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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Landscape Icons From Above

The vistas we all seek as nature photographers get a different spin put on them when shot from 500 feet up in the air

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landscape icons
Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation & Wilderness Area, California
America is a land of many lakes, and one of my favorites is very close to my home in Corbin, Ky. I was fortunate to fly over Laurel Lake and capture the beautiful Kentucky fall color. One unique story featured the Suwannee River that courses through Georgia and Florida on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. The Suwannee was made famous when Stephen Foster penned it into his best-known song, “Old Folks At Home.” In the original song, he had used the Pee Dee River in South Carolina, but when he heard of the “Swanee,” he felt it fit better; the most interesting twist is that he never saw the river he made world famous.

As nature shooters, we often photograph forests, but the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky was captured best from above for the book. The image showing a gravel forest road makes for a nice fall color scenic and adds the graphic element of the road.

Frenchman’s Bay, Acadia National Park, Maine
Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky
Lower Antelope Canyon, Near Lake Powell, Page, Arizona
While driving through Southern California on the way to a flight location, I saw what in the distance looked like large sand dunes; I had no idea that Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation & Wilderness Area even existed! Hours later, I took off from a duster strip and made a quick flight over them to capture the beauty of this area. The day of that flight, the temperatures had hit 108º; by sundown it had dropped to 97º, but the thermals had died down and it was a wonderful flight.

The view from the pilot’s seat as Fortney flies over his home airport runway, Williamsburg-Whitley County Airport, near Williamsburg, Kentucky. workshop
When the sun rises each morning, the first place that the light strikes America is Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, Maine. At 1,530 feet, it’s the highest point on the east coast of the United States. To see the sunrise flying over Cadillac Mountain is an amazing experience, and then to fly down the coast and capture some of the little fishing villages just adds to that extraordinary flight.

In the area just west of Zion National Park in St. George, Utah, flying low by some conical rocks gave me a taste of what great adventures were yet to come. I’m always stunned by the beauty of our country, and the experience of flying over these jewels is a treat beyond measure!

To learn more about Bill Fortney’s new book America From 500 Feet II, visit www.billfortney.net.

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