I spent a summer in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Brevard, NC at a camp called Chosatonga. I worked there because it was owned by the parents of THE Grizzly Adam Trufant, one of the most awesome people I've ever met. Adam loves life. He loves getting to know people and reconnecting with him is like reconnecting with your absolute best friend of 50 years every time you see him. He also loves paddling down epic rapids, which brings us to today's featured video, Gorilla on the Green.
I had an idea for shooting some rapids with a drone and I knew that Adam would know the perfect place, so I loaded up my gear and headed to the mountains to meet one of my video mentors, Dustin Miller. It's important to note that at the time, neither Dustin nor I were in great shape and the shoot location was a solid 45 minute hike in and what turned out to be over a two hour hike back out with a near death experience.
With tripods, camera bags and a pelican cased Phantom 2 in hand, we headed down the steepest trail I've ever hiked. It was so steep that I had to hold the drone case in one hand and navigate a series of ropes and roots with the other. Simple enough on the way in, but the way out would prove a little more challenging, especially since our enlisted "help" decided to wear flip flops and abandon his sherpa responsibilities after the first big rock. We didn't eat a large breakfast or bring enough water. Both of us are over 250lbs and were carrying a full camera bag on our backs plus a handful of gear, so the hike out consisted of struggling 10-15 feet up the rope at a time and then laying on the ground to regroup for a few minutes. I'm convinced we only got back to the car because of a chocolate bar, an apple and some water provided by the leader of a troop of 7 year old girls who breezed past us on the way up.
It was worth the struggle.
I'm all about the perfect location for the shot and putting in the effort to get it. Through a combination of kayak mounted GoPros, some DSLR, and some wind threatened drone shots, I bring you...
GORILLA ON THE GREEN