We don’t hurt or spy on people. We fly line-of-sight, meaning we never fly it places that we can’t see the copter.

We have been flying for over a year now. It is proving to be an expensive and head scratching venture. With that said, it is a TON of fun and after all, that was our main goal.

Be sure to go check out the rest of Andy Batt Studio’s take from the Verizon Indy Car job

Portland Panoramic


Portland panoramic – Images by Bruce Ely

Colorful Portland skyline on a beautiful fall afternoon by aerial photographer Bruce Ely.

Order a large 45″ x 12″ panoramic print of downtown Portland, Oregon.

Hovering over Mt. Tabor in Southeast Portland, Ely captured a series of 45 images and stitched them together to produce a stunningly detailed view of the River City. Included in the image are 9 bridges including the St. Johns Bridge, Fremont Bridge, Broadway Bridge, Steel Bridge, Burnside Bridge, Morrison Bridge, Hawthorne Bridge, Marquam Bridge and the Ross Island Bridge.

Columbia River: Great River of the West

Columbia River: Great River of the West

On a soggy May morning, Jamie Francis and I stuffed a Chevy Blazer to the breaking point and set off east, tracing the Columbia River until we found sun. Among the cameras, tripods and camping gear was also a shared dream of creating a beautiful and lasting film from the Northwest’s largest river.

Similar adventures followed this initial outing: all-night bivouacs nursing exposures and batteries; floating cameras off waterfalls or propelling them into the sky; riding and chasing a working tugboat; calculating the moon’s rise and fall; folding ourselves into the back of the Blazer or the bed of my truck for a few hours sleep.

Perhaps more than anything, the result — “Columbia River: Great River of The West” — is the product of a four-month search, a quest to discover the unseen.

We have paid attention this summer to the rhythm of the river, hoping to discover something new. We have learned that the Columbia unifies and divides, provides and provokes, but we also know it sustains and defines us. The river also keeps secrets.

The Columbia is so present in our lives that we often neglect it and this is one reason why time-lapse photography is vital in communicating something unique about it. The power of time-lapse is that it takes a long period of time and condenses it into a few seconds. It nudges us toward a discussion about the context of time. No human will ever span the life of the river, but time-lapse helps us understand that time and the river are partners.

Each individual time-lapse sequence in “Great River of The West” is made from about 300 individual still pictures. Sometimes these sequences were made in 15 minutes, the camera firing quickly. At other times, the sequence lasted all day or all night, the camera firing as rarely as once a minute. Every second of film required 24 still pictures.

For example, the 10 seconds in the film’s second scene — the moon passing over the Columbia at Hood River — was made from 10:38 p.m. until 4:21 a.m. on August 2. Over these 5 hours and 43 minutes, a 30-second exposure was made each minute. The resulting 340 pictures were built into 22.5 seconds of video and then edited to 10 seconds of the film.

We shot our first-time lapse May 3; our last September 3. We made 82,931 still pictures for the project and produced 142 time-lapse sequences. We collected more than 15 hours of video footage with 1,193 video clips.

Ultimately, we laid all these on our colleague Rob Finch, who edited the piece into what you see. Our hope is that you enjoy “Great River of The West” as much as we enjoyed making it. We look forward to your response and also to your questions and thoughts.

Thanks for watching.

  • 2011 - 2012 Portland Trail Blazers
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  • 2011 - 2012 Portland Trail Blazers
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2011 – 2012 Portland Trail Blazers Season

It wasn’t supposed to end like this, with his Trail Blazers teammates opening practice and Brandon Roy five miles away in a half-moved in home.

While the Trail Blazers opened their 2011-2012 season, one of the most popular players in franchise history ended his in stunning fashion. Roy informed the team he intended to retire after an exam with team orthopedist Dr. Don Roberts revealed the extent of damage to Roy’s degenerative knees.

Roy is 27, the age when basketball players enter their prime, but in November of last year Roy revealed that four knee surgeries dating back to his high school career left him with no meniscus in either knee. Every time he jumped and cut, his knees were absorbing bone-on-bone friction.

Two months after that revelation, Roy had double knee surgery, and he later admitted he then feared his career was over.

He admitted that mortality in the fervor after Game 4 of the 2011 Playoffs against Dallas, in what was one of the greatest playoff performances not only by a Blazers player, but any NBA player. Roy practically single-handedly carried the Blazers to victory against the Mavericks, scoring 24 points, 18 of them in the fourth quarter, to help erase a 23-point deficit.

It would end up being the third to last game of his career as a Portland Trail Blazer.

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ESPN The Magazine: Timbers Army Tifo

Welcome to the Timbers Army’s covert tifo project. Normally, the group of more than 3,500 Portland Timbers soccer fans likes to be seen and heard as it packs the north end of Jeld-Wen Field wielding flags and banners, aka tifos. But designing these tifos is another story. Before each season, about 45 members secretly plan the banners for rival matches. They let me into their undisclosed location, though, as they worked for three days to create this 55-foot cutout of a Douglas fir (a symbol of the Cascadia region) for the Vancouver game on Aug. 25. They also made 3,810 flags for the army. The reward? A 2-1 victory for the Timbers and a Zoom section picture in ESPN The Magazine.

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The Chance for Nike

Had a great time documenting the U.S. finals of The Chance. Fifty of the best footballers from around the country descended on the Nike campus for a 4-day competition. The top 4 players won a spot on the team that will represent the U.S. in Barcelona, Spain for the next level of the competition.

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Nike The Opening Football

Was asked to spend a few days shadowing Portland native Ndamukong Suh and a a few other NFL athletes as they worked out at the Nike World Headquarters last summer. The athletes were helping mentor the high school football players that were invited to the campus from all over the country to participate in a football camp called The Opening. Here are a few of the images from the shoot.