I was grateful to get in some drone flights during our recent camping trip to the Gunnison National Forest in Central Colorado.

On our second night, we camped in Taylor Park, east of Crested Butte, and it proved to be a fine spot for capturing aerial footage of the forest.

drone footage of forest in Colorado photo 1

As a side gig, I sell stock videos through Adobe, Pond5, and other online platforms, so I was looking for some generic footage of beautiful landscapes and bird’s-eye views of the woods.

Here are a few highlights from the flights:

I started one of the flights right before sunset, during the golden hour, and the color of the light was dramatically different from my flight earlier in the day.

The setting sun was illuminating the leaves of the trees with such intensity that getting the exposure right was a challenge because there were so many deep shadows. Thankfully, I was able to correct for some of this in post-production.

drone footage of forest in Colorado photo 2
The contrast problem I experienced on these flights is something I’ve grappled with before. I think it’s inherent challenge when you’re shooting at the start or end of the day, especially from such an unconventional angle. With a still photo, you can use HDR (high dynamic range) to compensate for the tough lighting conditions, but it’s a much tougher task with video. Using a neutral density filter can help, but I’d love to hear suggestions for other solutions!