After finalising several shoots and putting the results on the Dronude website, it was time for some marketing of the website. Two purposes: first to get feedback and tips from other photographers on how to improve the art and the website. The feedback I received consisted mainly of compliments for the originality of combining drone- and nude photography, some critique on the slow speed of the website due to the large images and multiple request to use lower altitude to show the models in more detail.
Second goal of the marketing of this website was to interest additional models. For this purpose, I advertised on Facebook groups for models in the Dutch language area. This fortunately resulted in many responses. Of course, some models said that summer would be more appropriate for outdoor modelling, but surprisingly many models offered to model in the coming cold months.
SVL (Facebook) was the model that was available at the first opportunity for a drone shoot. She is an experienced model, and likes to do shoots which are out of the ordinary. She modelled for fashion but also as a corpse. She has an interesting tattoo on her left ribs, and posted a video on her Facebook timeline which I found inspiring: (link). SVL proposed to bring a friend with her: A.
Since SVL and her friend came from Belgium where drone laws are strict, I proposed to shoot at a location In the Netherlands, near the border. Nature area the Groote Peel is a peat moor (link). Long ago it was used to harvest peat but apart from that it was undisturbed and not developed with roads, villages or industry. I saw that a visitor centre for the nature park was located on the south west, so I thought that the north-east area should be most quiet. I found an area on google maps that showed some red heath vegetation, picked a road nearby and there we met and parked our cars. I expected to see absolutely nothing besides nature, undisturbed since centuries.
Instead we saw a guy in a reflecting shirt and a large noisy machine. The path to the nature area was being worked on by a huge digging machine. However, SVL and her friend did not blink and we walked through thick mud towards the nature area which I picked from google maps. After 10 minutes, we passed a sign warning us to keep a distance of 25 meters to any wild animals, and after 10 minutes more we were in the peat moor, a wide-open area with some dispersed pines. The pines were perfect for me to stay invisible for drone shots. We soon found a lake and set up a basecamp underneath a nearby wide pine.
SVL en I walked out into the field to find a spot for her to pose, but we found out that the terrain was very difficult to walk. Small spots of grass stood up, so you had to carefully position your feet in between. But after a few meters walking into the field, the spots in between were filled with water and ice and this got worse after a few meters more. SVL bravely went on for a few more meters by hopping from grass poll to grass poll, but had to stop after some meters more and then settled on top of a group of grass polls, which was a good decision. She later told me that the water around her was frozen stiff, so she was lying on top of a frozen area.
I started the drone, and began to take photos, and some rising and descending short takes. lying on top of grass polls made moving difficult, SVL tried a few poses. After this location, we regrouped at the basecamp. SVL warmed, I showed some results, which were very good. The frozen water between the grass polls was blue, and the combination of vegetation and blue water looked surrealistic. After the first location, SVL moved to a spot which we saw from the drone, a location where several paths seemed to congregate. SVL could pose here in several poses, and I also shot some 30 degree side shots. I finalised this shot with a 360 degrees pano shot, and this time I did not forget to photograph the sky as well.
After another break and some flying lessons for the SVL and A., we went to the last location, near a nearby lake. During this final shoot, A. proposed to model with SVL, it would be his first nude outdoor modelling shoot. I think he liked it. After that shoot I flew back to basecamp, and looked around for more interesting areas, and found a blocky area. Perhaps good for another shoot. We got our stuff and walked toward our cars through the thick mud.
At home, the photos were good, the shoot proved to be worthwhile, but the panos were not technically perfect, adding the sky photo did not solve all problems.
Lessons learned: Facebook ads work, a peat moor does not attract many tourists (which is good for droning), creating a 360 pano remains difficult.
ToDo: monitor loading times for the website, work on learning to creating pefect pano’s
Ideas for future shoots: explore other areas of the peat moor, shoot during sunset or sunrise, invite couples for shooting