Aerial photography is capable of capturing some of the most amazing pictures. The tools, techniques, and gear needed to capture such images, however, are often confusing and tricky to master. The use of drones or an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an essential element in this niche of photography. David Kaszlikowski made use of a drone to reveal a stunning scene atop a glacier not far from K2. K2 is the second highest mountain in the world at 8,611 metres, following Mount Everest. It is the highest point of the Karakoram Range and the highest point in Pakistan.
Kaszlikowski’s project began while he was shooting a forthcoming documentary themed: K2 Touching the Sky. What Kaszlikowski was endeavouring to create was a personal project during his spare time during a weeks-long filming schedule, so he sent his DJI Phantom (a drone) up in the air to do an ocular on possible shooting locations.
The drone shot locations around Concordia, an area below K2 where the Baltoro and Godwin-Austen glaciers meet. Kaszlikowski saw potential in a section of glacier that was melting, producing an unusual clone-like structure as well as a striking miniature river.
He was emphatic about the spot, saying, “The place was special, making a very clean graphic frame. It was disappearing, melting, changing its form every day. It was quite obvious nobody will photograph it again like me; nobody will see it the same way the next season.”
What Kaszlikowski captured were mysterious images that looked like they were from a set of an interplanetary movie. He employed a half-minute exposure shot using a Canon 5D Mark III mounted on a tripod. With the shutter open, he ingeniously “painted” the water and surrounding area with an LED, producing a creepy glow on the sky and ice.
Kaszlikowski shot in the summer, but the temperatures were unusually freezing. It would drop to a chilly 5 degrees Fahrenheit while up there at 16,000 feet, making it uncomfortable to work at times. He realizes though that he would have been unable to create the images 10 years ago, as drone technology was still commercially unavailable.
With many years of experience in outdoor photography under his belt, Kaszlikowski has witnessed the technology improve by leaps and bounds recently. “Today, with digital and access to various advanced tools, it’s much easier to get decent results,” he says. “But one thing never changes: You have to follow your vision.”
See one of Kaszlikowski’s remarkable visions realized here.