My name is Mark Christie. I am the owner and pilot of a recreational aircraft called a Drifter. I first flew in a Drifter in 1984 and was immediately hooked on both the flying freedom and the visual aspect of the vistas offered by wall-less flight. Long before Harry Potter was learning how to fly his broom, I was scooting over cane fields in southern Queensland when the maximum flying height permitted was 300 ft. Flying alongside dolphins as they raced what must have appeared to them to be a brightly coloured seagull is a memory I still cherish.
Almost 40 years later, I still fly the same type of plane – the Drifter – an open cockpit two seater 3-axis aircraft with a top speed of around 100 kmh. During that time I have developed my passion for photography and videography.
Combining the two passions occurred about 20 years ago and I have been flying around Darwin in the Top End of the Northern Territory – Australia ever since – looking at and enjoying scenery and sharing it with others through the lens of my various cameras.
The name Pilotographer is a word which blends these two passions. I fly where I want and photograph what I want… while staying within the boundaries of my flight endorsements and ethical photography standards. I photograph for the art or the event – but never as a paparazzi photographer, investigative or intent to invade someone’s privacy… and most definitely not as commissioned paid photography or “Aerial Work” as defined by our aviation authorities.
That gives me the freedom to choose a destination and whatever appears visually on the journey may or may not be captured. The added challenge of prioritising the flying and safety requirements, means that any good photographs are well earnt as the photographs are manually taken while flying.
Over the years I have been lucky to see changing seasons from the air, construction and expansion of the City of Darwin and its surrounds, amazing wildlife, humanity in action and the occasional mishap. My focus has been on the natural beauty and contrasts in scenery provided by this landscape. Not in the same way a photographer sitting in a plane directing a pilot might seek out image opportunities, but in a serendipitous chance combination of location and the opportunity to snap a picture at the right time where I am both the pilot, photographer and commissioner of the resulting art.
This hobby also enables me to experiment with the incredible tools provided by Adobe. My experience with these tools in this unique filming and photography environment provides me with material and experiences, permitting me to share skills, techniques and passion with students and teachers in my day job as an education professional with the Northern Territory Government and Adobe Education Leader – an achievement I am extremely proud of.
Feel free to reach out if you are interested in some of the techniques and experiences I have gained. Your comments may lead to a blog article about flying, or about the process of getting images to the screen and beyond.
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