Tag Archives: Australia

Drone Crash, Chapter 1


Well I started my trip south later than I had planned, I was still organising things at work, getting the final printer & paper profiles setup in my new Print Lab before I left, then I had to print out a number of prints that I was hand delivering to clients on the way, as well as printing out a 40” print that needed to be framed, as well as meeting up with a mate to finish organising the flights & visas etc for two weeks in Vietnam as soon as I was back from this trip.

I eventually got away about 3:00pm in the afternoon, just in time to catch the school traffic, but battled through it and kept driving to get some miles under the hood.  Arrived at Coffs Harbour where I stayed that night, left early the following morning and drove further south, made arrangements to catch up with a mate at the Central Coast, Jim Picot,

Jim is a fellow photographer and is also a keen drone man, so after having an early lunch, we decided to go and do a bit of droning together, what better place than the local lighthouse at Norah Heads. well we took no time in getting them in the air, launched from the lookout and off over the ocean, round the lighthouse, great stuff, plenty of onlookers, all interested in seeing the point of view from the telecasted onboard camera , transmitted back to the iPad via WiFi.  after a period we had got the video we wanted, so time to call them back in and move on.

I thought before I pack up, I would just get some last minute video of the beach before finishing, as I was on an elevated platform the beach was well below me about @50meters, so I guided the drone to a safe area over some flat rocks with the intention to lower the drone to almost ground level to get a reading where ground level actually was, the sun was behind me and as I slowly lowered the drone I lost site of it on the screen, unbeknown to me I was not directly over the rocks but several meters short of them, so instead of having some safe flat rocks below me, I had the sea, and underwater I went, as that time Jim was yelling “Go Up… Up… !!!!” at which point I pushed the stick full forward and the drone responded, flying directly straight up to about 70m above me, I am pressing the “Auto Home” button, and trying to fly the drone back to me, but it would not have any part of it, like a spoilt child, it just hovered in the air, started shaking & wobbling severely, then all of a sudden it chucked a wobbly and literally fell out of the air, cartwheeling all the way down, probably about 100meters in all, and just disappeared into the bushes on the cliff below!!!

Well, unsure as to what the status of the craft was, and how the hell I was even going to be able to recover it, a young fella that had been watching all of this unfold yells out, I surf here all the time, I know these cliffs like the back of my hand, I will go and get it, well like a bloodhound he disappears down the cliff in a dash, ten minutes later he turns up with the drone in his hand, I could smell that burnt out electrical fried smell and true to the smell the drone was dead, $3k down the tubes, not happy as this was only the second day, and it was my intention to get drone footage of the areas that I have been photographing for years, I had it all planned out, and now no drone !!!!

So very disappointed, actually disgusted with myself, what was I going to do, as the new DJI Phantom 4 had only just been released and was very hard to get, but when I called in to L & P Digital Photographic’s, they made a few calls and was able to locate one for me, brand new of the boat from Sphere, in Alexander, thanks guys, now back in the air.

Drone Crash, Chapter 2


Now back in command of my new drone, got it fully charged up, I headed further south, down the Hume Highway, I got to Gundagai, a small town on the Hume made famous as the town where the “Dog sat on the Tucker Box” an old ballad & song by Gundagai journalist and poet Jack Moses, but what I was more interested in was the other thing that the town is famous for, the historic twin bridges, there are two bridges that cross the Murrumbidgee river & flats, it is about one kilometre wide, and both bridges are no longer in use, but I can still remember driving across it as a kid, a very rickety old wooden treble car bridge, and the railway bridge alongside of it, neither are in use, and in quite diss-repair, it is only a matter of time before they either fall down or are burnt.

So, as I had shot these before I wanted to get some aerial of the two bridge, set-up the drone and away I went, along, beside under & over, got video from every angle, was great and will be historic video if nothing else, the aerial shows just how badly the deck is on the car bridge, holes big enough that a car would fall through them, it is only a matter of time.

So time to leave Gundagai and head further south, I had planned to catch up with a mate at Yarrawonga, but he went fishing, so turned left and went to Beechworth, to catchup with my sister and of course some free accomodation, stayed a couple of days, great base to access the high country, at this time of the year the autumn colours are starting to really paint the landscape.

Beechworth is an old historic town and has some amazing colour at this time of the year, so I spent the early part of the morning photographing the local rail trail, this is where the government and respective councils have converted old unused railway lines to a scenic walkway & bike trail which is frequented by hundreds if not thousands of locals and tourists wanting to get their piece of country air.

Chapter 1

Australia, Malaysia, (Jul, 2014)

I thought that I would try to document as best as I can my trip, I hope that you will enjoy my travels, we will see.  I encourage you to leave a comment or even advise on potential spots that I should divert too, I await your guidance if you have it.

