Perseverance creates Inspiration


Spoiler alert: I crashed my drone.

I was flying backwards, very low, over a field of sunflowers. The wind pushed her down as she passed above a particularly tall specimen and… it was a calculated risk, I was prepared. But still. Blush.

Now, I could have kept this to myself, but I felt it would be of more value to others if I didn’t. So I’m putting it out there: I hit a problem. Here’s how I fixed it.


It’s a lesson in perseverance, and preparation. And learning. The three tools of the Spanish Inqui… no, that’s just being silly. The drone was somewhere in the middle of a field that stretched to the horizon. I know the farmer, this field was planted as fallow. Everything in it will go back to the earth as nutrient for the crop next year. It contains a dozen varieties of plant life, not just sunflowers, which are there only to please passers-by (true, I swear it. Canadians are so nice).

The resulting undergrowth was so thick I couldn’t even see my feet. No problem.


I studied, got my license. Read the manuals. Made a flight plan. Did a site survey. I knew what to do.

One, I knew exactly the line along which she went down as she was in visual sight at all times (Oh! So this is why that’s a law?). I fixed my eye on that line. Two, I knew from the monitor roughly how far away she was from the treeline, so that gave me rough distance – I gauged around five hundred metres. Three, the clever manufacturers understand that if these things come down they may be hard to see, so they install visible and audible alarms which sound if the motors cut out unexpectedly, as they are designed to do after a crash. Time to get walking.

In essence, I simply walked across the field until I could hear the chirping and picked her up. She was lodged under some foliage. Couldn’t even see her, poor thing. Without the audio alert I might have stood on her or even still be looking. Rather, everything went exactly as expected. Preparedness 101. I got her back easily with no visible damage to drone or field or flower. Nice.


Hmm, I thought to myself. I won’t do that again (Note: I probably will). After dusting her off and giving the required safety inspection, I sent her up and ran some basics to check flight worthiness. All was good.

So I persevered. I continued my planned flight and shot my intended footage. The original aim was to get background b-roll to add to my stock library for use in future productions, but after this I thought it would be fun to share the story behind it. And make this video from that b-roll.

This story is about perseverance. See, if you give up you won’t be able to fly. See what I did there?

Finding something the size of a dinner plate half a kilometre into a miniature forest is a daunting prospect. But it’s just another challenge to overcome. Life is full of them. Best foot forward, and off you go. One step at a time until you reach your goal.

This video is not about me messing up, but feel free to laugh. It’s about what you can go on to achieve, however hopeless you think your prospects are, if you don’t give up.

So, you know. Don’t.

Bird Whisperer

This weekend we went for a hike. As usual, we chose a local beauty spot. Also as usual, Nikki took along some critter appropriate nibbles. Today, as well as the usual squirrels and chipmunks she fed ducks, geese, and Chickadees. She was the Bird Whisperer.

I stood by and watched as she stood as still as a rock, patiently cooing and literally whispering to the birds until one by one they overcame their natural inhibitions and came hesitantly to her hand.

Her smile made me smile.

For a few hours we forgot the world and just enjoyed the sights and sounds of nature. The trail got busier, so we took a side trail or two and had the place to ourselves. And I took some video along with a whole bunch of Autumn photos for the 2020 collection.

This short shows a few minutes of a most enjoyable day. Hope you enjoy.
Let me know what you think in the comments.

Three Little Birds

Three Little Birds

I conceived Three Little Birds as a personal antidote to the depression rampant online during the rolling economic and financial problems, societal and general stress caused by this pandemic.

The photos came from a trip my wonderful wife and I took to the Niagara Bird Kingdom, one afternoon a couple of years ago. I’ve been sitting on them and thought this would be a perfect use.


Not everybody will get the ‘three little birds’ reference, so I’ll explain. The legendary Bob Marley had a string of hits, including one that almost everyone knows, ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’.

While I was browsing the social medias I could not help but notice my feed was full of posts from people with increasingly despondent outlooks. As we are into Autumn and soon to slide into Winter, it occurred to me moods would likely get worse.

Being of an annoyingly optimistic mindset (it’s a lifestyle choice), this Bob Marley song started running through my head as I browsed the interwebs. This, I thought, I can do something about.

The chorus (or verse, depending on your outlook) of the song goes like this:

Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Sit by my doorstep.
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, “This is my message to you-ou-ou”…

Hmm. Three Little Birds. I remembered the Bird Kingdom. And went to work.


I needed three birds, obviously. I ran through my library and chose the ones I felt would be the best fit. Cleaning them up in Camera Raw, I took each into Photoshop and masked their backgrounds out.

After adjusting the birds to a pleasing placement I added the text Three Little Birds behind them and used a blue texture I liked as it complemented the yellow plumage of the central parrot.

I won’t bore with more detail. Suffice to say, as I worked I accumulated 18 layers in multiple groups, adding highlight and edge effects. I tried a bunch of variations along the way. As is always my main problem, deciding which composition I like best took a long time. Knowing me, I dare say I’m not finished yet.

On The Record

Bob Marley inspired this so it seemed natural to work this into an album cover mockup. I used the fictional name Rob Marley and named the album Don’t Worry ‘Bout A Thing’, another lyric from the song.

I’m pleased with this version. I thought of making a CD cover too, easy enough, but decided that good old fashioned vinyl best spoke to the Reggae roots of this song. So here we are. My antidote.

Three Little Birds.

For best effect, click each image to open the full size versions.

This art can be purchased at the Gyst photo site.
The album cover is HERE, and the standalone art HERE

Anyone wishing to commission their own art can Contact Us for details