The Drone View
A Whale Watching Account on 12/31/15 from photographer and videographer Josh Fields who is a past crew member of Hornblower Cruises & Events in San Diego*
Josh writes: “This was actually my 3rd whale watching cruise, I had done two as a guest when I was living in San Diego a couple years ago. There’s nothing like seeing an animal like that up close in its natural environment, it’s just not the same when they are in a tank.
When I was looking at the footage from my drone as it was happening, it was surreal; it looked like something you would see on National Geographic. We saw a large pod of dolphins as we were coming back into the bay. I really wanted to get some aerial footage of them, but Captain Chad said that once the dolphins start swimming in the boat’s wake you can’t stop or else they will move on. When the ship is in motion, it’s too windy to launch the drone.
It was very easy to spot the whales from the boat, as the cruise goes on you learn the behaviors of the whales and it makes it easier to track them and even start to expect where they will come up for air.
Hornblower Cruises & Events’ Captain Chad and First Officer Spencer were awesome. It turned out it was too windy to do a normal landing when I needed to bring the drone in to change the battery. Spencer helped me the entire trip both making sure my area was clear of guests and assist me with landing my drone by flying it to his arms stretched out and landing it in his hands.
I had the opportunity to interact with several of the docents, Whalers from theNAT (SD Natural History Museum). Some had questions about my drone and were excited to see the footage and other were helping me by giving tips on how to track the whales!
Over all it was an awesome experience, definitely the most fun I’ve ever had flying my drone!”
Josh Fields worked at Hornblower Cruises & Events in San Diego and had the opportunity to transfer to San Francisco as many of our crew do (with cities in San Diego, Marina del Rey, Newport Beach, San Francisco, Sacramento and New York, it’s a great opportunity to transfer). Josh’s work was introduced to Rebecca Milkey, Director of Marketing in San Diego, for some of his creative music videos and eventually was hired to photograph and videotape the gray whale watching with his new drone on the Adventure in 2015. Hopefully, we’ll see more of Josh’s videography and photography in the future.