Film-maker provides unique view of island
Sweeping aerial views of Bermuda and her stunning coastline are the subject of a new series of films and photography by film-maker Andrew Stevenson.
Mr Stevenson, known for his research identifying Bermuda's migrating whale population, has made public for the first time images and video that he has captured through the lens of an ultra high-definition 4K drone camera.
Footage and still frames taken hundreds of feet above the island over the past two years include a comprehensive checklist of Bermuda's most popular beaches, bays and harbours, with a focus on whales, beachgoers and sailing.
He is also working on a sequence to his award-winning film Where The Whales Sing, which will feature aerial footage of the leviathans cruising through Bermuda's turquoise waters. Mr Stevenson, whose eventful life has taken him to a raft of places around the globe, including Hong Kong where he grew up, India, Africa, Antarctica and the exclusive Galapagos Islands, said he was captivated by “how exponentially beautiful Bermuda becomes as you lift that camera up into the air”.
Speaking to The Royal Gazette about his latest project, Mr Stevenson said: “From up there, you can see everything. Looking at Bermuda from the shore, you can't see the reefs and just don't get the same perspective.
“I am interested in how the ocean permeates Bermuda in all the bays, harbours and beaches ... it is because of my own interest in Bermuda and how we are reliant on that ocean. It can give people a better appreciation of the natural beauty we have and how important it is to look after that ocean.”
Speaking on his footage of the humpback whales, Mr Stevenson added: “The whole reason I got the drone was for the whales, but then I started getting other good footage while I was practising.
“The film on the whales will be heavily dependent on the aerial stuff, and it will link it to some of the 1,250 fluke [tail] IDs I have. It should be ready in a year — I need a second season of getting the aerial footage of the whales.
“They are extraordinarily difficult to film — you can film boats because you can see them, but you can't see the whales. You almost have to be above them before you can capture them with the drone. I can see it live, but it is a big wide ocean out there and so it is difficult to gauge where the drone is relative to the whales — picking them out can be a bit of a challenge.”
Virtually all of Mr Stevenson's footage has been taken from on board his boat, which has helped him to adhere to Bermuda's tricky aviation regulations.
As a Bermuda Aviation Authority permit-holder, Mr Stevenson can fly his drone up to 400 feet and, with clearance from Air Traffic Control, he can ascend even farther to 1,600 feet. In total, he has launched more than 1,000 drone flights.
It seems that Mr Stevenson, who began his career in the financial industry and was also a writer, has found his new passion.
He said: “Somebody asked me the other day if I was still writing, and I thought long and hard about it and said, ‘No, it is really hard work'. This drone footage, especially when you put it to music, can be so evocative. It can be really powerful compared to writing, which is just words. It is a very powerful tool. That is what I enjoy the most about it — it can be an extremely beautiful tool to open people eyes to the beauty of Bermuda.”
•To see more of Andrew Stevenson's work, visit www.bermudaaerialography.com