Just so you know in the lead-up to my two month trip, I spent a bit of time not just researching the trip but also marketing my un-captured images, I put forward to various clients an option to purchase a 40″ Limited Edition image from the images captured on my trip, they get first pick of what image they want at a set price, Each image will have only 11 in the edition, two of which are not for sale (1 x Artist Proof & 1 x Charity/VIP print).  So they will get One of the Nine available images left in the set, I am happy to say that these pre-sales have paid for 50% of my trip and will be a great deal for the purchaser’s. So if anyone is interested in joining them please let me know by personal FB message if you can.  (anyway enough of the marketing, sorry!!)

So to start the ball rolling, I Left home with my darling wife at 6:00am to get to the Gold Coast Airport by 6:30am, all good little traffic, booked into AirAsia “Business Class” Yes, and continued through to the International departure lounge.  Met a bloke who used to fly for Singapore Airlines, lives on the coast and alternatively in Indonesia.  He was telling me that he knew the chief pilot and the other crewies on the flight that was shot down over Ukraine, he actually trained the chief pilot, talk about a small world.

Anyway got onboard and away we went, no dramas all good, AirAsia airlines are mega polite, great service and very comfy thanks very much.  The guy I was sitting next to in my flatbed seat (just thought I would rub that one in again) job was interior designs for a hotel/resort chain, so potential work maybe was the parting comment, you just never know do you.  Took a few images out the window near Darwin on the way over, arrived in Malaysia at the main terminal, it would have to be four times the size of Brisbane International, the last time I was here it was a back water and it was not that long ago.

Anyway got through immigration, no paperwork to complete, just walk unto the counter, give them your passport & boarding pass, quick scan of your two index fingers and all done, see you later, grab your bags and gone.  Australia could learn a lot from this !!!,  now I am waiting for my connection flight to Paris, on Air France, five hours to go, so time to chill as my sone would say.  So went to the mobile counter, got a new sim and 5gb data, you beauty, now on the internet, cost about AU$30 bit of an overkill, but it is better than facing the Telstra bill when I get home.  So now I have logged onto the web, went to my personal fackbook page and was inundated with comments on my pending trip, thanks to all that commented and liked, it is appreciated, I just hope that I can live unto your expectations.

Chapter 15

France, Malayasia, Australia (Sep, 2014)

So after three days photographing Mont Saint Michel, I packed up my gear for the final trip back to Paris via the Normady Coast, I was looking forward to getting back to Paris, I booked into a nice hotel just near the airport, this was great as I could easily get to the airport in two days when I was due to fly home.

That evening I again photographed the central parts of Paris, it is such a beautiful city, whilst I was still on the same trip, the seasons had noticeably changed over the time I was there, also the crowds had lightened off significantly which was great.  I managed to get some great images of the Eiffel Tower in the following early morning sunrise, overlooking a perfectly still Seine River giving great reflections of the tower etc.

Before leaving I had to drop the car back to the rental people, dints and all, I thought that this was going to be an issue, but all good, walk away insurance is great!.  Then it was back to the hotel, grab my gear and head off to the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, not that many people about so check-in was simple, went for an upgrade and after a bit of translation issues, bargaining etc, managed to get an upgrade for the trip home, you beauty I though, great trip home, enjoyed a bit of 5star at last.

Arrived at the airport in Malaysia, grabbed the train into town, spent a night at a selected hotel, the “Traders Hotel” in Kuala Lumpur just near the Petronas Towers with the full intention of spending some time photographing the towers from an elevated view, but the only place that I could shoot it from there was at the bar on one of the top floors, wrong move, ended up talking to some other tourists, doing beers and sharing stories and the photo shoot never happened, bugger, but I did enjoy the evening.

Later the following day I was back to the airport on my flight back to Australia, after two months away, I was glad to get back home, it was a wonderful trip, I got to see and enjoy some sights that I never thought that I would ever see, absolutely amazing, the different culture’s & architecture, real eye opening stuff and I highly recommend that you the reader take the opportunity to further explore the big wide world we live in, your personal vision & self can only benefit from the experience.


  • 57 days of travel
  • 18 Countries (Order of Travel): Australia, Malaysia, France, Iceland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Germany, Czeh Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France, Malaysia, Australia.
  • >35 Country Border crossings
  • 658 Gigabytes of data
  • Over 14,500 Images
  • >107 Uploaded Video Diaries
  • 10,661 kilometers in Europe by hire car (excludes Iceland)
  • Unknown Number of Traffic Infringements, Speeding & Parking Fines.
  • 1 Towed Car
  • 2 Dings
  • 9 Currencies.

I hope that you have enjoyed the read and that it may have inspired you to visit some of the place that I have travelled too, all the best

Jaime Dormer (Photographer)