Island Ice Writer Unveiled

Two weeks ago while photographing the Beaver Islands, the discovery of this image took me by surprise. A search on Facebook revealed that the owner of the signature is the gutsy Rob Stromme who carved his name into the snow along the open waters of the Mississippi.

Here’s what Rob had to say about it, ” The story goes; I was born and raised in St. Cloud and one of my friends’ and I’s most favorite past times is going down to the islands, summer or winter, and just walk around and explore. We call it galavanting. You get to see all kinds of nature that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s great to be able to be in the city one minute, then take a 10 minute walk to the river and be completely engulfed in the woods, river and streams. That day, we were on a winter galavant and took a little pit stop on one of the trees that hang over the banks of the river and I decided to write my name in the snow as big as I could.”

View an HD video flight over the Beaver Islands yesterday: View it in 720 HD if you can.

Mynah Bird Flies Again

Two years ago this weekend the Mynah Bird was designed and created for the purpose of capturing a forward looking HD motion picture view. It carried a relatively heavy camera payload with a very wide 16×9 angle lense. After a lengthy process of adjustments it eventually took to the sky but was later grounded due to the risks of carrying such a heavy and expensive camera in a forward looking configuation…Today, after two years, the aircraft returned to the sky again to resume it’s mission after being modified to carry a lighter and less expensive HD motion picture cam. By the third test-flight today, balance and trim were dialed in to a degree where the airplane could navigate through the air comfortably. Additional tests and improvements are forthcoming.

Landing approach today: YOUTUBE
A test flight with 16×9 lense two years ago: YOUTUBE
Read more about the history of this aircraft:

A wide angle lense was added to the camera rig today (March 28) and additional test flights were conducted: YOUTUBE

Calm After Winter Storm

An hour and a half before sunset tonight, the sky calmed enough to send up a flight to survey the changes that the heavy snow, wind, drifting and cold temperatures had brought to St.Cloud in the last day. The gusty Easterly wind put enough turbulence in the air to make for a very bumpy flight. The Mississippi river in St.Cloud was already flowing freely at this time a year ago. See last year’s Flight Flash blog:

Snowflakes Viewed From The Sky

In a darkening sky thick with snow, I sent the HD plane up for a view just before 5:30 pm in what may be one of our last heavy snowstorms of the season.  The transmitter was covered with snow and ice as the plane went up to capture this image, which must be rare if even unseen in aerial photography: individual snowflakes frozen in space at this altitude and low light, in conditions risky for manned aircraft to fly. The aircraft needed to be nearly stationary in the sky at the moment to get this shot.