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Travel Photographer Creates Mindblowing Drone Video of China

August 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM | by | ()

We've talked before about how drones are are set to upend the travel world, from travel photography to travel safety. Sometimes the developments are newsy, like when the federal government banned drones inside national parks out of safety and noise concerns. Other times they can get kind of worrying, like when we gave you the heads up that idiots are using hobby drones to buzz commercial aircraft.

But overall, the trend in the travel world is the same as everywhere else: innovation then disruption then regulatory concerns and then innovation. People are finding lots of new ways to do old things. Travel photography is just one of the more obvious examples.

A few weeks ago Open Culture rounded up a collection of videos made by flying drones around the skylines and monuments of major cities. You should click through to see the full gallery they posted - Los Angeles, New York, London, Bangkok, and Mexico City - and in the meantime we've embedded the Mexico City one below. The idea is simple enough, according to the blog: photographes are "buying or building camera-equipped drones of their own, taking to the skies above their cities, and capturing views of them we’d never see otherwise."

Very neat and safe enough, as far as these things go. Except then there's this guy - Trey Ratcliff - who is actually a kind of famous travel photographer. He got the bright idea to play this game in China. For those who haven't been following recent geopolitcal developments, China is a totalitarian country run by folks who have very definite opinions on things like "transparency" and "openness" (they're against). As might be expected, things soon went badly. He was detained and his quadcopter was confiscated a couple of times.

He got the quadcopter back and, before that, he took some genuinely mindblowing footage. We've embedded that video too, right below the Mexico City thing.

[Photo: Trey Ratcliff / YouTube]

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