After hitting snooze a couple times on a 5:30am alarm, I ended up at the Heybrook Lookout trailhead around 7:15am. A quick 40 minute hike through the woods put me at the top of the mountain lookout about 5 minutes before sunrise next to Baring Mountain. At this moment I took a second to smile with gratification as the view in front of me was just as I had envisioned the night before when researching the mission. The weather and lighting were perfectly planned.
The tops of the jagged peaks on Mt Index were already getting some pink light so I scrambled to set up a time-lapse with my Sigma 18-35mm Art lens on the Panasonic GH4 while taking some pictures with my smartphone. Once the time-lapse started clicking away I ran back down the stairs to get the drone in the air. Stuck the DJI Phantom 3 Professional battery under my armpit to keep it warm while trying not to get snow on the rest of the gear as I set up. The first shot I recorded, flying over the trees to reveal a golden sunrise on the valley, was probably my favorite of the day.
Once I burned through the first drone battery exploring the skies above the snow dusted mountain forest, I ran back up the stairs to shoot a few photos, videos, and set up a couple more time-lapses with my Rokinon 85mm Cine lens. Once again I came back down the stairs to pop my second battery in the drone for some more flying. At this point my hands were getting pretty numb so I took a quick walk with them and the battery under my armpits. I tried a little more exploring with this second flight and with the last bit of battery life, pulled off a successful “Point-of-Interest” shot with it rotating around the top of the mountain lookout. All-in-all, this felt like one successful solo mission as I drove away.